I greet all of you and congratulate you on finishing 2012 and wish you a prosperous 2013. I extend condolences to the families who lost their dear ones in the year that is just ended.
The years 2011 and 2012 were full of economic challenges but were also full of economic opportunities for Uganda. The economic challenges partly emanate from the global crisis in Europe and the USA ─ the countries that traditionally buy our raw-materials, send us tourists and from where the Uganda Diaspora send us remittances. Since those countries (Europe and USA) have been experiencing economic hardships for the last four years or so, our exports to Europe have dropped by more than 50%. The Europeans are no longer buying as many of our products as they used to buy because they do not have the money. This is a problem from outside ─ an exogenous factor. Nevertheless, we were lucky that regional demand in the Great Lakes was growing rapidly before the insecurity in Eastern Congo interfered with the flow of business.
However, the weakness in Uganda was that, due to internal indiscipline by especially some of the politicians as well as other elements in the society, Uganda has not fully exploited the advantages created for her by the NRM fighters who created peace in the whole country and disciplined the army. This is apart from the correct strategy of private sector – led growth. The private sector –led growth has enabled Ugandans to massively invest in transport such as boda-bodas, Kamunyes and buses; restaurants and hotels; hair salons; bars; video-houses; petrol stations; housing estates; and import businesses. There is, however, little investment by the indigenous Ugandans in manufacturing. Besides, our Ugandan Indians, who have been active in manufacturing, face many politically generated obstacles in implementing industrial projects. The best examples are the Lugazi sugar expansion project and the Amuru sugar project. External investors also face the problem of corruption and indifference by Government officials. An Egyptian investor who is building an abattoir has wasted a lot of time on account of some of these Government officials. You, therefore, end up with a triple headed problem ─ indigenous Ugandans do not yet invest in manufacturing because they lack the knowledge and the money, the Ugandan Indians are delayed by politically motivated schemes and the foreign investors are either delayed or deterred by corrupt or indifferent Government officials. Uganda, therefore, ends with a smaller manufacturing sector than it could have and is, therefore, enfettered in using her advantage of peace, stability and an emancipated private sector that were created for her by the NRM.
This was the second reason Uganda experienced the economic problems of last year ─ high inflation caused by high prices of sugar, other foods, etc. The high prices of petrol and diesel were caused by different factors ─ high global prices for oil. Inflation went up to 30%. Was this bad for Uganda? Not at all. It was only bad because some of the Ugandan leaders (political and administrative) have delayed our industrialization plan. The high inflation was the sign of our missed opportunities in the lucrative regional export opportunities as well as feeding the internal market. Therefore, in this coming year, the patriots of Uganda will have to confront these two saboteurs ─ the myopic political – administrative group and the corrupt officials who delay our industrialization vision. No modern country can prosper by Agriculture alone. I have told you this many times. These delays for industrial projects can spell a disaster for Uganda if they are not resolutely resisted and defeated. Where will the youths get jobs from? How shall we expand the tax base beyond where it is now? How shall we expand export earnings so that we defend the shilling from depreciation as it did last year to 2,900 shillings per dollar?
Nevertheless, because the overall strategy has always been correct, in spite of the sabotage, the economy has recovered. The inflation which was 30% last year is now 4.9%. The annual rate of growth which was 3.4%, will climb back to 5% and, eventually, go back to 7%.
The commodity prices which had gone to 5,000 shillings per kilo for sugar and to 3,900 shillings per litre for petrol have now come down to 3,300 shillings per kilo and 3,700 shillings per litre respectively.
