It is a great pleasure and honour for me to welcome you all to this occasion as we mark 53 years of Uganda’s Independence under the theme: “Striving towards a prosperous people and country: The meaning of true Independence.”
As we celebrate this defining moment in our history, we should remember all those pan-Africanists whose sacrifice and unity of purpose led to the liberation of our continent. The freedom we enjoy today was earned by the blood of patriots and their sacrifices must never be in vain.
After many years of scrutiny, government has discovered two useful words and targets. The two words are: Prosperity and Security. The question we had to answer was: “What are the factors that can lead our society, our tribes, our clans, our families to prosperity in the context of the modern world, characterized as it is, by the money nexus?
What does prosperity mean in the modern context? It means that each of our individual families has sufficient income to live a good life, the family members are educated and they are healthy. Where will the income come from? The income can only come from any one of the 5 sectors: commercial agriculture, industries (manufacturing, processing ─ big and small), services (shops, transport, hotels, professional services, etc.), ICT and Public Service.
It was this understanding that helped government to defog the ideological and political situation that we confronted in the 1960s, 70s and early 80s. The question we had to answer was: “If the prosperity of families and communities was dependent on markets to buy their goods and services, on good infrastructure and on peace, what, then, should be the ideological principles of a political organization that could have the capacity to provide a solution to the predicament of the people?
In order to guarantee the prosperity of the families and the communities, we have, however, already seen that the internal Ugandan market is not enough. Our prosperity will be better if our regional partners in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, Congo, etc. buy from us as they are doing. You all have seen the impact of those markets on our economy and prosperity.
It is this realization that galvanized our abhorrence to the sectarian ideology of tribes or religion, the chauvinism against women and the marginalization of the disabled, the youth, etc. It enabled us to firmly and scientifically, distil the first principle of the NRM from the fog of perceptions that were abundant in Uganda at that time. This is the principle of patriotism or nationalism as it is sometimes described. It, therefore, became the first ideological principle of the NRM.
Our second principle became Pan-Africanism. It is not only patriotism that will guarantee our prosperity but also Pan-Africanism.
Then, the NRM identified the third principle of socio-economic transformation that is indispensable for our society to move from a peasant society based on subsistence farming to a middle class, skilled working class society as has happened in Europe in the last 500 years. It is a shame that Africa is, at least, 200 years behind Europe in social metamorphosis. Two stimuli are crucial here. One is education for all. That is why we, in 1996, introduced UPE (Universal Primary Education) and, later on, added USE (Universal Secondary Education). An educated person has more chances, by no means automatic, of social mobility from the peasantry to either the middle-class or the skilled working class.
The agricultural sector has been the mainstay of our economy with most of the production being done at subsistence level. Our goal is to transform this into commercial agriculture. Accordingly, as highlighted in Vision 2040, Government will pursue a two-pronged strategy in agriculture. On the one hand, Government will continue to invest in agricultural inputs and research to promote food security. On the other hand, all agricultural exports will strictly be based on the principle of value addition. The private sector will hence be facilitated to start appropriate agribusinesses.
Operation Wealth Creation
NAADs was set up to help in the transition from subsistence to commercial agriculture. When it did not function well, I moved in with the UPDF under Operation Wealth Creation.
We started with the Fronasa –NRA war zones of 1971-1986. Most of the homesteads of the civilian Fronasa and NRA veterans have now been covered and we have deployed the UPDF officers to all the constituencies of Uganda. The maize seeds and beans have generated bumper crops in these areas. The problem now is post-harvest handling and value-addition.
Besides, we also provided money for the campaign for homestead incomes in the form of entandikwa, PMA, Restocking, Peace Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP), Northern Uganda Social Action Fund (NUSAF), Micro-finance, NAADS, etc., etc. Altogether, as of now, these different funds have got an annual total of Uganda Shs. 485.65 billion.
It is necessary to remind ourselves that a modern economy cannot depend on agriculture alone. Gone are the days of the physiocrats in France who believed that all value came from agriculture. Hence, we must go the second sector ─ industries ─ manufacturing ─ big factories and small ones. In advanced countries, more jobs are generated from industry than from Agriculture. Uganda will not be an exception. In 1987, people employed in services and industry were 378,227. The people employed in industry and services are now 1,718,000 workers. In other-words, the number of people working in industry has gone up more than five times.
