President Yoweri Museveni has warned government technocrats against delaying developmental projects.
He made the remarks on Tuesday after touring the 2.5 square mile Liao Shen Namukenkera Industrial Park in Kapeeka, Nakaseke district.
President Museveni observed that due to lack of exposure, some government officials make slow decisions about development projects while others delay projects out of corruption and which affects the economic growth of the country.
“I am going to be harsh on government officials. People slow down things because they do not know how the modern world works. Those who delay projects out of corruption will not be tolerated,” he warned.
President Museveni said that in spite of the confusion of government officials and their lack of knowledge about how things work in the modern world, Uganda has continued to grow with his guidance.
“After working with the Members of Parliament of 2006 and putting emphasis on infrastructure development, Uganda is now exporting more to Kenya. In 1986, Kenya was selling to Uganda merchandise worth US$200 million while Uganda was selling to Kenya goods worth US$12 million; but now Uganda is selling to Kenya goods worth US$700 million to Kenya while Kenya is selling to us merchandise worth US$500 million,” he said.
Museveni said that as a result of focusing on infrastructure development, a recent study by the US-based Harvard University Center for International Development predicted that Uganda would be one of the fastest growing economies by 2025. He, therefore, called for more entrepreneurs to invest in different industries in the country.
“We need investments in industrial grade starch for pharmaceutical and beverages industries so that our industries stop importing expensive starch from India,” he said.
The President thanked the Chinese Ambassador to Uganda, Zheng Zhugiang and the Egyptian envoy in the country, Mai Taha Mohammed Khalil, for their respective governments’ support to Uganda’s anti-colonial struggle and also to development projects after attaining independence from Britain in 1962.
He also thanked Gen. Salim Saleh who is Director of the Operation Wealth Creation (OWC), for his commitment, initiative and imagination that has made Namukenkera become a small industrial city.
He noted that as a young man, Gen. Saleh always showed commitment and initiative whenever he was given an assignment adding that the spirit of commitment earned him the record of capturing the biggest number of guns during the 1981 – 1986 protracted armed liberation war.
“When we attacked Masindi barracks on February 29, 1984, I had briefed Saleh and told him to only attack the barracks after meeting Col. Kaka who was reconnoitering on barracks and that if he did not find him he should comeback. However, when they did not find Col. Kaka, Saleh and his commanders had a meeting and agreed to go ahead with the attack which attack was one of our big successes,” he revealed.
Regarding further development in the area, President Museveni said government would tarmac the road from Kapeeka to Nakwaya; extend electricity from Kawanda to the industrial park to ensure stable power supply to the factories and build a water plant to provide water for industrial use.
The President disclosed that government would give support to graduates of food science and technology to acquire equipment for food processing.
“We are working with the Chinese to set up a machine making center. Once you have equipment, you need capital and land and I can assure you that we will provide all the three,” he said.
State Minister for Privatization and Investment, Hon. Evelyn Anite, said that the establishment of industries would ensure that Uganda becomes a middle-income country in the near future.
Gen. Saleh said he is committed to have 10 functional industries in the park by the end of the 2018 and that he was ready to work with other districts to construct more industrial parks to enable people get jobs and improve their household incomes.
Zhang Hao, Chairman of Liao Shen Industrial Park, thanked President Museveni and the NRM Government for the support to develop the industrial parks. He said the park would create 15,000 jobs for Ugandans when completed.
Earlier, President Museveni launched the CURAD /RAH (Rural Agricultural Hub), a joint public-private partnership venture that aims at producing innovative young entrepreneurs and agribusiness leaders to champion productivity and profitability of the agricultural enterprises that can spinoff new enterprises.
According to Seggawa Apollo, the Managing Director of the venture, the Shs.1.6 billion factory will provide technical support, equipment, marketing and product development to different Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to promote commercial agriculture in the country.
Later, the President launched the Logistic Hub and E-voucher Servicing Centre. The center works with the OWC and NAADS programmes to provide genuine inputs such as seeds, machinery and fertilizers.
Museveni also visited the US$5 million YAHE International Investment Co. Ltd that covers 10 acres of factory buildings and food processing equipment including maize silos, grain storage and deep agro-processing including wine brewing and fodder processing.
He later visited the US$30 million Goodwill (Uganda) Ceramics factory that is dedicated to the production of building materials such as tiles and employs 2000 people.