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Budget: Museveni Optimistic about the Economy

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Commenting on the 2017/18 national budget, Museveni said the economy by and large is on the right path despite two challenges of conflict and drought.

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President Yoweri Museveni says he is optimistic about the economy despite what he called a few challenges like regional conflicts and prolonged drought in 2016.

Commenting on the 2017/18 national budget on Thursday, Museveni said the economy by and large is on the right path despite two challenges of conflict and drought.

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Museveni said for once the 29-trillion-shilling budget for the financial year 2017/2018 is anchored on a strong local base unlike in previous years.

The president cited the bases as peace, electricity, new roads and the proposed standard gauge railway as well as rehabilitation of the old railway system.

Museveni said focus will be put on transformation of educated youth, whom he described as property-less and job-less, into property owners and job creators.

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Youth unemployment by many sources, including the World Bank, stands at 83 percent, with watchers predicting hard times ahead if they are not empowered.

The president also cited agriculture, agro-processing, promotion of foreign direct investments and boosting the Uganda Manufacturers Association as other strategies of boosting the economy.

Museveni said it is crucial for Uganda to make good use of her abundant resources by adding value to them instead of exporting them in raw form.

The president said Ugandans are also wasting their purchasing power by spending lots of money on foreign products and services.

On cost of money, Museveni said he is lowering interest rates for manufacturers and farmers only and not traders whom, as he put it, "can keep suffering".

On Operation Wealth Creation, the president said big strides are being made, receiving jabs from the opposition legislators who kept heckling him throughout his speech.

On oil and gas, the president said the old railway line to Pakwach will be rehabilitated to ferry equipment, which will then be transported by water to the oil operations in the Lake Albert Basin.

The president peppered his comments with lots of jibes at the opposition who also outdid themselves heckling him.

The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, told the opposition and other MPs that they will be given the opportunity to respond to the president's remarks and the budget later.

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