By Spy Uganda
President Yoweri Museveni assured the Private sector that the new campaign to rejuvenate the grassroots into modern agro production will see high returns that must be exploited by the private sector through value addition for export.
“The campaign which is on now, the Parish Development Model is aimed at bringing the 68% of Ugandans who are by-standers in development, to get involved in economic transformation. What is coming is an earth shaker! Before, leaders did not know how to lead. They thought that leading is carrying the burden of their people! Leading is showing the way so that they follow. Those with small acreages of land will select enterprises that have big returns like coffee, fruits, poultry, piggery etc. With intensive agriculture, people can use their small land to get out of poverty,” the President said.
Museveni was this week speaking during the second Bi-annual Presidential Chief Executive Officers Forum (PCF) which he hosted at his country home in Irenga, Ntungamo District. The meeting was held under the theme, “Positioning the Private Sector for New Markets and Business Opportunities for Sustainability and Thriving Economies in the Region and the African Continent”.
The President who was accompanied by his wife who is also the Minister of Education and Sports Hon. Janet Kataaha Museveni, said the aim is to convert Ugandans who are by-standers in the economic transformation struggle into participants.
“We want them to do so with a ‘calculation’ for increased production. The Private sector will be overwhelmed. In Bushenyi, Dr. Muranga used to get 5.3 tons of bananas but now gets over 53 tons, over ten times because of fertilizer and irrigation. Before you were dealing with limited mobilization of the masses, but with this grassroot mobilization, it will be massive,” he said, adding that he wants the Private sector to tie their presentations with government’s plans.
Museveni said the Private sector is the easiest way to develop the economy because companies do the work of government cheaply. “For instance, the government is not the one looking after our home here. We do it ourselves and in the process we produce bananas and milk for you in Kampala to consume them happily. That’s why we are encouraging the local people like the father of Barbara Mulwana, we also brought back our Indians the ones who had been chased by Idi Amin. If you want to have some government companies you can have them but they shouldn’t interfere with the private Sector,” he said.
Among other things, the President pledged to promote the protection of local products from Chinese and Indian subsidized products, provision of cheaper power for production, cheap financing for the Private sector to borrow and support to the KACITA.
“We are committed to that. I was not willing to finance KACITA but they are now pledging to do more export of our products than imports. If KACITA can sell internally and export we can support them,” he said.
The President and the CEOs discussed in-depth the issue of exploiting the vast trade potential with DR Congo including provision of an export credit guarantee, expanding power to the DR Congo, funding the Uganda Air cargo, construction of toll roads into the DR Congo and empowering the National Broadcaster UBC to broadcast across the border. They also discussed the issue of appointment of a commercial attaché who can speak various languages to Uganda’s foreign missions, lifting the ban on Facebook to allow online business since URA has now put in place mechanisms to tax online businesses and provision of cheap power for production.
Ms Barbara Mulwana, the Chairperson of PCF on behalf of the CEOs said that PCF mission is to promote, harness and popularise the private sector involvement in providing a platform that advocates for appropriate legislation, practices and policies that eliminate bottlenecks to economic development.
Ms Mulwana noted the forum proposes to highlight the need for strategic positioning of Uganda’s Private Sector for new markets and business opportunities that can foster economic transformation.
She said their focus is on exploiting new market opportunities, Oil and Gas sub sectors, private equity to speak to capital availability and African continental free trade area.
President Museveni launched PCF in 2020, noting that the Forum will help government to identity bottlenecks to business and economic growth in the country.