Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has criticised bureaucratic hurdles placed in the way of local investors, which she said is the source of unemployment in the country.
Kadaga said for the country to realise a steep rise in economic growth, priority must be given to local investors who she said are routinely frustrated by unnecessary red-tape.
Speaking as Chief Guest at the official opening of Luuka Plastics in Namanve industrial park, Kadaga recounted the difficulty she persevered to have the manufacturer get the 10 acre prime land where the plant’s production is currently based.
“I wrote to Ajedra [then State Minister for Investment] asking for 25 acres, telling him we need to help a local investor; he accepted to give him 10 acres,” she said.
The local investor, Hajji Badru Muwanga, would later be asked to pay $80,000 for every acre; a figure she said was outrageous.
It would later take the intervention of President Yoweri Museveni who the Speaker contacted to assist the company acquire the land.
Hajji Muwanga said the company employs 900 people and that with more support he intends to expand and create more jobs.
“Our journey started back in 2010 and we finalised the process of acquiring this land in 2016. We now employ 956 people, 30 per cent of whom are female,” he said.
Hajji Muwanga said whereas they specialise in producing and packaging bags for companies, they have a recycling plant that ensures minimal degradation of the environment.
During the consideration of the National Budget Framework Paper for the current Financial Year, MPs criticised government plans to incentivise investors with tax holidays, saying it creates inequity in taxation.
Government later defended the move saying it is intended to spur economic growth through easing investment into key sectors that will improve value addition and increase production.
Kadaga in Luuka
The Speaker visited Luuka, where she commissioned a classroom block at Kalyowa Primary School.
Constructed by area MP Stephen Kisa (NRM, Luuka South) and Hajj Muwanga, the new block will house the school administration.
The Head teacher, Nyiiro Wabulembo, was grateful for the six classroom block and appealed for furniture.
“This block lacks 300 seats, latrines and electricity…the school needs to have other six classroom blocks refurbished,” said Mr Wabulembo.
Kadaga took a swipe at parents who engage pupils in sugarcane growing at the expense of studying, saying they are dooming their future.
In attendance were MPs Moses Walyomu (NRM, Kagoma), Loy Katali (NRM, Jinja) and local leaders.