President Yoweri Museveni has congratulated Ugandans for the warm reception they gave to his visitors who came to attend Non-Alligned Movement (NAM) and G-77+Chain Summits.
He says Ugandans showed very good discipline as the country hosted the two international summits where 1918 delegates from 129 Countries attended.
Of these, according to Gen. Museveni, included 16 Presidents, nine Vice Presidents, 16 Prime Ministers, seven Special category all coming into Uganda by Airlines and 32 private jets.
“I thank the Ugandans for the discipline in receiving these visitors. These Countries have 6.6 billion people (representing 80% of the human race)” he explained, adding that the meetings also helped the country to expand on its facilities in preparation for the Summits. The head of state made the special thanks as he addressed the nation last evening ahead of today’s 38th NRM Liberation Day celebrations in Jinja. These two important Summits left Gen. Museveni being named their chairman for the coming years making him a global, continental, regional and local giant.
ECONOMY VERY PROMISING
Museveni assured Ugandans that the country’s economy is continuing to expand despite the effects of climate change on agriculture, infrastructure by the floods and war in Eastern Europe between Russia and Ukraine. He says these combined, have led to a rise in the prices of some strategic commodities such as oil as well as the recent rise in interest rates globally.
“Uganda’s economic outlook is very optimistic. This is mainly because of the consistent support to the private sector through supportive policies that create a business friendly environment, infrastructure investments in energy, transport and ICT, enhanced access to credit (through the Parish Development Model (PDM), Small Business Recovery Fund, Emyooga, Agriculture Credit Facility, UDB, UDC, among others as well as the swift and comprehensive response to the impact of the previous health crises and the regional geopolitical security issues,” he said.
The President made the remarks last night while delivering his 38th National Resistance Movement (NRM) victory Anniversary speech at State Lodge, Nakasero. According to Museveni, Uganda’s economy grew to UShs. 184.89 trillion (US$ 49.5 billion) in the financial year 2022/2023, up from Shs 162.750 billion (US$ 45.6 billion) registered in the financial year 2021/22.
He explained that in real terms, the economy grew by 5.2 percent in the financial year 2022/2023, better than 4.6 percent registered in the financial year 2021/22.
He attributed this expansion to the good performance of most sectors of the economy, with services growing at 6.2 percent (especially in trade, tourism, education, ICT, arts and entertainment); agriculture at 4.8 percent with food crops growing at 4.7 percent from 3.5 percent, livestock at 8.8 percent from 8.3 percent, and fish activities at 8.6 percent from 0.3 percent in FY2022/23 and FY2021/22, respectively.
Museveni said the growth in industry was 3.5 percent, slower than the 5.1 percent recorded in the same period the previous year, adding that the size of the economy will further grow from UShs. 184.3 trillion in the financial year 2022/23 to UShs. 204.9 trillion (USD 55 billion) by end of financial year 2023/24 and then leap to UShs. 225.5 trillion in the financial year 2024/25 (equivalent to USD 60 billion).
The President explained that this will be driven by the higher output in the services, industry and agriculture sectors of the economy; the recovery in aggregate demand as inflation slows down; the continued implementation of the Parish Development Model; expediting investments in Oil & Gas Sector; continued recovery in tourism; growth in regional trade including in the EAC, COMESA and globally.
“The implementation of the interventions to accelerate economic growth through productivity improvements and value addition to our abundant raw materials in the anchor sectors of agro-industrialization, oil and gas, mineral development, tourism and knowledge economy development, will shift the economic growth path to a level of 8 percent per annum on average over the medium term. This will increase the pace of our socio-economic transformation and building an independent, integrated and self-sustaining economy as was enunciated in point no.5 of the 10 Point NRM Programme.” he head of state said.
Museveni asserted that the general increase in the prices of goods and services (inflation) in Uganda, slowed down from a peak of 10.7 percent in October, 2022 to 2.6 percent in November, 2023.
“This is expected to remain within the policy target of 5% over the medium term, supported by increased agricultural production, the increase in the supply of locally manufactured goods, increased exports which increase the supply of foreign currency in the economy, increased efficiency in economic activities due to increasing integration of new technologies including ICT capabilities in our manufacturing and other businesses and good economic policies,” he noted.
The President also disclosed that the merchandise exports increased significantly, growing by 54.9 percent from USD 4,194 million in the twelve months to October, 2022 to USD 6,497.9 million in the twelve months to October, 2023, largely driven by gold, coffee and maize exports.