With the commissioning of Bujagaali, there has been alleviation of power shortage although the price of electricity is still high. We are determined to provide electricity for manufacturing at 4 US cents per unit whatever the challenges. I want to inform the country that our young scientists, graduating from universities, are happily entering the manufacturing fields. Our scientists at Makerere have already produced electric automobiles and I tasked them to work on solar water pumps.
On the side of the infrastructure, we have repaired the 1,200 kms of tarmac roads we inherited in 1986 and built another 3,800 kms of new tarmac roads. We are now planning and we have secured money for the tarmacking of the following roads using Uganda Government money:
Kampala-Masaka; Tororo-Mbale-Soroti; Jinja-Kamuli; Hoima-Kaisotonya; Ishaka-Kagamba; Moroto-Nakapiripirit; Mpigi-Kanoni; Kanoni-Sembabule-Villa-Maria; Musita-Lumino-Busia; Olwiyo-Gulu; Gulu-Acholibur; Acholibur-Musingo; Mukono-Kayunga-Njeru; Mukono-Kyetume-Katosi; Mubende-Kakumiro-Kagadi-Ndaiga;Mbarara-Kikagate; Tirinyi-Pallisa-Kumi, Hoima-Kigoroobya-Biiso-Wanseko, Masindi Port-Apac-Lira-Kitgum etc., etc.
Using loans and grants from outside, we have already done, we are doing or we shall also do the following roads in terms of tarmacking: Arua-Oraba, Gulu-Atiak, Atiak-Bibia, Masaka-Mbarara, Mbarara-Kabaale-Katuna, Fort Portal-Bundibugyo, Arua-Oraba, Gulu-Atiak-Bibia, Mbale-Magale-Bumbo-Lwakhakha with a branch to Manjiya, Rukungiri-Kanungu-Ishasha-Nyakishenyi, Kapchorwa-Kween-Bukwo-Suam, Kigumba-Masindi-Hoima-Kagadi-Kyenjojo, Iganga-Kaliro (reconstruction) Tirinyi-Pallisa-Kumi, Soroti-Katakwi-Moroto, Moroto-Kotido-Kaabong, Soroti-Amuria-AcanPii-Abim, Masaka-Bukakata, etc., etc.
In order to ensure affordable electricity for industrialization, the following is our plan. As far as Karuma and Isimba are concerned, we are going to use loans from China and our own contribution, using the money from the Energy Fund. This will be the government borrowing. As a consequence, the unit cost for power from Karuma will be 5 US cents and that of Isimba will be 4.8 US cents. Electricity transmission lines are now 1,627 kms compared to 1,427 kms in 2006; on the power distribution lines, the medium voltage (33KV and11KV), is now a total of 15,178 kms compared to 6,245 kms we had by 2006. The low voltage distribution lines connecting electricity to consumers is now about 18,000 kms compared to 8,448 kms in 2006.
Oil and Gas
By 2017, we shall start pumping the oil out for our refinery and the pipeline. We estimate a production of 180,000 barrels on average per day. If we assume a low price of US dollars 70 per barrel, that will give us an annual extra income of US dollars 4.6billions. 70% of this money i.e. US dollars 3.2billions will be Uganda Government money. This money will never be used for salaries, imports, etc., etc.; it will only be used for hydro-power dams and other forms of energy, the standard gauge railway, industrialization (industrial-estates), scientific innovation and research and high-level science education and technical training. With this money per annum we can pay for the much talked about standard gauge railway in just two years.
Apart from oil and gas, the government conducted exploration in many parts of the country and discovered the following minerals in the following quantities:
(i) Iron-ore – more than 200 million metric tonnes of proven ore in Kabale and Kanungu areas;
(ii) Phosphates – 230 million metric tonnes of proven Ore in Sigulu hills, Tororo;
(iii) Cement – more than 300 million tonnes of Limestone in Karamoja in addition to the one in Hima;
(iv) Aluminium clays – more than 3 billion tonnes of ore in Makuru in Bugweri;
(v) Copper – more than 9 million tonnes in Kilembe;
(vi) Cobalt – more than 5.5 million tonnes in Kisoro;
(vii) Wolfram – more than 800,000 tonnes, in some parts of Kabale;
(viii) Tin – more than 1 million tonnes in Ruhaama Ntungamo areas;
(ix) Gold – more than 8.2 million ounces in different parts of the country;
(x) Vermiculite – more than 54.9 million tonnes in some parts of the country
(xi) Columbite-tantalite (Coltan) 133 million tonnes;
(xii) Rock salt and brine – 22 million tonnes in Katwe and some parts of the country;
(xiii) Uranium – in some parts of the country.
