By Ambrose Gahene
President Yoweri Museveni has officially opened the review of the 5th phase of the Presidential Investors Round Table (PIRT) at State House, Entebbe last Thursday. PIRT is President Museveni’s innovation to drive government agencies to improve service delivery as well as the country’s competitiveness in the global economy.
“I launched this 5th phase in August 2015 to make recommendations in the areas of tourism, oil, gas and energy, minerals value addition, competitiveness and ease of doing business in the country”.
I am optimistic that the economy of Uganda will grow sustainably since government has now got the facts.
After many years of trial and error, we have been able to identify 10 strategic bottlenecks”, said Museveni.
He said; Part of the problem of Africa is that they take a uni-dimension of issues. “In the 1960s, if you attended seminars on Africa, they used to talk about rural economic development and later on in the 1970s; they changed to the education and after that women emancipation. This always amounted to nothing.
Most African economies have been crippled by emphasis on politics of identity rather than emphasizing interests. It is a very big mistake and it must be addressed”, he pointed out.
The President said; once you have got the wrong ideology, you cannot build state pillars such as the army because you are thinking of tribes and you end up like Somalia or DRC having to import security from somewhere else.
He pointed out that; political problems of Uganda’s trade partners have caused the fall in the prices of commodities such as tea, beef and milk.
He revealed that; the price of tea was affected by the problems in Egypt, the price of beef by problems in the Democratic Republic of Congo and milk by the problems in South Sudan.
“The other bottleneck that needs to be addressed is that of infrastructure. Underdevelopment of infrastructure means high electricity and transport costs and private sector profits reduced because of the high cost of inputs.
Some of government’s critics have said we are working to produce a lot of electricity. We shall not compromise on this and won’t allow that kind of confusion. There will be no slow down on electrification. Even when the construction of all these dams is done, we will only have 2,000 megawatts”, he further revealed.
Museveni in addition said; having addressed the problem of electricity, government is now tackling the issue of high transport costs by constructing the railway and linking it to the lakes.
“Cargo must move on the railway and water and the roads be left for people. Once we deal with transport, the only dangers remaining will be corruption and delays in decision making.
The other bottlenecks that need to be addressed include supporting the private sector and uniting the fragmented market, which was caused by colonialism”, he further added.