KAMPALA – President Museveni has met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his delegation, who are in Uganda on a two-day state visit.
Mr. Modi, has on an arrival on Tuesday, July 24 announced credit of Shs 740 billion to Uganda, among others, president Museveni reported on Tuesday evening.
It is the Prime Minister Modi’s second visit to Uganda, the first one having come in 2007, when he was part of the Indian CHOGM delegation as chief minister of one of the states in India.
Mr Museveni in a statement on Tuesday evening said he had interested Mr Modi in India cooperating with Uganda in trade and tourism.
“In my discussions with the Prime Minister, I have emphasized the need to cooperate in trade, investment and tourism. The idea is to work for mutual prosperity by buying each other’s products and services,” Mr. Museveni said, adding that there has been an imbalance in trade but it is going down.
“Uganda is now importing less from India, while our exports are rising. In 2014, we imported goods and services worth $1.2b from India, but it has dropped to $736 million. Our exports to India are worth $44m compared to $24m in 2015,” Mr Museveni said.
To balance this trade, the president said, he had proposed three major interventions.
First is tourism.
“We should encourage more Indians to tour Uganda and in the process bring dollars here. To promote this, I have asked His Excellency Modi to allow our revived Uganda Airlines directly fly to Bombay,” he said.
The second is healthcare.
Mr. Modi, the preside reported, had proposed that Indian groups come and invest in Uganda.
“This will reduce the exodus of Ugandans going to seek specialized medical care in India and keep our money here,” Mr Museveni reported.
The third, the preside reported was a generous offer by Mr Modi of a $200m (approx. Shs 740 bilion) credit to Uganda.
“I will direct the Uganda Development Bank to oversee this facility with a view of using this money in value-addition enterprises,” Mr Museveni said adding that the money will be invested in construction of electricity transmission lines, purchase of factory parts for initiatives like fruit and animal feed processing, shoe-making and local manufacture of solar-powered water pumps to support irrigation.
Mr Midi has also offered to construct a Mahatma Gandhi convention centre, most likely in Jinja at the Source of the Nile, to support our tourism.
Modi’s visit, has been preceded by cracks of disunity within the Indian Community in Uganda after sections protected the organisation and leadership of the High Commissioner.
Weeks to the visit, some members of the organizing Committee accused the Indian High Commissioner to Uganda Mr. Ravi Shankar of conniving with former Rubaga North legislator Mr Singh Katongole to swindle billions raised by the community towards organising the highly billed event.
The envoy is also accused of developing cliques in the 20,000 strong Indian Association of Uganda. The association has held Indians together since 1922.