Investment and wealth creation must translate into improved quality of life for our people. We have so far performed well in arresting and reversing the declining quality of life indicators and to considerable extent improved human development in the country.
In pursuit of a prosperous country with prosperous people, we must also be prepared to transform ourselves. We must change the mind-sets of our people, from a defeatist self-deprecating type to the highly motivated high-achievers that we are envisaging to drive our economy over the next 30 years. We must move away from a wasteful culture towards efficiency gains; from aimless drifters to a more development-oriented work ethic; and most importantly from tendencies of misappropriating public resources to a culture of integrity and respect for public property. We cannot afford a “business-as-usual” approach.
The achievement of the high literacy rates (now at an average rate of 77.1% for the males and 75.2% for the females, making a total average of 76.1%), notwithstanding, we need to skill the Ugandan youths with technical, professional and managerial skills.
Besides, the socio-economic interventions we have been carrying out have not been in vain. While in 1986, we had only 1,209,640 pupils in primary schools, in 2014, we have 8,459,720 pupils in government and private primary schools. While in 1986, we had 123,589 students in secondary schools, we now have 1,362,739 students in the government and private secondary schools. In 1986, we had 5,390 university students. We now have 140,403 students in the government and private universities. In 1986, we had one university. We now have 32 universities, both government and private. The society is somehow metamorphosing.
As of now, we have 5 Technical Colleges across the country for S.6 Leavers; 5 Teacher Training Colleges for S.6 Leavers; 57 Technical Institutes for S.4 Leavers; 42 Technical Institutes and Community Polytechnics for P7 Leavers and 4 Tourism Schools. The plan is to build, at least, one technical institute (for S.4 Leavers) per constituency.
In the health sector we have made progress as follows:
Performance in health sector has led to significant improvements in the citizens’ health and, more importantly, provides ground for confidence in future gains in general living standards. Access to health units within a radius of 5km has improved from 30% in 1986 to 79% in 2005. Out of 214 electoral constituencies, 143 have Health Centre IVs with a theatre and a doctor. Another 35 Health Centres have already been completed but not yet equipped, and 36 are under construction.
In the area of ICT, for instance, when I visited China some years ago, I agreed with the Huawei Company to build the ICT backbone. I linked them to the concerned authorities inside Uganda. The following towns have already been linked by the ICT backbone: Kampala, Entebbe, Bombo, Nakasongola, Gulu, Masindi, Nimule, Lira, Soroti, Kumi, Mbale, Tororo, Busia, Jinja, Mukono, Mbarara, Bushenyi, Fort Portal and Hoima.
One effort of job creation is to encourage the setting up of Business Processes Outsourcing (BPO). This is in order to exploit sector No.4 (ICT)-whereby Ugandan Accountants and Auditors, work on company books from the USA or Canada, transmit the product of their work across the internet and are paid their remuneration while they are here.
Peace and Security
I salute the UPDF, the Uganda Police, the Intelligence services and the vigilance of the population of Uganda for the peace that is prevailing in every corner of Uganda ─ Karamoja inclusive.The problem of indisciplined armies had dogged us for far too long. I am, therefore, happy to report that professionalization of the army has firmly taken shape and we have not only managed to pacify the whole country, but can defend every part of it. We are also now in position to provide security and military support to our neighbours. It is in this connection that we have gone to Somalia as the biggest contingent of the African Union force and managed to pacify that country.
In conclusion, fellow Ugandans, the task of delivering Uganda towards prosperity is not for the President or even the Government alone. This is a shared vision, an embodiment of the aspirations of all Ugandans. In order to achieve the things I have outlined above, we need to change our way of doing things. We need to adopt a business approach in Government, which will resonate better with the work culture of the private sector.
I wish you happy celebrations and I thank you all.
Yoweri Kaguta Museveni
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA
9th October, 2015.