President Yoweri Museveni has castigated critics who continue to berate the Ugandan economy as having declined and is on the road to final collapse.
Museveni was speaking after Finance Minister Matia Kasaijja presented the 2017/18 National Budget on his behalf at Serena conference centre in Kampala on Thursday.
“I have been reading newspapers giving a pessimistic view of the economy. As the Bible says, they have eyes but they don’t see. They have ears but don’t hear.”
He added: “I am optimistic because for the first time, we have got the base which we did not have before.”
He said the base was reflected in the element is peace that is reigning across the country.
“No one has capacity to disturb it. Lawlessness which had come up will be addressed.”
He said the second was electricity.
“In 1986, we had only 60MW, now we have more than 2,000MW when all projects are finished. The only little problem is high cost of Bujagali. We shall refinance Bujagali for cost to come down especially for manufacturers.”
Third is the many new roads, he noted, citing the investor from the UK hosted recently.
The investor travelled upcountry and told Museveni he has not seen such good roads in Africa. “He was asleep all the way.”
Museveni said the country was preparing to build the Standard Gauge Railway and repair the old line up to Gulu and Pakwach.
That railway will carry equipment to L. Albert and oil fields. Rail-water transport will do a lot to lower cost of transport.
“Cost of money. We are working towards lowering interest rates for manufacturers and farmers. Borrowing for farmers and manufacturers will go down.”
Through Operation Wealth Creation, government is attacking ‘Pur mecham pekene’ (agriculture for only eating), he said.
“People must move from subsistence farming to food security and food for money. For commercial farmers, there’s money to borrow and expand.”
With tourism, Museveni said he is going to revive Uganda airlines so there would be more tourists using direct flights.
“We are also continuing to attract Foreign Direct Investments and work with the over 700 members of Uganda Manufacturers Authority to support manufacturing.”
“In short, I am very optimistic about this economy. We had two problems; our businessmen who were exporting to South Sudan and Congo affected by the conflicts and then the drought. But we are resolving all these.”