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Uganda's Economic Growth Is Unstoppable -- Museveni

Monday, 18th June 2018
During his State of the Nation Address, 2018 on 6th June, President Museveni dwelt on the economy as the key to pulling people out of poverty. We reproduce edited excerpts of his speech below.

When we say that the economy is growing reasonably well, we mean that four sectors performed very well in the last year. Industry grew at 6.2% per annum, services at 7.3%, ICT at 7.9% and agriculture at 3.2%. It is only agriculture that is still growing slowly.  Fortunately, we have  the necessary boosters for agriculture.  These are the use of fertilizers and irrigation methods by more Ugandan farmers than at present. In the coming financial year, Government will work on 17 irrigation schemes country-wide. 
One of the stimuli for faster economic growth is the low cost of doing business in the economy. With the refinancing of Bujagali and a better deal for managing the transmission of electricity, we shall achieve the low cost of electricity per unit which is what we need. 

By the end of this financial year, we shall have a total length of 6,027 kms that are tarmacked. Nevertheless, the cost for road transport remains high compared to rail and water transport.  God gave us the possibility of water transport with so many water bodies:  Victoria, Albert, George and Edward as well as the River Nile. As we get investors, this potential will turn into capacity. That leaves the issue of the railway.  We are going to build the Standard Gauge Railway.  We are only refining issues of cost and quality with the partners. 

The other issue that needs attention is the environment, especially the restoration of the wetlands, the preservation of natural forests and the planting the new commercial forests. We must also strictly guard against cultivating along river banks, against allowing cultivation within 200 metres of the lakeshore and we must  be keen to stop soil erosion by using contours when cultivating in the mountain areas or hillsides. Cultivating or building in the wetlands should stop. We can economically use the wetlands better when we preserve them.

God had arranged everything in favour of Uganda ? water, papyrus, fish in the wetlands, mud-fish  etc. We can now use the edges  for fish farming and get much more money and preserve our wetlands with all our other benefits.  Moreover, swamp vegetation also filters water so that, by the time it goes into lakes and rivers, it is free of silt. This preserves lakes and rivers from silting and also preserves the quality of the water.  When it comes to purifying water for consumption, it costs us less. 

Looking into the future, Uganda is un-stoppable. We have built capacity in the security forces. We have built human capacity in education and  in health. We are continuing to build our ICT backbone and electricity availability; and we have  constructed roads across the bredth and length of the country. Capacity is also being built in agriculture through  improved seeds, disease control and improved agro-practices. 

What remains to be done is build the Standard Gauge Railway.  I did not talk about the oil and gas because all the work is already done.  It is just implementation that is remaining. The oil revenues will, obviously help us to fund our infrastructure and innovation programmes. The future is bright.  Let us tighten discipline.