Kampala: President in his speech yesterday as Uganda celebrated 58 yrs of independence, Museveni took time and lambasted ‘selfish’ parliamentarians who are opposed to cabinet move to construct a 223km road network inside the Democratic Republic of Congo. Museveni described them as ‘shameless’ humans. “They can’t see the advantages of this move that the road network is badly needed by Uganda to spur economic development, they’re not seeing that.
“I saw some shameless people in parliament saying, this stupid man Museveni; why are you building roads in Congo yet our roads have problems. Yes, we have our poor roads here but also have good roads, how can you stop me from partnering with DRC to develop roads there that support our trade? The terrible roads are hindering business.” Museveni said to MPs.
In the same vein, the Minister of Works and Transport, Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala last week revealed that by 2018, trade between Uganda and DRC was at $ 532 million, adding that it has the potential to grow twice if the road network is implemented.
President Museveni backed up Katumba’s saying, “In order to build the bad ones, we need to trade with Congo, it will enable us to get more resources to deal with the roads that we have not been able to do, how can anybody talk about this? It can even annoy our neighbour’s and abandon the move, it is not good.”
It is worth noting that cabinet recently approved the construction and upgrading of the national road from Kasindi section at the Congo’s border to Beni (80km) and the integration of the Beni-Butembo axis (54km) to the national road and the Bunagana (border) to Ruchuru- Goma road (89km) but the move has become the centre of controversy from Uganda’s MPs and the general public with several challenging the move.
Last year, the President revealed that Uganda has been on the growth path and a number of industries have been set up, adding that the latest move will see Uganda get a bigger market as the volume of exports to DRC will increase, unlike before.
Museveni also added the road network will ease movement of goods and other services between the two countries, “so, when you produce, you supply goods, you supply services. But you also create jobs for the youth.”
Museveni emphasized that the market factor is equally crucial noting that the Ugandan population of 42 million and that of the DRC of 80 million is not enough citing out China as a country that has guaranteed market of 1.3 billion people and yet it is still struggling for markets in other countries.
The President of DRC, Felix Tshisekedi during a visit to his counterpart at State House at Nakasero, Kampala, last month also emphasized the need for partnership between the two countries saying, “We need the market of all of Africa and there should be no taxes at the borders, what we need to concentrate on is the quality of production that can be done in the country and done cheaply to have comparative advantages.”
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