President Yoweri Museveni has strongly reiterated his call to all leaders in Uganda at all levels not to frustrate investors who come to the country by delaying to make prompt decisions that would make investors open up their industries.
“All those concerned, embassies, districts and all stakeholders do not delay any investor who comes to the country, even for 2 days. Investors should not be frustrated; make decisions quickly even the ones concerning environment,” he said.
The President, accompanied by his wife who is also the Minister of Education and Sports, Hon. Janet Museveni, made the call yesterday evening at the conclusion of a 5- day Government Retreat for assessment of its performance for the Financial year 2015/2016 as well as the National Budget Consultative Conference for the year 2017/2018.
The meeting, that was organized by the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning took place at Speke Resort Munyonyo and was attended by Cabinet Ministers, Uganda’s envoys accredited to foreign countries, Members of Parliament, Development Partners, District Local Government political and civic leaders, representatives of the private sector as well as those from Civil Society Organizations.
President Museveni asked all stake holders not to mix-up issues of procurement and investment when handling investors and recommended, if possible, the application of first come, first serve policy.
The President told delegates about his recent visit to Rwanda where he learned that licences were provided to investors by Investment Authority on-line in 6 hours or 2 days physically as opposed to Uganda’s situation where it takes 32 days or even 6 months to perform the same activity.
“Why delay investors? Whom are you working for? he asked.
President Museveni earlier told participants that the NRM Government had overcome all challenges facing the country except that of consumption against production.
He, therefore, urged local government leaders to improve on the service delivery as the population is today interested in solutions not diversions, such as lawlessness and demonstrations.
He pointed out that by executing the recommended 23 points that will lead Uganda to a middle income country, all leaders, especially Ministries such as that of Industry; Youth; Innovations and Science as well as that of Agriculture, should exert more emphasis and focus on import substitution and export promotion.
Mr. Museveni also emphasized the need to support the youth in enterprises like small-scale industries; adding that he had, before coming to retreat, provided assorted equipment worth Shs. 170 million to a group of over 1,500 youth in Nsambya, that will enable them open up a fully-fledged furniture workshop.
“I don’t want districts to do everything. Let us hear that you have handled at least 2 or 3 groups sustainably. You don’t need a lot of money. The problem, therefore, is not money but lack of seriousness,” he noted.
He recalled that in 1996 government started providing kick-start funds to wananchi, like Entandikwa, and has been sending funds to Sub-Counties in form of micro-finance and youth funds, among others.
On corruption, President Museveni said the process of wiping out the vice has already started.
‘I don’t want to talk much about it. You will soon hear about the casualities. We cannot allow selfish people to destroy the future of our children. I am not worried about the vice. It will stop,” he stressed.
Commenting on some of the concerns by some delegates on low absorption of grants and loans and the attendant risking of the cancellation of such funds, President Museveni cited the US$100 million from the World Bank to the Ministry of Education and and Sports. He tasked the Minister, Hon. Janet Museveni, to explain to delegates the outcome.
The Minister said she had sorted out that issue with the World Bank officials and that 130 schools are to be constructed.
“We shall put our house in order and we shall do a better job,” Hon. Museveni assured the delegates and the nation.
The President, however, wondered why the technocrats in the Ministry of Education and Sports don’t have standard designs for both Secondary and Primary schools instead of fronting the excuse of ’feasibility study and procurement’ as reasons for the delay in utilizing the grants.
“This shows lack of seriousness and total failure of leadership by technocrats in some of these sectors,” he observed.
He added that old schools, like Teso College Aloet and Sir Samuel Baker, had the same designs but because people are looking for what he termed ‘enjawulo’ and such they delay utilizing grants thereby making the nation lose out on such opportunities.
On the issue of climate change, President Museveni strongly advised leaders to counsel the population on the dangers of draining wetlands. He explained that 40% of the rains we receive come from the wetlands that are being destroyed by the growing of rice.
He said government has come up with a plan to mitigate the drought challenges by constructing irrigation schemes like those of Doho in Butaleja, Mobuku in Kasese, Olweny in Dokolo, Lira district and Agoro in Lamwo adding that the scheme will be rolled out to other low land parts in the country.
On the excuse by Local Governments of low staffing, Mr. Museveni pointed out that this was totally unacceptable because one officer can reach out to the population using radios on any pertinent subject. He cited some of the subjects as promotion of health through proper observance of hygiene, nutrition, immunization or reach out to cattle farmers.
He, however, noted that only sectors like education need to be aided as the teacher to student ration is not proportionate.
“Go on radios and explain to the people diseases that they can avoid through hygiene. That is how I de-campaigned HIV/AIDS in 1997 and the prevalence rate reduced,” he said.
President Museveni further urged leaders to sensitize the masses on the deadly Hepatitis-E disease whose mode of transmission is well known.