By Hanning Mbabazi
Kampala: President Yoweri Museveni has revealed that the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) is working hand in hand with the Uganda Police Force to curtail the crime wave in Uganda.
While speaking to Ugandans during the Thursday state of the nation address, the President for the second time in a raw, promised country men, women and the Bazukulu to remain calm as government is working closely to end this criminality. The President said that the NRM Government remains committed to ensuring a secure and peaceful Uganda. Museveni said that “…This comes about by promoting and upholding patriotism, democracy and good governance as core values for National socio-economic transformation. Significant focus has been placed on professionalizing and modernizing the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) and building the Uganda Police Force (UPF) capabilities.” He also noted that “Some months ago, killers, robbers and rapists had intensified their activities. They were committing these crimes with impunity because the Police had been infiltrated by criminals and people who had been compromised in some ways. The National Security Council reviewed the situation and came to some conclusions. I addressed a special sitting of Parliament on the 20th of June, 2018, where I outlined the measures we had decided to take to cope with the heightened crime. A number of those measures are being implemented. As I assured the country, that crime wave will be defeated.” he said.
Museveni added that “UPDF works with other security agencies to deter or curtail any acts of lawlessness. The recent peaceful holding of the Martyrs Day, where an estimated 3 million people turned up, shows that Police and the UPDF already have good capacity.” The president also talked about many issues including the Economy of the Country, Agriculture, tourism corruption…About the Economy, the President said that from 1986 to 2015 Uganda’s economy grew at an annual average rate of 6.92% while per capita income grew at an annual average rate of 3.6% over the same period praising this that No European country, not even the USA (except West Germany between 1950 and 1980 which did 3.8%) has grown its per capita income at the same rate as Uganda over a period of three decades.
“The size of the economy now is Shs109.738 trillion in FY 2018/19 equivalent of USD 29.5 bn. The income per person is now equivalent to US$ 800. Although this is below the level required to the attainment of the Middle Income Status, the renewed impetus of the economy and the large economic base being created will catapult the economy to prosperity within a short period in the future. By the Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) method of computing GDP, the economy now stands at US$88.6billions which translates into US$2,400 per capita. However to keep this growing Uganda need to Industrialization to promote exports using primarily agriculture as the base; this includes industrialization along the agricultural value chain, light manufacturing and processing our minerals into finished products; and further diversification of the manufacturing sector to increase exports. Increasing production and productivity in the agricultural sector by investing in quality inputs, extension services, storage facilities, access to markets by improving standards and quality of agro-processing. We are also working on stabilizing agriculture through irrigation. Therefore, a firm foundation for industrialization and especially manufacturing has been laid. We now have the fruit industry in Teso and Luweero; Dairy industry in Ankole; Vegetable Oil industry in Kalangala; and Tea industry in Toro and the Kigezi sub-regions; etc., etc. Government is providing financial support to tea factories in Western Uganda including Kigezi Highland Tea Co. Limited, Kayonza Growers Tea Factory and Mabale Growers Tea Factory Limited. In addition, Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) has increased the supply and distribution of tea seedlings in the region. In the North, Government has taken up a 32% stake in Atiak Sugar Factory which has a nucleus farm and an outgrowers scheme which will create jobs and promote agro-industrialization in this region. Government is prioritizing investment in Industrial parks to support industrialization and create jobs. Notable progress has been made in Kapeeka Industrial Park where manufacturing of tiles and other products is already on, Kampala Industrial and Business Park where construction and provision of various utilities is soon starting, Kabaale and Mbale Industrial Parks where work is on-going, etc. So far, there are 284 new factories already in the Industrial Park at Namanve; 11 in Luzira industrial and Business Park; 10 in Bweyogerere industrial estate; 8 in Jinja industrial and Business Park; 10 in Soroti industrial and Business Park; 16 in Kasese industrial and Business Park; and 42 in Mbarara SME Park. The total factories in Uganda are today 4,900.” Reads in the president’s speech.
About Agriculture the President said Agriculture remains the main thrust of Uganda’s economic growth. The sector contributes 25% of national GDP and employs over 70% of Uganda’s population. “Milk annual production increased from 2.08 billion litres in 2015 to 2.5 billion litres in 2018 and is projected to increase to 3.35 billion litres by the end of 2019. The value of marketed milk has increased by 15% from USD 716 million in 2015 to USD 850 million 2018. Oil palm production in Kalangala has increased and steadily improving farmers’ incomes and livelihoods. In FY 2016/17, farmers harvested 24,278 MT valued at UGX 13.4 billion while in FY 2017/18 farmers harvested 37,802 MT valued at UGX 21.4 billion (36% increase in production and 37% increase in value). On average, the President say the 1,199 oil palm farmers with mature gardens earned UGX 1.9 billion each month in 2018, up from UGX 1.3 billion each month in the calendar year 2017.” the president said. About NAADS/ Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) initiative, the President noted that Government has continued to distribute key planting, breeding and stocking materials including: tea seedlings in Kigezi, Ankole, Rwenzori, Mubende, West Nile and Bunyoro Sub Zones, where over 21,915 acres have been established; citrus/ orange seedlings establishing 109,439 acres; mango seedlings establishing 143,803 acres; cocoa seedlings establishing 16,459 acres, among others.
