Finance minister Matia Kasaija has accused the business community of promoting corruption saying they prefer giving kickbacks to dodge right processes.
Mr Kasaija, who was speaking as chief guest at a high level dialogue on the role of private sector in the delivery of sustainable development goals (SDGs) on Tuesday in Kampala, said most businesspeople bribe officials to secure contracts or to avoid taxes.
“I know there is what we call commission in business. It is given after a deal has been done like a handshake. But this business of do this for me I will give you this has stalled the fight against corruption. You business people like evading processes and taxes,” he said.
Mr Kasaija was responding to Mr Patrick Bitature, the chairman Private Sector Foundation Uganda, who in his speech castigated government for failure to fight corruption.
Governments are expected to achieve SDGs by 2030 which include zero hunger, good health and wellbeing, quality education, gender equality, decent work and economic growth and institutions.
Mr Kasaija, Mr Bitature and other stakeholders agreed that the goals are achievable if there is social, political and economic will of every citizen, especially in the fight against corruption.
The minister urged the business community to help the government in the fight against unemployment through continued investment, warning that unemployment, if not addressed, may soon cause mayhem in the country.
“Government needs private sector as you also need us. There is a problem of unemployment that we should join hands to fight. Government employs only 300,000 workers but universities pass out over 500,000 every year. Help us to address this problem,” Mr Kasaija said.
He said government is ready to create a conducive business environment and help in addressing challenges faced by the private sector through dialogue and round table discussions.
He, however, agreed with Mr Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, the Governor Bank of Uganda, that there is no money to bail out companies facing closure due to huge bank loans but promised to clear companies that owe government money.
“I have directed all accounting officers to clear companies that owe government money. I hope we shall have cleared these debts by the end of this year,” Mr Kasaija said.
The minster cautioned businesspeople on being extravagant through building very expensive houses and throwing parties.