Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | President Yoweri Museveni has called upon the Pprivate sector to support the Parish Development Model.
Museveni made the remarks while speaking on Thursday during the second Bi-annual Presidential Chief Executive Officers Forum (PCF) which he hosted at his country home in Irenga, Ntungamo district. The meeting was held under the theme, ‘Positioning the Private Sector for New Markets and Business Opportunities for Sustainability and Thriving Economies in the Region and the African Continent.’
“The campaign which is on now, the Parish Development Model is aimed at bringing the 68% of Ugandans who are by-standers in development, to get involved in economic transformation. What is coming is an earth shaker. Before, leaders did not know how to lead. They thought that leading is carrying the burden of their people. Leading is showing the way so that they follow. Those with small acreages of land will select enterprises that have big returns like coffee, fruits, poultry, piggery, etc. With intensive agriculture, people can use their small land to get out of poverty,” the President said.
Museveni who was accompanied by the first lady who is also the Minister of Education and Sports, Janet Museveni said the aim is to convert Ugandans who are bystanders in the economic transformation struggle into active participants.
“We want them to do so with a ‘calculation’ for increased production. The private sector will be overwhelmed. In Bushenyi, Dr. Muranga used to get 5.3 tons of bananas but now gets over 53 tons, over ten times because of fertilizer and irrigation. Before you were dealing with limited mobilization of the masses, but with this grassroots mobilization, it will be massive,” he said.
Museveni said the private sector is the easiest way to develop the economy because companies do the work of government cheaply. “For instance, the government is not the one looking after our home here. We do it ourselves and in the process, we produce bananas and milk for you in Kampala to consume happily. That’s why we are encouraging the local people like the father of Barbara Mulwana, we also brought back our Indians the ones who had been chased by Idi Amin. If you want to have some government companies you can have them but they shouldn’t interfere with the private sector,” he said.
Among other things, the President pledged to promote the protection of local products from Chinese and Indian subsidized products, provision of cheaper power for production, cheap financing for the private sector to borrow, and support for Kampala Capital City Traders Association-KACITA.
“We are committed to that. I was not willing to finance KACITA but they are now pledging to do more export of our products than imports. If KACITA can sell internally and export we can support them,” he said.
Museveni and the CEOs discussed in-depth the issue of exploiting the vast trade potential with DR Congo including the provision of an export credit guarantee, expanding power to DR Congo, funding the Uganda Air cargo, construction of toll roads into DR Congo, and empowering the National Broadcaster UBC to broadcast across the border.
They also discussed the issue of the appointment of a commercial attaché who can speak various languages to Uganda’s foreign missions, lifting the ban on Facebook to allow online business since URA has now put in place mechanisms to tax online businesses and provision of cheap power for production.
The Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja briefed Museveni on the country-wide awareness about the PDM and said people are generally excited and anxious to finally undertake in enterprises that will put money in their pockets.
The Minister of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development, Matia Kasaija informed the CEOs that the government is financing local actors through Uganda Development Bank and therefore they should visit there when the need arises.
Barbara Mulwana, the Chairperson of PCF on behalf of the CEOs said that their mission is to promote, harness, and popularize the private sector involvement in providing a platform that advocates for appropriate legislation, practices, and policies that eliminate bottlenecks to economic development.
Mulwana noted the forum proposes to highlight the need for strategic positioning of Uganda’s private sector for new markets and business opportunities that can foster economic transformation. She said their focus is on exploiting new market opportunities, oil and gas sub-sectors, private equity to speak to capital availability, and the African continental free trade area.
Emmanuel Katongole, the Vice Chairman of PCF assured Museveni of their solid support for the economic development of the country.
“Entrepreneurship is developing and unleashing the power of enterprise to unite our country. We can develop without aid. Aid should be good if it ends future need of aid,” he said.
Museveni launched PCF in 2020, noting that the Forum will help the government identify bottlenecks to business and economic growth in the country.
The meeting was also attended by the Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Mwebesa Francis, Keith Muhakanizi, Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Geraldine Ssali, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Ramathan Ggoobi, Permanent Secretary for Finance and Dr. Ruth Biyinzika of Private Sector Foundation Uganda among others.