On Energy and mineral development, Museveni further said Government has consequently implemented over 10,000 km of Medium Voltage (MV) power lines and approximately 9,000 km of Low Voltage (LV) distribution power lines. “This has translated into the connections of over 1.3 million customers onto the national grid and the increment of the rural electrification access rate from 1% in 2001 to over 13% in 2019. This means that a total of about 7.8 million Ugandans are now linked to grid power. Additionally, another 500,000 customers are connected to power off the grid. This means that a total of about 3million people access power off grid. With nearly all the District Headquarters supplied with electricity, the agenda is now to connect all the Sub-Counties by 2022.Government is promoting use of renewable energy technologies in the Country that include solar system for lighting rural homes and for the national grid. The Country now has 40MW of solar grid connected systems.”
“On tourism, in terms of contribution to employment in the economy, the president said, Tourism generated 229,000 jobs directly in 2017 (2.4% of total employment). This includes employment by hotels, travel agents, airlines and other passenger transportation services (excluding commuter services). The direct contribution of Tourism to GDP in 2017 was UGX 2,699.1bn (2.9% of GDP) while the total contribution including wider effects from investment, the supply chain and induced income impacts, was UGX 6,888.5bn in 2017 (7.3% of GDP), up from UGX 6,171.5bn in 2016. The overall goal for the Government is to attract 4 million tourist arrivals and increase the contribution of tourism to GDP from Shillings 7.3 trillion to Shillings 14.68 trillion at the end of the year 2020.”
On Corruption, the president urged that Government has provided more funding to the Inspectorate of Government to increase their capacity to verify the Leaders’ Declaration. The verification exercise will be increased further to crack down on Public Officers who have illicitly acquired wealth at the expense of effective service delivery to the citizens. “Prevention of corruption has been enhanced by increasing citizen participation in the monitoring of Government programs and encouraging citizens to report cases related to abuse of public funds. In this regard, the Government implemented the Transparency, Accountability and Anti-Corruption (TAAC) component in NUSAF II (Northern Uganda Social Action Fund) by engaging citizens in monitoring Government programs. A new Unit was created headed by Lt. Colonel Edith Nakalema. There is a 24 hours Call-Centre where people can report bribery cases, embezzlement, land evictions, crime, etc. The Unit, then, contacts the Police and the IGG so that they handle the cases.” He added.
On Education and Health sector the president said, since 2016, a total of 48 new classrooms in permanent materials have been added to the stock of classrooms for the Government Secondary Schools. “The total number of classrooms for Government Secondary Schools is now 12,696. There are 1,194 Government Secondary Schools with an enrolment of 679,215 students. The Private Secondary Schools are 8,269 with an enrolment of 778,062 students. “There are 99 Government Technical and Vocational Schools with a total enrolment of 70,248 students. The Universities in Uganda are today 50; 11 of them being Public Universities. The total enrolment in Universities is 186,412 (96,305 in public universities and 90,107 in private ones). In Public Universities we have been rationalizing courses and also emphasizing Science subjects, Mathematics, Accountancy and Auditing, Quantitative Economics and Management. The school, tertiary and university systems must create wealth and job creators, not just clerical job seekers.” The president narrated. He also urged that health, that there is a total of 19 referral hospitals including Mulago. Mulago is trying to be a super-specialized Hospital.
“With some partners, we are building super-specialized hospitals in Lubowa and another one by HH the Aga Khan. The aim of this is to stop the hemorrhage of money to the outside. Each year, Uganda has been losing US$ 187million to the outside (India) for medical reasons. However, health is not in treatment but in prevention. The ways of prevention are well known and cost effective. They are: immunization, hygiene, nutrition, behavior change, life-style discipline, safe-water and vector control. If you address all those aspects, 80% of the sicknesses will be eliminated. By immunizing against the 13 diseases, we have eliminated polio, measles etc. By killing the mosquitoes with indoor spraying, killing the tsetse flies, we eliminated malaria and sleeping sickness. By just clean water, you get rid of cholera, intestinal worms, bilharzia and the guinea worm. Prevention has been achieved through the HCIIIs. There are 1002 HCIIIs in the whole of Uganda. 331 have HCIIs to be upgraded to HCIIIs and money is already found for that purpose. 132 Sub-counties are still lacking, at least, one HCIII.” Museveni said. To put it in a global context, between 1986 and 2015, Uganda was the 17th fastest growing economy in the world, the 4th in Africa. If we remove mineral-rich countries from the sample (because they were enjoying God’s or nature’s bounty), Uganda was 11th in the world, 1st in Africa.