President Yoweri Museveni has reassured Ugandans that plans are fully on track for the country to have a national airline. The president said the airline is finally viable, as Ugandans alone are now spending up to $420 million (sh1.4 trillion) annually on travel.
“We are now finalizing the modalities,” Museveni told the nation as Uganda celebrated 54 years of independence in Luuka district, east of the capital Kampala in Busoga region.
“We allowed Uganda Airlines to die because it was making losses and, at that time, Ugandans were not travelling as much as today,” Museveni said on Sunday.
“Somebody has told me that Ugandans are spending $420 million per year on travel. Therefore, the NRM Government has decided to start a national airline to stop the outflow of this money and to end travel inconveniences to Ugandans.”
Museveni described efforts to revive Uganda’s national airline as one of the ways the issue of industrializing Uganda and boosting manufacturing will be handled by his government.
He said the main effort will see Ugandan investors who have already done a good job assisted to expand. The other effort will be in the area of providing cheap finance for the manufacturers.
“We are going to give capital to Uganda Development Bank (UDB) to the tune of sh50 billion this financial year,” Museveni said.
Airline been on agenda since June
The president, while inaugurating cabinet earlier in June, stressed that reviving the national airlines would be one of his targets in his new term in office.
“In these five years, Uganda will encourage the setting up of a National Airline. Ugandan travelers are suffering because of, apparently, not having a national airline. A ticket to Nairobi costs between $ 1100-1200 (business class) and $ 500-700 (economy class) depending on the time of booking while a ticket to London costs between $ 2700-3000 (business class) and $1000-1300 (economy class). This is a big shame,” he said earlier.
Museveni added then, that “I did not care much about a national airline. I thought that our brothers in Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa having Airlines would serve all of us. That, however, is apparently not the case.”
“The national airline will also create jobs and career opportunities for our children who train as pilots at Soroti Flying School. The airlines of our brothers and sisters that benefit from Ugandan market should have remembered to treat our children as their own because our purchasing power is supporting those airlines,” he told cabinet earlier.
President MUSEVENI FULL SPEECH – INDEPENDENCE CELEBRATIONS 2016