What you need to know:
- Advice. Speaker says both government and diaspora would be acting out of ignorance if they shun one another.
The Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, has appealed to Ugandans in the diaspora to abandon the idea of shunning Uganda’s embassies on the basis of disliking their government.
Ms Kadaga said such a mind set is unhelpful since some individuals only differ with the ruling party on political opinions.
Addressing the 31st Uganda North American Association (UNAA) Convention and Trade Expo underway in Chicago, United States, on Friday, Ms Kadaga said both government and diaspora would be acting out of ignorance if they shunned one another.
She told the diaspora community that the first page of each of their passports points out that the travel document(s) had been given to them under the authority of the incumbent President, whether they supported him/her or not.
The Speaker said registering with Uganda’s embassies would foster consular services alongside information on investment opportunities.
Uganda has two ambassadors accredited to the United States; one in Washington DC, the capital, and the other as a Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York.
Ms Kadaga also said some Ugandans were being mistreated in a few Middle East countries because they neither left through legal avenues nor understood what is labeled on their passports.
“However, you cannot divorce yourselves from government,” she said.
Ms Kadaga added that Parliament’s view was that jobs abroad should be procured by government as opposed to unilateral arrangements by the private sector.
She hailed the UNAA forum for initiating ideas, citing the construction of the recently-opened specialised hospital in Soroti District to treat fistula. During presentations on investment, Mr Cody Lorance, the proprietor of Endiro Coffee, said his penetration of the US market with the product had increased visibility for Uganda and benefited coffer farmers in Mt Elgon Sub-region.
Mr Marty Ozinga, another American investor, whose family manufactures concrete products, revealed plans to invest in northern Uganda.
“Honour translates into behaviour and integrity,” he said, asking Ugandans to be trustworthy.
Mr Patrick Ayota, the managing director of the National Social Security Fund, encouraged Ugandans in the diaspora to voluntarily save with the Fund and invest back home.
Ms Gladys Namirembe, a Ugandan living in Boston, however, complained that she had never received her NSSF savings over the past 13 years. Mr Ayota promised to resolve her case.
Mr Anthony Kituuka and Mr Michael Mugabi, the chief executives of Equity Bank and Housing Finance Bank respectively, urged the Ugandans to borrow and invest to create wealth.
Mr Brian Kanzira of Bank of Uganda appealed to Ugandans to buy government bonds.
“Others such as NSSF are using your savings to buy bonds and earn money. So why shouldn’t you? Bonds are risk-free and you will earn between 12 and 16 per cent,” Mr Kamzira said.
The Uganda North American Association convention is being attended by hundreds of Ugandans in North America and Canada, Ugandan ministers, lawmakers, businessmen, civil servants and private sector.