By Our Reporter
Entebbe: President Museveni has said government will construct more Airfields across the country to boost tourism.
The president said this while addressing trade representatives, MDA’s & the private sector at the Annual Trade Representative Forum (TRF) at State House Entebbe on Tuesday, organized by the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID).
President Museveni hailed Uganda’s climate saying it is the best and favorable for tourists around the world especially now that Uganda is more peaceful than ever before.
“We used to have problems of lack of peace in the past but that stopped long ago. The only issue is now promotion,” H.E Museveni said.
He added that the government has made it a priority to improve the infrastructure to make it easy for tourists. Setting up airfields in different tourist destinations is top on agenda.
“I have already told the government that we need to build more Airfields near the national parks. This is because some of the rich people don’t have time to come and land at Entebbe and drive 500 miles to Kidepo National Park. It’s only small people who can manage to do that but the rich people want to come in their private jets, land in the national park and then fly out. So, we shall have to build more hard surface airports in Kidepo, Kasese, Kihiihi, Gulu etc.,” the President said.
The Trade Representative Forum is an initiative by the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development PACEID headed by Mr. Odrek Rwabogo, that brings together all trade representatives, allowing them to network, learn and build strategies with Uganda private sector local input.
According to the Chairman of Uganda Tourism Board Mr. Daudi Migereko, Prior to Covid-19, tourism was Uganda’s number one foreign exchange earner fetching the country 1.6 million dollars and that it had been predicted that Uganda would be among the 10 fastest growing fastest destinations for leisure, travel and spending between the year 2020 and 2026.
“We need to appreciate the fact that we have already lost time with everything and we must pursue everything with urgency. We’re fortunate that ever since H.E the president launched our country’s destination brand in January 2022, our tourism has been getting very good ratings to unprecedented levels. We have received awards and endorsements from international media houses,” Mr. Migereko said, calling upon the Ministry of Works to have an emergency program to develop the roads with high tourist demand.
Mr Museveni rallied Ugandans on the many ways of making money especially if one is focused on adding value to the existing raw materials like coffee, Milk, cotton, tea, tobacco, fruits, beef, oil seeds, cocoa, bananas, leather, cassava, sugar, etc.
On minerals, the President said that government has already identified investors who are setting up an integrated steel industry for the inland parts of Africa instead of importing steel from other places.
“I think we now have about 4 or 5 factories coming up to produce steel from our good iron ore, phosphates for fertilizers, cement, oil and gas, lithium (we need to produce electric batteries here for electric cars), copper, gold, tin, potassium etc.,” he added, praising PACEID group for identifying the gaps in export promotion and involving the young people.
“The other day I was in Gulu district and I saw an exhibition by the young people who are engaged in processing all our precious products for the world market and we are ready to support them.
I would really like to advise anybody who wants to work in government to understand this. If you do not understand that Uganda must be business oriented, then resign.” Museveni warned, saying Africa has for long missed out on the global money market with people until recently producing only for home consumption and not for the market.
He said that the now growing population of Uganda which will be 100 million people in the next 30 years, up from the current 43 million is an opportunity for growth.
“Now with the bigger population, competition for economic space increases. You can no longer afford to be laid back because more people now need access to resources. Nobody can compete with us once the people wake up,” President Museveni noted.
The head of state gave an example of milk which until recently was not among the exports.
According to the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID) Mr. Odrek Rwabogo, the meeting focused on strengthening coordination in order to move faster.