Thursday June 5 2014

Government to focus on agriculture, service, ICT and industry sectors- Museveni

The audience during the state of the nation

The audience during the state of the nation address. Photo by Geoffrey Sseruyange  

By Monitor Reporter

President Yoweri Museveni has said that Government will this financial year concentrate on developing four key sectors- agriculture, service, ICT and industry as part of its efforts to foster economic growth and development.

According to Mr Museveni, government intends to do this by investing more money in these sectors so as to alleviate a number of economic challenges like poverty and unemployment. He further noted that government will invest more money in energy, industry and infrastructure so as to boost the economic development.

Mr Museveni revealed this on Thursday during the State of the National Address at Serena Conference Center in Kampala.

“This (State of the Nation Address) is not a mere constitutional ritual as some people may want to perceive it but accountability on the performance of government from the previous one. For this case therefore, I want to tell you that we (Government) intends to concentrate on key priority sectors like Agriculture, industry, services, ICT for wealth creation and access to employment,” Mr Museveni said.

According to the president, the agricultural sector has this year grown by over 5%, relatively higher than the previous years.

He also encouraged local farmers to embrace commercial/plantation agriculture which according to him will help put Uganda’s agricultural products at a competitive advantage on the global market.

In his speech punctuated with his usual sense of humour, Mr Museveni noted that although the sector (agriculture) faces a number of challenges like high cost of inputs and poor skills amongst the farmers, there is ready market for its products.

“The market is the key driving factor for commercial farming and therefore, there is need for every small scale and commercial farmer to satisfy this, especially in foreign countries like Asian, USA, Nigeria and the neighbouring Kenya,” noted Mr Museveni.

According to Mr Museveni, government is committed to restructuring NAADs in the coming financial year.

“Using a total of 9billion, UPDF has distributed about 11 million seedlings of coffee and promoting other agricultural activities. If the soldiers can do this with so little money in their hands, why should management of NAADs fail with so much money entrusted in their hands,” Mr Musevein wondered.

According to Mr Museveni, Government has enough money in its coffers to run its development programmes but it faces a challenge of getting the right channel and reliable agents to convey it to the intended beneficiaries.

“There is money for the farmers and it has always been there. There is also the money for the youth where every year, government allocates them shs33 billion while programmes like NUSAF get shs52 billion, among others.
Therefore, the problem is not shortage of money but shortage of reliance in the agency for conveying this money to the beneficiaries,” he noted.
The tourism sector employs 2.6million person and accounts for 45percent of our GDP.

Besides the mining, petroleum and the gas sectors, Mr Museveni noted that government intends to focus tourism which employs over 2.6million people and accounts for 45% the country’s GDP.

“As you may be aware petroleum and gas that we shall start extracting from the ground by 2017 shall be used as crude oil in the refinery and part of it exported.

Government has also conducted excavation in different parts of the country and discovered minerals such as Iron ore in Kabale, phosphate in Tororo, Limestone in Karamoja and Hima, Aluminium clays in Makutu-Bugweri, copper in Kilembe area, cobalt in Kilembe, tin in Ntungamo, Gold in different parts of the country.

According to the president, Uganda has surpassed the MDG goals of fighting poverty by 2015 and the economy has grown for the last 28years.
“When some people hear of the 28 years they want to hang themselves,” noted Mr Musevein.

The president further stressed that infrastructure development, security and the youth are some of the key area that government intends to emphasise since these will in turn boost economic development and growth.
According to the president, government is in negotiation with Japanese company to procure machinery for infrastructural development.