President Museveni has said government will focus on tarmacking roads leading to tourism and oil sites to ease access.
“We are now concentrating on tarmacking of roads to tourism and oil areas, so that we make it possible for the pipeline to be constructed because the pipes are very huge and cannot be transported on murram roads,” President Museveni said.
He added that developing and marketing of tourism is crucial because the country, currently earns about $1.5 billion per annum from the sector.
“We are going to build all weather tarmac roads in major tourism areas like Kidepo because tourism brings in $1.5 billion (Shs5.5 trillion) per annum,” he said during the celebrations to mark Uganda’s 57th independence anniversary at Sironko District headquarters yesterday.
The President said this will enable the economy to grow in double digits.
Mr Museveni arrived at the venue at 12.07pm, accompanied by his Zimbabwean counterpart Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was the chief guest.
The residents, who attended the function in thousands from different parts of country especially Bugisu region, were seen craning their necks to have glimpse of President Museveni and his guest.
Traditional music blared and people feasted on free food.
Other leaders in attendance were Vice president Edward Ssekandi, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, Chief of Defence Forces, Gen David Muhoozi, Deputy Prime Minister Kirunda Kivejinja, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Martins Okoth-Ochola and Commissioner General of Prisons Johnson Byabashaija and Deputy Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo.
The President said his National Resistance Movement (NRM) party has made tremendous achievements in the past 33 years in power.
“We have achieved minimum economic recovery despite a few economic bottlenecks, which we are fighting to remove, such as high cost of electricity. The economy is growing at a fast rate of 6.3 per cent,” he said.
Mr Museveni said the NRM government has also built a strong and professional army that ensured peace and stability within Uganda and other countries.
He urged residents to embrace small-scale commercial agriculture using irrigation in order to fight household poverty.
“Engage in production and you stop working for consumption. Embrace small-scale commercial agriculture to tackle poverty in our homes,” he said.
He said government will tarmac Namagumba-Budadiri- Nalugugu road in Sironko.
Mr Museveni also referred to continental integration. “Integration is for the prosperity of our people and we have been working together as African leaders since colonial times for political integration in order to create a centre of gravity for strategic security and survival of African people,” he said.
President Mnangagwa described President Museveni as his friend and said he visited Uganda to learn and strengthen the relationship between the two countries.
“I am here to learn and deepen our relationship between Uganda and Zimbabwe because I admire the unity, the progress of how President Museveni is developing this country,” he said.
“We are in transition because we have been under sanctions for 20 years. However, because of solidarity and support from our sister like Uganda, we are still surviving,” he added.
Budadiri East Member of Parliament Vincent Woboya said they were happy that government will allocate resources to tarmac Namagumba-Budadiri- Nalugugu road.
Mr Woboya said the road will promote trade and improve household income.
“The tarmacking of this road will help farmers because they have been incurring huge losses to transport their agricultural goods to the market especially during rainy seasons due to poor state of roads,” he said.
However, Opposition leaders insisted the country is still struggling with rampant poverty, corruption, inequality and unemployment among the youth.
What Others say...
The Secretary General of Forum for Democratic Change party, Mr Nathan Nandala Mafabi, who is also area MP, in a statement on his Facebook page said although Bugisu and Buganda guaranteed Uganda’s independence, Bugisu Sub-region has been sidelined.
In 1962, before the British granted Uganda independence, they questioned whether Ugandans had financial capacity to govern themselves.
Mr Nandala said to allay British fears and excuses, Bugisu through Bugisu Cooperative Union contributed £300,000 and Buganda £500,000 to prove that “we could manage ourselves.” Mr Nandala is the current chairperson of Bugisu Cooperative Union. He said NRM government has relegated Bugisu to the periphery and that 41 per cent of people in the region live below the poverty line. Mr Sam Wambaka, a political activist, said government should elevate Sironko Town Council to a municipality to improve service delivery.