Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | President Yoweri Museveni has hailed the new Uganda-Europe partnership saying it is important for the latter to invest in the country since it is a two way benefit.
He was speaking at the closure of a two day Uganda-Europe Business Forum at Speke Resort Munyonyo in Kampala. In his speech, Museveni said Europe should look at Uganda as an investment destination since it is stable state, which nobody can destabilize.
“In the case of improving Uganda as a business destination, we dealt with security. Uganda is an island of peace because we created a capable indigenous State. We resolved the issue of the State, we had a criminal State before, you remember Idi Amin and how he expelled all Indians…this is reason number one why you should look at Uganda as a business destination,” he said.
He also noted that Uganda dealt with the issue of electricity, which has lowered the cost of doing business and has embarked on development of infrastructure citing the Standard Gauge Railway. “The issue is with the cost of money. These commercial banks are a disaster because they give loans at 27 percent and to be paid in a short time.
Their job is to facilitate the importation of cheap Chinese products because it’s the business people who can afford paying back fast. They are parasites and that’s why I refused to privatize Uganda Development Bank (UDB),” said Museveni.
He comforted the European Union on the cost of labour in the country saying it is not expensive coupled with the availability of market. He noted that if the EU invests in Uganda, it will be assured of the 42 million Ugandan population market, 200 million East Africa Community (EAC) population market as well as the 1.25 billion Africa Continent population market.
“You will also sell to other Continents, even Europe, China and others will be your market. It’s good that Europe has come to see a point of investing in Africa. Your friends the Chinese saw this before and please let’s deal with the uncontroversial issue of business because it is clear let’s leave the issue of homosexuality and others,” he added.
The President also noted that through the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) which is a United States Trade Act, Uganda has 6,500 products if produced to enter US tax free. “You can again look at these products, invest here and export back. There are also other 440 products which were given to by China and they can be invested here and sell back tax free,” he emphasized.
He comforted the European Union that corruption was a soft problem which is curable and that the EU can help him lay traps for culprits. Gideon Badagawa, the Executive Director Private Sector Foundation Uganda-PSFU appealed to Museveni in regards to business legislation, saying that these mostly take an average of three years in parliament.
“Today we are talking about the Coffee Bill, which is in parliament. Coffee is an important export for Uganda but without a law on standards that are enforceable, it is difficult to attract investors since the European market emphasises standards,” he explained. The PSFU board Chairman, Elly Karuhanga said that for the first time Uganda was no longer a recipient since it can now export things like milk, eggs and sugar.