Embassy of Uganda in Rome - Ambasciata d'Uganda a Roma

On Industrialisation and the Battle to Transform Uganda’s Economy

Extracts from President Museveni’s State of the Nation Address, May 2016

 

The Constitution of Uganda mandates the President to make a State of the Nation Address at least

once in a year. The State of the Nation Address is a pointer to the direction Government is taking on

political, economic and other areas of import to the citizenry. This is President Museveni’s first State

of the Nation Address since he was sworn in as President of Uganda following his February, 2016

election victory. We took the liberty to extract some aspects of the economy direction for our readers.

 

musevenistateofthe nation“The NRM has created the base for our country to graduate from being a supermarket for

foreign products to becoming a manufacturing centre for goods, in which we have got

comparative advantage.  It is not just the availability of cheap electricity, low transport

costs, the availability of the ICT backbone and piped water in the country.  Those utilities

must be in well- organized industrial parks so that investors do not have to drain swamps,

make roads, bring electricity, waste time begging bureaucrats who do not know what

building a country means.  Since the idea of industrial parks has been talked about for ages,

I have now directed the Engineering Brigade of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF)

to build these parks, starting with the one of Nakasongola.  Investors should only come to

build factories and not to be swamp-drainers and land surveyors.

“Do not delay any project. A request for investment should not take more than two days.

Why should it? The investor has already made his or her calculation.  It is his or her money.

Why the delay? The excuses about the environment are, also, not valid. Many of the

manufacturing processes are well known.  Their best practices are known.  If it is an

abattoir, it needs this and that, if it is a milk factory, it needs such and such, if it is a stone

quarry, it needs this and that.  I will simply not tolerate any delay of more than two days.

Recently, for instance, we got offers of people who want to start an airline in Uganda who

will, apparently, save us the US$420 million per annum that we are losing every year.  If

somebody has no ulterior motives, it is easy to quickly decide on what to do in such a

matter. [There should be] No delays in investment decisions.

“The country is peaceful and it will remain so.  The infrastructure elements required (roads,

the railway, electricity, the ICT backbone, the undersea cable, etc.), are either in place or are

being worked on.  The government, however, will intensify the efforts to capitalize Uganda

Development Bank (UDB) because it is erroneous to think that you can modernize

agriculture and industrialize the country using Commercial Banks.  Uganda Development

Bank will be capitalized so that it gives low-interest loans to agriculture and industry

(manufacturing). The services sector is already employing about 430,000 people.  We shall

work with our partners abroad to increase the number of tourists to, at least, four million

per annum instead of the present 1.3 million tourists per annum.  Again, on the issue of

financing, the NRM had the foresight to leave UDB out of the privatization”.