President details plans to jump-start economy

First Lady Janet Museveni claps as Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo decorates President Museveni with the Katonga medal on February 6, 2023. PHOTO/ FELIX AINEBYOONA

What you need to know:

  • President Museveni also revealed that while the money economy has grown from four percent in 1969 to 68 percent, there is still a lot to be done.

President Museveni has tasked the Finance ministry to zoom in on nine areas in a bid to turn the Ugandan economy “to the size of half a trillion and eventually a trillion within a few years.”
Mr Museveni was speaking at the celebration of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) Tarehe Sita at Kakyeka stadium in Mbarara City yesterday.
“We are building a new economy based on the intellect of people on human knowledge and skills,” he said, adding that depending entirely on exporting raw materials was counterproductive. 

President Museveni also revealed that while the money economy has grown from four percent in 1969 to 68 percent, there is still a lot to be done.
“The sectors for money economy are commercial agriculture or in industry or services or ICT. Number two [is] value addition to all our agricultural products that are not consumed fresh as well as to mineral raw materials,” he said, adding “This broad-based value addition to all our raw materials will catapult our economy from the size of about $50b to the economy of maybe $500b dollars.”
He proceeded to note that Ugandans produce eight million bags of coffee every year for export, earning about $900 million because of selling coffee beans instead of processed coffee.

“If you support my big effort of value addition this economy will no longer be talking of a few dozen billion dollars,” Mr Museveni promised. 
“You will now go to an economy like the ones of Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam and so on. I have demanded an explanation from the PS (permanent secretary) [of the] Finance [ministry] why can’t we jump and go to half a trillion economy instead of billions and what. So this is the second challenge I am putting to you.”
Mr Museveni also revealed that irrigation will be of primal focus since farmers can no longer rely on rain-fed agriculture.

“We can irrigate so that we can produce both in the dry season and rainy seasons,” he said, adding that the government will also focus on expanding and modernising social services infrastructure like schools and health centres.
The President also revealed that his government intends to invest in sports stadiums.
“Like here, we have not built stadiums ever since we came to government because we were so busy with so many other basics. The only stadium we built was Namboole,” he said, reasoning that this “is not that we don’t know, but we had so many things to deal with.”

Mr Museveni emphasised free education and warned head teachers who keep increasing school dues that they are aiding school dropouts in the country. He described people who have the children of the poor dropping out of school on their watch as “parasitic actors.”
“I have heard that some head teachers have introduced charges on the children that they want to pay Arts teachers,” he noted, adding, 
“When I get information, you will see what I will do because the children of the poor if they cannot afford why should you throw them out of school just because some teachers want money?”

On corruption
The President re-echoed the fight against corruption, which has crippled development of the country.
“I have been hearing about corruption. These young people are bringing in reports about district service commissions selling local government jobs,” he said, warning that the full force of the law awaits those that run foul.
As Uganda grapples with a climate crisis, Mr Museveni has also asked Ugandans to defend the environment that was given to us by God and bequeathed to us by our ancestors against parasites who are enemies of water sources, wetlands, forests, mountain tops, lake shores, river banks and others.”