President Yoweri Museveni has said Uganda can easily develop to a modern economy to rival world powers like United Kingdom and Poland, to start with.
President Museveni made the remarks on Friday while addressing the East African Legislative Assembly at the Ugandan parliament.
Museveni was angry at former Kenyan Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, who has been opposing the Uganda-Kenya sugar deal saying its clear that East African need to trade with each other.
He reminded Raila that “Uganda can become a modern country the way it is”.
“We can develop to be like the United Kingdom and Poland,” he revealed.
Museveni said although this may take more than 20 years to achieve, it was very possible because “we [Uganda] have more resources than those powers.”
He asked the East African Parliament (EALA) to consider a law banning the importation of the already assembled vehicles to the region.
Museveni said there was need to balance trade between Uganda and Kenya. Kenya has overtaken Uganda in exports from US$12m compared to US$200m in 1986 to the current $700m compared to US$150m.
He said EAC countries and Africa in general are working towards removing “strategic bottlenecks” to modernization, including market fragmentation, security, infrastructure and the uneducated human resource.
“We need to deepen economic integration; there will be greater prosperity when we remove non-tariff barriers.”
The President said the United States had declared its intention of being superior on land, air, water and space but that Uganda and the region needed “security against those who want to dominate us.”
The President said that he had forwarded a proposal to the EAC Summit about the requirement to have motor vehicles and motor cycles locally assembled.
He said this was an idea picked from Ethiopia, which saves 57% of the cost by locally assembling motor vehicles and motorcycles.
He said in the process, Ethiopia created 160,000 jobs, which also came with technology transfer in the industry.
In February 2015, President Museveni said the government of Uganda is going to spend Shs 523bn in the construction of the major roads in Northern Uganda.
The President said that in the history of Uganda, the NRM government is the one that has the plan to develop the country as long as it has the money.
In April 2015, Museveni urged Ugandans to learn from the Koreans about hard work, discipline and frugality saying these are some of the qualities that have pushed Korea to be the 10th richest country in the world.
“Korea is poor, not as rich as Uganda in terms of natural resources. It is half the size of Uganda but it is now the 10th richest country in the world because of their hard work, discipline, frugality and now compassion,” he said.
In June 2015, while reading the National Budget, Museveni said the NRM, over the last 29 years, has laid a basis for the metamorphosis of the economy and society of Uganda from a Third World one to a First World one in the coming years, the various obstacles notwithstanding.
He said the economy of Uganda has, in the past 29 years grown at the rate of 6.6% per annum in spite of the electricity, road, rail, ICT backbone bottlenecks.
“After these bottlenecks are solved, the way we are solving them, the economy will grow at the rate of 7-10% per annum. This higher rate of growth will start in the year 2020.”
Museveni insisted that even at the present rate of growth, Uganda will become a lower middle-income country by 2020 ─ i.e. in the next four years.