President Museveni yesterday centred his State-of-the-Nation address on three of the ruling NRM party’s 10-point programme that he believes will be able to build the economy sustainably with or without a crisis.
His critics, however, said what he outlined has been recycled in the past, and failed to update the nation on what he promised to do last year.
In last year’s address, Mr Museveni focused on security and measures they had implemented to stop crime, outlined priority investment in infrastructure and electricity, among other issues.
But Mr Museveni yesterday highlighted crucial areas they will focus on in building an independent economy, integrated and self-sustaining while , co-operating with other African countries.
He said the coronavirus outbreak has enabled the country appreciate areas he termed as real economy if investment is put in agriculture, ICT and science while tourism and entertainment were categorised as areas of luxury and pleasure, which if not available, life would still continue.
“This is the real economy. It deals with basic human needs. The vulnerable economy are necessary but can survive without them. Leisure and pleasure are optional,” Mr Museveni told MPs.
Ms Betty Aol Ocan, the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, said many people have invested in agriculture but little emphasis was given to market their produce in the speech.
“The President should have started on what he promised last year. He should have highlighted how far he has gone; the achievements and gaps. Today, I have not heard so much on agro-industries although he talked about agricultural produce. People planted, the markets were not there. They killed the cooperatives that he should emphasise when he came into power. A lot of things need to change,” Ms Aol said.
Kumi Municipality MP Monica Amoding asked the President to stop recycling his speeches and instead act in ensuring people get essential services.
She said while most Ugandans depend on agriculture, the items he highlighted such as tea and bananas are mainly grown in the central and western parts of the country.
She wondered why government has not invested in constructing factories in the north and eastern part of the country to support the people add value to their produce like cassava.
“The President should move away from rhetoric. What is the President trying to do to deliberately invest in the north and eastern part of the country? It is good he identified the gaps that we can invest in these areas. There is no tea from that side of the country. Cotton prices have fallen. After lockdown, so many people have cultivated, where is that produce going? We are going to see a fall in prices,” Ms Amoding warned.