Mu­sev­eni rides the wave of high eco­nomic growth

He ex­plained away rob­beries, mur­ders and kid­naps as hav­ing been han­dled

The East African - - NEWS - BY DICTA ASIIMWE Spe­cial Cor­re­spon­dent

Pres­i­dent Yow­eri Mu­sev­eni used the up­ward eco­nomic growth pro­jec­tion of 5.8 per cent to gloss over the many chal­lenges fac­ing the coun­try in his State of the Na­tion ad­dress.

Dur­ing this year’s ad­dress, which took place at the Ser­ena Con­fer­ence Cen­tre, Pres­i­dent Mu­sev­eni, cur­rently in his 33rd year as leader of the coun­try, ex­plained away the all too com­mon rob­beries, mur­ders and kid­naps, as hav­ing been “han­dled.”

While blam­ing other prob­lems on the donor com­mu­nity, par­tic­u­larly the World Bank, In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund, the United Na­tions and the Euro­pean Union.

Over 30 women have been kid­napped and mur­dered in the span of a year and the crimes re­main un­solved.

Su­san Amero, Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment for Amuria district and a mem­ber of the Na­tional Re­sis­tance Move­ment (NRM) said these crimes tar­get­ing women are likely get worse as threat­en­ing let­ters were dropped just a week ago in dif­fer­ent parts of Wak­iso dis­tricts.

An­other group that feels the kid­nap­pings and mur­ders will con­tinue is a group of women ac­tivists led by Stella Nyanzi, a for­mer Mak­erere Univer­sity lec­turer. The ac­tivists have staged protests urg­ing the gov­ern­ment to put a stop to the crimes.

How­ever, Pres­i­dent Mu­sev­eni said the crimes are largely com­mit­ted by small-time thugs and can eas­ily be stopped by com­mu­nity groups.

He said that the ex­cep­tions in the crimes are the mur­ders of Su­san Ma­gara, some Mus­lim lead­ers and for­mer po­lice spokesper­son An­drew Kaweesi. He said the high-pro­file mur­ders have been solved al­though no one has been con­victed.

On poverty, Pres­i­dent Mu­sev­eni said it is be­ing ad­dressed through the es­tab­lish­ment of dif­fer­ent demon­stra­tion farms on his prop­er­ties in dif­fer­ent parts of the coun­try.

He added that his gov­ern­ment has also in­vested in funds for the youth and women. These funds will pro­vide af­ford­able loans for peo­ple to in­vest and pull them­selves out of poverty.

Over the years, Pres­i­dent Mu­sev­eni’s gov­ern­ment has come up with dif­fer­ent money-lend­ing schemes like En­tandikwa, Bona Bag­gawale and now the women and youth funds. How­ever, ac­cord­ing to a re­port re­leased late last year by Uganda Bureau of Statistics, poverty has in­creased to lev­els last seen be­fore 1997.

Pres­i­dent Mu­sev­eni said he has en­gi­neered a bright fu­ture for the coun­try and noth­ing can get in the way of de­vel­op­ment.

“Uganda is un­stop­pable given what we have done in the army, se­cu­rity, ed­u­ca­tion, health, sec­tors and build­ing a na­tional in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nol­ogy back­bone, while also in­vest­ing in in­fra­struc­ture projects,” the pres­i­dent said at the end of his re­marks.

For the 2017/2018 fi­nan­cial year, the pres­i­dent said the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor is pro­jected to grow at 6.2 per cent, thanks to the gov­ern­ment fi­nanc­ing sev­eral power projects. Power gen­er­a­tion ca­pac­ity is now above 1,000 Megawatts. Other sec­tors like ser­vices have also re­cov­ered and in the 2017/2018 fi­nan­cial year they are pro­jected to grow at 7.3 per cent, while con­struc­tion is pro­jected to grow at 12.5 per cent

“This is not sur­pris­ing given the re­spec­tive ef­forts of the gov­ern­ment and the pri­vate sec­tor in the con­struc­tion of roads and hous­ing,” Pres­i­dent Mu­sev­eni said of the growth of the con­struc­tion sec­tor.

He said the eco­nomic re­cov­ery and march to­wards a bright fu­ture is a re­sult of the seeds he sowed with the Cab­i­net and NRM Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment.

Pic­ture: AFP

Uganda’s Pres­i­dent Yow­eri Mu­sev­eni gave the State of the Na­tion ad­dress at the Ser­ena Con­fer­ence Cen­tre.

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