President Yoweri Museveni has reassured the country that recent investments in infrastructure across the country is the right foundation needed for the country’s economy to boom again.
“I am very optimistic because for the first time we have got a base which we have not had before,” Museveni said in his remarks after Finance Minister Matia Kasaija read the 2017-18 national budget on his behalf on Thursday.
Museveni cited mainly “peace is there and no one has got capacity to disturb it,” the many new roads, the building of the Standard Gauge Railway and ” now we have more than 2000 mega watts”, as reasons that will spur the economy that many say is in slow down.
“Newspapers have been giving a pessimistic view of the economy. The Bible says they have eyes but they don’t see. They have ears but don’t hear,” Museveni said at the parliament budget session held at Serena in Kampala.
Earlier, finance minister Kasaij read out a sh29 trillion budget that he said focus on areas to boost the economy. The budget theme was “Industrializatin for job creation and shared prosperity.”
Kasaija said the country is on track in its economic development plans, and listed to parliament statistics showing many Ugandans are now living longer and better lives.
i) Life expectancy today is 63 years, up from 48 years in 2002.
ii) Literacy rates for adults now stand at 74% rising from 68% in 2002.
iii) 79% of the population now accesses safe water compared to 59% over the same period.
iv) Immunization of children against measles is now 82% up from 62% fifteen years ago.
v) Per capita incomes in real terms have more than tripled to $773 in 2016 up from $250 in 2002. This is despite an increase in population from 26 million to 36.9 million people.
He stressed that government is continuing to push for greater improvement for the lives of Ugandans by improving health infrastructure across the country.
“The Mulago National Referral Hospital extensive re-construction and equipping into a specialized facility is expected to be completed by August 2017. This Project also includes construction of a new 320 bed Specialized Maternal and Neo-natal Health Care which is due for completion in June 2017,” Kasaija said.
Mulago hospital rehabilitation project is fully funded at $50m by the Africa Development Bank.
He admitted there were several challenges, but that government plans to turnaround the economy by enhancing agricultural production and productivity, as well as increasing the pace of industrialization.