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HUGE BOOST! Museveni pledges to lower cost of doing business at national budget conference

Presidents Yoweri  Museveni (Uganda) and Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya) arriving for the launch of the Cross Border Sustainable Peace and Development Program for Karamoja, Turkana and West Pokot areas. (PHOTO/PML Daily)

MOROTO — President Museveni has said the next financial year budget should focus on lowering the cost of doing business for the private sector if the economy is to grow.

In a speech read by Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda during the national budget conference at Kampala Serena Hotel on Thursday, September 12, 2019, the President said priority should be accorded to the interventions that support private sector growth.

“The private sector is particularly crucial for the growth of the economy of our economy. It is therefore, critical for our private sector players to be engaged in these budget consultations so they can make revenant proposals to the government to address specific challenges that hinder their growth,” he said.

He added: “Priority should, therefore, be accorded to the interventions that support private sector growth. I also urge all stakeholders, including non-government actors, to support the government vision of transforming our economy. This way, we shall be able to address the problems of youth unemployment, the subsistence economy through increased exports and mobilize adequate resources to finance our development needs,” he added.

The President explained that over the last ten years, the NRM Government has made significant strides in building the infrastructure base to support growth, wealth creation and provision of social services.

“The infrastructure stock we have now, especially in energy, transport, ICT agriculture, health and education is adequate enough to make the economy competitive both in terms of supporting the growth of the productive sectors and delivery of critical social services to the masses,” the president’s statement reads.

Mr Museveni also said Uganda has made good progress in the following areas;- electricity generation capacity has increased from 601 megawatts in 2011 to 974.2 megawatts by the end of 2017 and that the capacity is expected further increase to 2000megawatts by the end of this year when Karuma hydropower project gets commissioned.

He said the national paved the road network has increased from 3,050 kilometres in 2008 to 4,551 kilometres in 2018, the entire optical fibre network now spans 7,424 kilometres, covering 49 per cent of the districts and 24 per cent of the sub-counties, with a presence at all the border points.

He said the health infrastructure network has increased and currently consists of two national referral hospitals, 19 regional referral hospitals and 147 district hospitals. These are in addition to several health centers i.e 193 health centres 4s, 1250 health centres 3s and 3610 centres 2s.

“The government has laid the critical infrastructure for skills development in terms of refurbishment and establishment of the technical and vocational institutions. Currently, about 55 per cent of the districts have technical and vocational institutions,” he said.

Mr Museveni said several big schemes have been set up. Besides; solar irrigation has been piloted for a rollout for food security and commercial purposes.

“These positive developments have facilitated increased production in the economy and the emergence of commercial farming and agro-processing industries in Kalangala; milk processing in Ankole Tea in Toro, Kigezi and Zombo,” he said.

“Adding: The fruit-processing factory in Teso and Potato processing industries in Kisoro are underway. Also, several plants for mineral processing have been set up for example the cement factories, fertilizers processing contributing to the creation of several jobs and reduction in the import bill for goods which were previously 100 per cent of imports.”

Mr Museveni said many other industrial parks are being set up across the country, adding that these pockets of success need to be replicated countrywide.

Speaking on the behalf of the development partners in Uganda, the World Bank Country Manager, Mr Antony Thompson said during the 13th and 14th joint Transport Sector Review Workshops it was agreed that budget allocations for road maintenance would rise to 24 per cent of the roads budgets in FY202019/20.

“However, based on the budgetary allocations for FY2019/20, this wasn’t the case. Roads development still takes the biggest share of the budget, at 90 per cent; with road maintenance only allocated 7 per cent. As a result, current road maintenance financing can only meet about 26 per cent of the needs, leaving a big chunk of the road network unattended to. This presents a precarious situation for the sustainability of the roads asset base if it can’t be maintained adequately,” he said.

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