In spite of the intensive political and economic sabotage by the opposition during 2011/2012, the NRM has, nevertheless, regained and/or maintained successes in, for instance, the strategic areas of electricity and communications (roads and telephones). On the side of electricity, Uganda has, in the last three years, commissioned the big hydro-power dam at Bujagali that gives us 250 MW, the Bugoye mini-hydro station that gives us 13 MW, the Mpanga mini-hydro station that gives us 18 MW, the Ishasha mini-hydro station that gives us 6MW, the Nyagak mini-hydro station that gives us 3 MW. This is a total of about 300 MW if you include the 9 MW we are going to get from Buseruka which is about to be commissioned. This is two times the amount of power the British created for Uganda in the 70 years they were here. All this in just the last three years during which time some elements tried to create chaos. The same is happening in the sector of the roads. The following roads have been bituminized in the last three years and they are either completed or are about to be completed: Kabale-Kisoro; Soroti-Lira; Fort-Portal-Bundibugyo; Nyakahita-Kamwengye; Kampala-Mityana; Kapeeka-Semuto-Mattuga; and Gayaza-Zirobwe. The following roads have been started on for either reconstruction, rehabilitation or fresh construction: Mbarara-Kikagati; Ishaka-Kagamba; Jinja-Kamuli; Tororo-Mbale-Soroti; Moroto-Nakapiripirit; Gulu-Atiak; Arua-Oraba; Mbarara-Ntungamo-Kabale-Katuna; Kampala-Masaka; Hoima-Kaisotonya; and Entebbe-Kampala Expressway.
Many new power lines have been constructed in the last three years: Soroti-Katakwi-Moroto; Muyembe-Namalu-Amudat-Katikekile; Katine-Kaberamaido-Amolatar-Namasale; Kaberamaido-Anyara-Orungo; Katakwi-Amuria; Muhanga-Rwamucuucu; Muhanga-Kamwezi; etc.
Therefore, the pessimism and misinformation spread by liars is totally false and should be rejected. The Radio and TV stations that peddle these lies should be closed if they are not prepared to fulfill their mandate of entertaining, informing truthfully and educating truthfully.
Further-more, on the side of the roads, we have advertised the roads totaling to 1900 kms for contractor financing. These are: Olwiyo-Gulu-Kitgum; Atiak-Adjumani-Moyo-Afogi; Kapchorwa-Suam; Mbale-Bubulo-Lwakhakha; Muyembe-Nakapiripirit/ Moroto-Kotido; Soroti-Katakwi-Moroto-Loktanyala; Mukono-Kyetume-Katosi; Mpigi-Maddu-Ssembabule; Villa Maria-Ssembabule; Musita-Lumino-Busia/Majanji; Hoima-Butiaba-Wanseko; Rukungiri-Kihihi-Kanungu-Ishasha; Kyenjojo-Kabwoya; Kayunga-Bbaale-Galiraya; Buwaya-Kasanje-Mpigi-Kibibi-Mityana; Hamurwa-Kerere-Kanungu-Bulema-Kihiihi-Buhoma-Butogota-Hamayanja-Ifasha-Ikumba; Ishasha-Katunguru; Kabale-Bunyonyi; Kisoro-Mgahinga Gate and Kisoro-Nkuringo/Bwindi. On the request of the people of Lango, I will add the road from Apac-Lira-Kitgum which has for long been on the list of roads to be tarmacked and the road from Nabumali-Butaleja-Namutumba again on the request of the people from Butaleja.
On the side of power, we have already licensed private companies to build the following mini-hydro stations: Nyamwamba (14 MW), Kikagati (16 MW), Sipi-1 (5 MW), Sipi-2 (16.5 MW), Lubilia (5 MW), Kakaka in Kabarole (7.2 MW), Waki (5 MW), Muzizi (30 MW), Nengo (7.5 MW), Nyamugasani (15 MW), Ndibuto (5 MW), Nshungyezi (25 MW), Muyembe (10 MW), Kyambura (8.3 MW), Nyagak-III (4.5 MW), Maziba (1 MW), Achwa-Agago (88.8 MW). These will have a total of 264 MW. This is apart from Karuma which will give us 600 MW. We are also going to construct big power lines as well as power substations as follows:
Bujagali-Tororo to Lesos in Kenya; Mbarara-Mirama hill; Soroti-Lira; Mbarara-Nkenda at Kasese; Karuma-Kawanda; Nkwenda-Fort Portal-Hoima-Kafu; Karuma-Lira; Isimba-Bujagali; Masaka-Mutukula and Soroti-Moroto.
