Museveni defends investors, blames poverty on corruption
President Museveni on Saturday defended investors against claims that profit repatriation was responsible for the continued poverty in the country.
The President instead blamed the soaring levels of poverty on ‘greedy servants’ who misappropriate funds and other resources.
He was addressing the people of northern Uganda at Gulu State Lodge at 4th Division headquarters in Gulu City.
In the Acholi Sub-region, foreign investments, especially those in commercial agriculture, have been criticised by local leaders for failing to support their communities through extension service provision or other forms of corporate social responsibility .
Mr Museveni said providing an environment that allows investors into the country increases revenue, a major propeller of the country’s economy.
“I have heard people say that only investors (foreign) are benefitting from the economy right now. That may be true but we are also benefiting a lot from them. How? They (investors) produce for us things such as sugar, soap, beer, soda, steel bars, cement, mattresses,” Mr Museveni said.
He said the presence of investors has spared the country from incurring expenses involved in importing commodities.
“We are now buying them [commodities] here because they are making them here, they create jobs for people. But they also pay taxes here,” Mr Museveni said.
He added: “Our tax collections in 1996 was only Shs5 billion but we are now collecting Shs21 trillion, and those are funds we collect from these foreign investors which we use to support our health system, army and police, build infrastructure such as roads.”
He cited the Olwiyo-Gulu-Kitgum-Musingo road, which was built using government funds.
Mr Museveni was in Acholi Sub-region since Thursday where he commissioned the new multi-billion Atiak Sugar Factory in Amuru District, the newly constructed water treatment plant in Gulu Town as well as the rehabilitation works of Tororo-Gulu railway line on Saturday.
“The major problem is that the little funds we put in the wealth creation funds is eaten along the way by the people who handle them. I am talking about OWC (Operation Wealth Creation) materials, the Women Fund, Youth Fund, NUSAF, and the EMYOOGA,” he said.
President Museveni also warned leaders against promoting tribalism, religious and gender sectarianism.
“Anybody who talks about tribalism and religion in politics is an enemy of the people. If the roads are bad, they are bad for everybody in the area. The road is not bad for Catholics only and good for Anglicans, but it is bad for everybody and all the tribes,” he said.
He said plans are underway to work on Kitgum-Moroto and Kitgum-Palabek-Atiak roads.