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Strategic Investments in Infrastructure Paying Off- Museveni

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Delivering the 2018 State of the Nation Address in Kampala, Museveni said the economy is expected to grow by 5.8 percent this financial year, rising to seven percent in 2019/20 on account of improved tarmac road network, stable electricity and peace and security.
President Yoweri Museveni (in white hat) inspecting a guard of honour during the 2018 State of the Nation Address at Serena International Conference Center in Kampala on June 6, 2018.
President Yoweri Museveni says the solid investments in strategic infrastructure projects is beginning to pay off, with economic growth rising.

Delivering the 2018 State of the Nation Address in Kampala on Wednesday, Museveni said the economy is expected to grow by 5.8 percent this financial year, rising to seven percent in 2019/20 on account of improved tarmac road network, stable electricity and peace and security.

Museveni said the latest economic figures show significant growth in key sectors; industry at 6.2 percent, services at 7.3 percent, ICT at 7.9 percent, construction at 12 percent, noting that it is only agriculture at 3.2 percent which lagged behind.

The president said the pickup in economic growth is not surprising because it is due to solid investments in development programmes and reduction in the consumption budget.

He recounted how in the past donors had advised that the government focuses on recurrent budget while they concentrated on development budget, leading to constraints like the power crisis of the mid-2000's and inability to pave many roads.

Museveni said that by abandoning the old financing model, the government has been able to increase and improve the tarmac road network from border to border, generate more electricity and improve security.

Focusing on agriculture, Museveni said its slow growth will be dealt with in a number of ways including the use of fertilizers and irrigation systems. In the coming financial year, 2018/19, the president said the government will work on a number of public irrigation schemes like Doho Phase II in Butaleja, Mubuku Phase II in Kasese, Wadelai in Pakwach District, and Tochi in Oyam, amongst others.

To roll out irrigation systems, the president said the government is encouraging industrialists to set up manufacturing or assembling plants for solar-powered irrigation pumps, emphasizing that government won't use public funds to import solar-powered irrigation pumps.

The president said that once such plants are in place, there will be no need to import solar-powered irrigation pumps, urging rich farmers to set up their own irrigation systems. On fertilizers, the president said that with the production of phosphates starting in Sukuru in Tororo, it is time to start using fertilizers to replenish the soils and boost agricultural productivity.

President Museveni said efforts have to be put in place to uplift the 68 percent of Ugandan households engaged in subsistence farming because they are a big source of poverty. He encouraged politicians and other leaders to work towards helping the poor instead of engaging in populist activities, warning that at some point the people would demand solutions to their problems.

The president also spoke out on how some people instead of engaging in productive ventures resort to prayers in the vain hope of getting wealth. He said he doesn't believe in the notion of living in opulence while your neighbours are stuck in poverty, warning such people to be careful.

Museveni said although he has been preaching wealth creation since 1995, only a few leaders have followed suit, citing some of them as Minister John Byabagambi from Ibanda and Minister Vincent Sempijja from Kalungu who have promoted coffee production. The president also cited Kalungu, Ibanda, Masaka and Kiruhura as districts with significant improvements in the people's livelihood.

The State of the Nation Address is a constitutional requirement for the president to update the country on various developments in the country, and a key platform for pronouncing far-reaching government policies, programmes and projects, amongt others.