The following are power substations to be constructed to support the expanding industries:
Namanve, Luzira, Mukono, Lugazi, Iganga and Mbale.
The following are Rural Electrification Power lines connecting various districts and productive areas which are under construction or are being embarked on:
18 Hoima-Nyantonzi-Kinyaara-Biiso-Waki hydropower station –Butiaba-Bulisa-Wanseko
20 Gulu-Acholi Bur
34 Kyotera-Kabira-Bbakka-Lake Victoria Trade Zone.
We are also in the advanced stages of rehabilitating the railway using the UPDF Engineering Brigade plus some external partners. In the next State of the Nation Address, I will cover all the other fields of education, health, etc. On this occasion, however, I must, again, point out where the real remaining weakness is. This is in the delay of industrial projects ─ Amuru sugar, Lugazi sugar, attempts to decampaign the cement factory in Budaka by elements from Karamoja, the delay of the abattoir project caused by Government officials. This is where the remaining problem for this economy is. Without factories, you cannot create employment as already pointed out, you cannot increase the export earnings, you cannot create the market for the locally available raw materials. There were attempts to sabotage the BIDCO project in Kalangala. We fought hard and defeated those traitors. Kalangala is now booming because of the Palm Oil project. Some groups sabotaged the Thai who had wanted to modernize the Uganda Dairy Corporation factory at Bugolobi. The Thai was fed up by the negative comments that were being made in the papers (news papers) by leaders within the NRM. He withdrew. It took many years to get another investor from India. Uganda Dairy Corporation is now booming with production having climbed to 350,000 litres of milk per day compared to 15,000 litres before the investor came in. How much more would we have achieved if we did not have this sabotage?
The whole country is peaceful because the UPDF, supported by the people, defeated the terrorists of Kony, ADF and the cattle rustlers of Karamoja. The NRA/UPDF was disciplined long ago. That is why one singer referred to the UPDF/NRA as “soldiers who are like nuns” ─ “Abaserikale abalinga Ababikira”. The indiscipline is now confined to elements of the political class and the media. Those are the ones who endlessly tell lies, sabotage progress, etc. Firm steps will be taken to end this indiscipline.
There is also the danger to the youth again, emanating from AIDS which we had brought under control. We brought AIDS under control by the message of ABC (Abstinence, Be faithful to your partner and use Condom if you cannot do either of the two). AIDS prevalence came from 18% to 6.4%. It is now, however, climbing again. This has been caused by the confused messages the AIDS Commission has allowed to be propagated in the country. Let us take the example of being circumcised. What does this mean? If you are circumcised, are you immune to the AIDS virus? It is true that the AIDS virus is weak. It is not like Ebola or Marbug which spreads on contact with an infected person’s fluids such as saliva, sweat, etc. It is not even like the old venereal diseases ─ syphilis, gonorrhea, etc that can enter an intact outer-skin. The gamble of those who talk about circumcision is that the AIDS virus does not go through an intact skin. The logic is that the part of the body that is circumcised off has a tendency to have abrasions and, therefore, has an injured surface that can easily allow in the AIDS virus. They falsely argue that by removing that part, the body is thereafter protected from infection. The problem is that AIDS spreads in similar ways like the other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) do ─ sexual activity. Therefore, the one with AIDS is likely to also have syphilis, gonorrhea, herpes, etc. Those nullify the effects of circumcision because they cause sores on the outside or the inside of the relevant human organs. The AIDS virus will go through sores. The real answer is to abstain and to be faithful to one another or use the condom. AIDS is not a medical problem but a moral problem. We must emphasize the issues of morality and discipline. This is the principal medicine for AIDS.
Thank you very much.
I wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year Two Thousand and Thirteen.