President Yoweri Museveni has said trade and not aid was the correct strategy Uganda must adopt as the key to transforming society through sustained growth.
The President said trade was the greatest stimulus for enhancing creativity, innovation, employment creation, economic growth, and social transformation for market development. “Innovation is the key to sustainable development. Without new innovations, businesses outlive their usefulness and they perish,” the President said.
PM Rugunda cutting the tape to officially open 23rd UMA international trade fair on Tuesday (Photo by PMPU)
Museveni’s remarks were contained in a speech read for him by the Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda who represented him at the official opening of the 23rd Uganda manufactures international trade fair at UMA show grounds in Lugogo on Tuesday.
President Museveni said the theme for this year’s trade fair, “Enhancing creativity and innovation for market development”, enhances Uganda’s zeal for creativeness and innovation as a driver for market development and competitiveness on the global scene. He said the big number of participating countries demonstrates the confidence Uganda was gaining as a viable economy. [adrotate banner=”3″]
Mr. Museveni said Uganda’s investment climate was very favorable and diverse in several sectors across the country coupled with peace and security. He said the NRM Government was focusing on key priority sectors as flagship for economic development and these include: energy, infrastructure, agriculture, tourism and industry.
“We need to revamp and up-grade the railway system to standard gauge; bitumize much of the road network; utilize the water transport system; develop our oil and gas resources; implement the flagship projects of the phosphates in Tororo, the iron-ore project in Muko etc,” said Museveni. The President said opportunities are enormous in these sectors for investment adding that Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the prime source of new jobs and play a crucial role in income generation, especially for the poor.
PM Ruhakana Ruganda and Trade Minister Amelia Kyambadde with some of the traders
He said the workers in the informal sector should particularly be supported to have production skills for quality products for domestic and external markets. Museveni said the East African Federation had come with a vast opportunity for negotiating with other countries adding that it will enhance our bargaining power on the global scale. “The GDP of Uganda will soon be US$ 25 billion.
That is the same size of GDP as Nigeria was in the year 1992 or twice the size of the GDP of Kenya in the year 2006/07,” Museveni said. He said by adding value to the raw materials being exported and consumed, the size of Uganda’s GDP could grow to US$ 300 billion, bigger than the size of Singapore’s GDP of US$ 276 billion in 2012.
The Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Amelia Kyambade said her Ministry was focused on developing and implementing policies which enhance the business environment in the country. She urged manufacturers to focus on producing quality products, branding them and also taking advantage of the large regional and international market.
The Chairman UMA, Amos Nzeyi said this year’s trade fair has attracted 300 foreign and 1000 local exhibitors. He thanked Government and President Museveni for creating a conducive business environment. Nzeyi however, appealed to Government to consider subsidizing on high power tariffs for the manufacturing sector among other incentives to keep afloat amidst the depreciating Uganda shilling against the United States dollar.
He also requested Government to consider allocating the manufactures a piece of land owned by Luzira prisons for expansion of their industries and easy access to water which will in turn create more jobs and more taxes. The best overall exhibitor this year was Movit products. Other best exhibitors in various categories were Jude colour solutions, Samona group, Uganda Bati, Mukwano group, Roofings group and Kinyara sugar among others.