By Our Reporter
Mbale: President Museveni has attributed Uganda’s flourishing Industrial sector to the good policy decisions made by his government.
“In many of our tribes we say wisdom is stronger than strength. When we look at these Industrial Parks, we can see the importance of a correct policy. Today we commissioned 16 factories and then we made a groundbreaking for another 9, so that is 25 and you remember this site here was a bush some years ago but now we have a labour force of 2,000 with 36 factories here. All this is because of policy decisions but policy decisions using our resources because the stimulus which brings investors here is the market,” President Museveni expounded.
The President made the remarks today while commissioning 16 factories and groundbreaking for the construction of 9 new ones at Sino Uganda- Mbale Industrial Park in Mbale City.
Currently, the Sino Uganda-Mbale Industrial Park has 36 factories composed of; 20 factories in operation, one factory destroyed by fire, 5 factories under construction and 12 at a stage of assembling plant and machinery.
He also explained that the government of Uganda created a conducive environment that has enabled investors to come and invest in the country. The President also reassured investors of a ready market for their products.
“These investors have spectacles that enable them to detect where there’s money. It’s upon us to provide the conducive environment that enables whoever wants to invest to come. That is our role. With a proper policy, everything does itself, that is why a person you least know about approaches you that they want to set up a textile factory. They do this because they know Ugandans must dress up and they have the required raw materials here needed to produce clothes. Then that’s how government comes in to catalyse the process by providing electricity, peace, roads and other needed infrastructure,” he added.
“Many people don’t know that having market is wealth. We have market for Ugandans of 46 million and on that, we add the East African market of 130 million people as well as the African market of 1.5 billion people. All those people have needs which should be got using money from their pockets.”
The President further thanked the NRM members who understand and support the vision and strategy of the party that has proved to be fruitful. He also commended the friends of Uganda especially the Chinese who have been working on mutual understanding and cooperation with the East African country and Africa since 1949.
“They started working with our elders like Mzee Nyerere, Kwame Nkrumah and others because we are on the same side, we are against imperialism; we are for freedom. In the past we were working together politically in the United Nations and other bodies but now I’m very glad the Chinese government is encouraging the Chinese companies; government and private; to go out and invest in Africa. I thank them so much,” he asserted.
“If you may recall there were some misunderstandings when we permitted Indians to come back to Uganda. We had some less focused people who never wanted them to come back but I insisted that the Indians must be given back their property that were confiscated by Idi Amin government because you cannot annoy the pioneer investor and you think that the new one will trust you.”
The President also condemned some countries which are trying to curtail the market of Ugandan products. He assured the stakeholders that that move will be hard to achieve by the critics because, “Our products are of good quality and at relatively low prices”.
He also assured industrialists that the challenge of electricity will soon be history since the government is currently solving the issue.
“Otherwise, electricity is enough and we are building more dams. We are also going to construct a water channel to deal with the problem of floods that affected us last time. We are also producing more fire brigade machinery for this industrial park and helping the industrial park with the infrastructure.
President Museveni also castigated unpatriotic government bodies like those in the power generation sector who don’t want to support local investors but instead resort to buy machinery from foreign countries.
“Therefore, I have ordered all government bodies to buy all these meters from Uganda starting from 1st September. The Ministry of Energy is here. The cables and the meters must be bought from our factories here and the ones in Kampala. Anybody who does not will have to go and look after his goats at home,” he ordered.
The President also discouraged Ugandans from buying second-hand clothes.
“They are for dead people. When a white person dies, they gather their clothes and send them to Africa. We should stop wearing them. We have people here who produce new clothes but they cannot infiltrate the market because the second-hand clothes are already all-over.”
The Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Hon. Matia Kasaija was happy to note that Uganda is in the process of achieving its Industrialisation goal.
“When you appointed me as Minister of Finance, you told me that I should spearhead Industrialisation and I’m happy to note that although the journey is still long, we have managed to achieve some success,” Hon. Kasaija said.
“Due to my passion for creating jobs, I sometimes spend sleepless nights thinking of how we can create jobs more than the youth whom we are offloading into the labour market. This project is helping us to create jobs for our youth. If we could get more enterprises similar to this, then my worry about having a job for every youth who comes on the job market would be history, Kasaija concluded.”
The Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa lauded the President for spearheading development in Uganda through Industrialisation.
“I want to add my voice as well. You have been the chief sower by sowing the mustard seed. When I look at the infrastructure in Uganda like the roads and electricity; indeed, I see the mustard seed. Like the Bible says that everything has its own time, I think it’s time for harvesting but sowing and harvesting go together especially where the soils are fertile. Uganda is fertile in as far as investment is concerned because you, together with the gallant sons of Uganda; fought for peace and peace is a prerequisite of development. We are here celebrating because you chose to take that route to pacify this country. We are now seeing Industrial parks booming all over the country because we have peace,” Hon. Nankabirwa said.
“Your Excellency, I’m aware of the challenges of electricity here. I assure the residents that we are working hard to solve the problem. We shall have a mobile station to improve the supply of power.”
On her part, the Minister of State for Investment and Privatization, Hon. Evelyn Anite told the audience that when President Museveni took overpower in 1986, he assured Ugandans that his government will cause fundamental change and indeed fulfilled his promise by promoting peace and security as well as development.
“Your Excellency, a country that you inherited with a collapsed economy, you have built it to the extent that currently as Uganda we are talking about manufacturing with 500,000 factories in the country,” she noted.
“The Industrial Park in Mbale has created 2000 jobs for the youth. I want to thank you for being very energetic, very visionary to attract investors to come to Uganda and encouraging Ugandans to join the money economy and add value on our God-given resources.”
The Ambassador of China to Uganda H.E Zhang Lizhong hailed the existing good relationship between China and Uganda. He said China and Uganda are working together to implement the nine programs announced by President Xi Jin Ping of China in the latest China -Africa Summit.
The Chairperson of Sino-Uganda Industrial Park Mbale, Zhang Zhigang praised President Museveni for his unwavering support in realizing the dream come true. He also thanked the leadership of Mbale and all the people of the area for their support.
The colourful event was attended by the Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives Francis Mwebesa, the Minister of State in the same Ministry Hon. David Bahati and the chairperson of NRM Women’s league Ms. Lidya Wanyoto, among others.
The Mbale Industrial Park produces a variety of goods such as glass, textiles, household detergents, mobile phones, smart televisions, baby diapers, clothes, LED bulbs, tubes, electric meters and stockings.