“Imports grew by 26.2 percent, much slower than the growth in exports, resulting in the narrowing of the trade deficit by 11.2 percent in the same period. This is the main reason why the Ugandan Shilling has remained stable, together with the strong foreign direct investment inflows and remittances of Ugandans working outside the country. This shows that the Uganda economy remains attractive to investment, and it remains a profitable investment location,” H.E Museveni said adding that Export receipts are expected to increase even further as Uganda accelerates the production of light manufactured goods and middle high-tech industrial products through value addition processes especially to the abundant mineral reserves that the country has.
To accelerate the process of value addition on Ugandan products, President Museveni stressed that the Government is reducing further the cost of electricity for manufacturers, improving transport infrastructure including roads and railways, eliminating bureaucracy in Government especially in procurement. He said this is aimed at attracting new investments and technology transfer, making available affordable capital and intensifying the fight against corruption, through accelerating automation of Government processes, frequent audits of Government interventions and rationalization of Government institutions and departments.
EAC MARKET BLOC
The President said the East African Community, as a single trade bloc, remained the major destination of Uganda’s exports in the 12 months to October 2023, accounting for 43.5 percent of total exports followed by the Middle East (18.1 percent) and Asia (17.6 percent).
“Within the EAC region, the top three destinations for Uganda’s exports in the same period were Kenya (31.5 percent), Democratic Republic of the Congo (24.6 percent) and South Sudan (23.3 percent).” he said adding that he is undertaking joint projects with DR Congo in an effort to expand the regional trade.
“Uganda has gained competitiveness in recent years in a number of tradable goods including animal products such as beef and milk, agricultural products especially coffee, tea, fish, sugar, fresh and processed food and industrial products such as cement, iron and steel products and light manufactured goods. However, we continue to face non-tariff barriers to our exports which are being resolved through our discussions with the leaders of the EAC and COMESA” he assured.
IMPLEMENTATION OF PDM
President Museveni further informed Ugandans that the PDM, is the NRM Government initiative to spur growth from the bottom-up and for transforming the population currently in subsistence to the money economy.
He said the PDM is a pillar of point No.5 of the NRM’s 10-Points Programme to build an independent, integrated and self-sustaining economy.
“To-date, the Government has invested Shs. 2.32 trillion in the financial inclusion pillar of this Model, targeting all the 10,459 parishes across the country for job creation and increasing household incomes,” he said adding that at least Shs1,018.8 billion has been successfully disbursed to 1,032,183 households in 10,455 out of 10,585 SACCOs, across the country.
He assured that the balance will soon be disbursed when the remaining beneficiaries meet the conditions successfully. “Government, is working to improve the PDM by improving monitoring, operationalization of the other 6 pillars of PDM beyond the financial inclusion pillar; and Streamlining all Government program interventions and service delivery at the parish, to ensure the realization of PDM” he said.
OIL AND GAS
Here, General Museveni informed Ugandans that the commercial production of oil and gas will provide revenues to support productivity enhancement in the economy. He said this will be made possible through economic activities such as oil refineries, petrochemical plants, petroleum products distributors, natural gas distribution companies and retail outlets.
Museveni said government is enhancing investments in this area by fast-tracking the construction of the East Africa Crude Oil pipeline (EACOP) and the Oil Refinery. He said the pipeline will have the capacity to pump up to 230,000 barrels of crude oil daily.
President Museveni also assured citizens that security infrastructure and interventions to maintain peace and security of the people of Uganda, investors and visitors, is guaranteed.
“These included, strengthening the capacity of security agencies to address emerging security threats; addressing discipline issues of security personnel in the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), Uganda Police and Uganda Prisons Services; enhancing the security infrastructure to detect crime before it happens; and addressing the welfare of personnel in security uniforms,” he said.
Other steps taken includes the security interventions and achievements under the Anti-livestock Theft and Disarmament Operations in Karamoja and Operation Shujaa in DR Congo.
“The security infrastructure we have built will eliminate the very few remaining loopholes where ADF terrorists are exploiting to carry out cowardly attacks on civilians. As we commemorate the 38th Anniversary of NRM’s victory, I want to assure everybody, including our visitors and investors, that Uganda will remain a peaceful, secure and prosperous country.” Jjajja Museveni said.
The address was attended by among others NRM vice chairman Al Haj. Moses Kigongo, SG Richard Todwong, PM Robinah Nabbanja and PPS Dr. Kenneth Omona Olusegun.