|Money crisis won�t hit nation - Museveni|
|Thursday, 9th October, 2008|| |
YESTERDAY Uganda commemorated its 46th Independence Anniversary since the British handed over control in 1962. Here is President Yoweri Museveni address to the nation on the day.
Uganda�s gap in infrastructure has now reached a level that will constrain the economic growth we have experienced so far; yet we need to enhance the pace of economic growth and development. In each of the infrastructure sub-sectors, development of projects needs to be enhanced to meet immediate and future demands.
In the energy sector, I am pleased to inform you that the Bujagali hydro-power project is proceeding ahead of schedule and will be due for commissioning in early 2011. I have instructed the Minister for Energy and Mineral Development to expedite the construction of the Karuma hydro-power dam with a capacity of at least 400 MW.
I have heard from some sources that there will be too much energy in Uganda if the energy of Karuma, together with that from Bujagali and other planned hydro investments, is available. This is certainly a wrong and myopic view of the development that we need to undertake to transform the Ugandan economy and the livelihoods of Ugandans.
Currently, less than 10% of Ugandan households use electricity, not only reflecting a poor state of the livelihoods of many Ugandan households, but also the danger to the environment through the use of biomass (firewood) to satisfy household energy needs. Further still, greater energy demand will arise from the transformation of many Ugandan households into economic-generating units in order to increase their incomes in the most productive way.
From a strategic perspective, as an example, I am also aware that in order to augment much needed cement production in Uganda and the East African region, the large limestone deposit in Karamoja, for instance, will require more electricity.
Many strategic ventures will require electricity. Therefore, we must not relent on expediting the construction of these hydro-power dams in the immediate future.
My policy, to which I am unalterably committed, is to make sure that electricity supply is ahead of demand rather than supply chasing demand. I really do not want anybody, players here in Uganda or friends, to come and tell me not to build more dams. We are going to build these dams. We made a mistake once, caused by the 6th Parliament and some of our friends; that mistake will never happen again. With this drive for electricity, this economy will take off in a very short time.
We have educated all our children. We have 9 million children in primary and secondary schools alone. One third of the population in Uganda is now in school and at university. Where will they work?
That is why we need electricity quickly and improved transport, roads and railway, so that the cost of doing business in Uganda goes down.
With respect to roads, the NRM Government has ensured that the rehabilitation of the national road network is done over the last 20 years. Today a substantial increase in national modern paved road network is required in order to ensure the take-off of the Ugandan economy and its people.
The NRM Government has initially provided $200m annually, to deliberately increase the road infrastructure stock, specifically commencing with the vital Northern Transport Corridor that links the major areas of national economic activity through modern and efficient transport facilities. These additional resources will be used to build an additional 700-800 km of roads as part of the National Transport Corridor, while existing resources will be used for on-going rehabilitation, resealing and maintenance.
As part of the focus on development of the Northern Transport Corridor and critical National Transportation Infrastructure, the following modern road development will commence in 2009/10, utilising a special fund at the Bank of Uganda (our savings):
Construction of the dual carriage express-ways for the following routes:
While modern roads are being designed and constructed, it is imperative that we augment the stock of other transport infrastructure, including rail, water and air transportation. I am directing the Minister of Finance to make additional allocations starting in 2009/10 to develop such infrastructure.
Design and construction of the following projects must, therefore, commence utilising the special fund resources:
Technical and Financial Feasibility for the following railway projects:
Design for ferry services on Lake Kyoga on:
Design for expansion of the following airports:
Finally, I am aware that all these projects will require substantial financial resources that the Government budget alone cannot finance and also require greater capacity to ensure timely completion of projects.
I am, therefore, directing the Ministers of Finance and Transport and Works to develop implementation modalities such as public/private partnerships that will deliver these projects quickly, more efficiently and within costs.
I am also aware that there are private financial resources that can be utilised to support the infrastructural developments the NRM Government intends to undertake. I am directing the Minister of Finance to expedite the necessary policy and legal framework for Parliament�s consideration of these modalities.
The NRM Government places utmost priority on the development human capital. The provision of universal health care and education, together with safe water and sanitation countrywide are, therefore, paramount.
The NRM Government has pioneered the universalisation of education at both primary and secondary levels in recent times in Sub-Saharan Africa. Consequently, all Ugandan children of school-going age now have an opportunity to receive 11 years of free education at primary and secondary levels. The introduction of the Universal Secondary Education (USE) programme in 2007 underlines the commitment of the NRM Government to ensure equitable access to secondary education for all students who have successfully passed the primary leaving examination.
Universal Secondary Education marks a significant transition from elite to a mass system of secondary education, just as the NRM Government did with UPE at the primary level. There are now eight million children at primary school level and over 1 million students at secondary school in the 2007 school year, compared to only 2.6 million in primary in 1995 and 728,000 in 2006 before these programmes began.
With the successful commencement of Universal Primary and Secondary Education, the NRM Government will now focus of improving quality, efficiency and learning outcomes for our children. The USE programme implementers must now focus on reducing large class sizes through the construction of more classrooms, recruiting and training more teachers and providing adequately for textbooks, science equipment and supplies in order to improve the quality of secondary education.
The reform of secondary education must also ensure that there is efficiency in the use of public resources. I am directing the Minister of Education to ensure that unit cost of construction of classrooms and other learning places are reduced to reasonable levels to allow more units to be built with the level of resources.
In the absence of reduced unit costs, I will employ other means to ensure value for money in school construction. I also support the idea of applying double shift policy in USE schools to allow increased use of the same facilities by more students and teachers. This must also be done in tandem with the reform of the curriculum to provide for fewer core subjects to be taught and reduced time for a shift at school.
We now have 62 both Government and private technical schools in Uganda. We intend to increase them to about 90, one per district. These technical schools should teach the traditional technical subjects: woodwork, metal work, ceramics, brick-laying, electrical studies, motor-mechanics, as well as new subjects such as food technology, industrial chemistry and ICT.
As far as security is concerned, the metamorphosing of the Uganda People�s Defence Forces into a bi-service force has provided Ugandans with a powerful hammer they can use to deal with terrorists and other traitors.
We have dealt with cattle rustlers in Karamoja. The ceremony which was going on here of the change of flags was not a mere show. It was symbolic. It demonstrated the change from the guerrilla army that moved on foot to the modern one. Our level of professionalisation now enables us to reach our enemy, anywhere, in a very short time and deal with him. Kony is hiding in Garamba. You should not think he is on holidays. If he tries to come to Uganda, we shall deal with him expeditiously.
Other urban-based terrorists may try to infiltrate in the towns. We shall, however, be able to deal with them using our vast security network we used during CHOGM and on many other occasions.
All the families in the rural areas should join the Prosperity for All programme to get rid of poverty. National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) secretariat, the Uganda Investment Authority, the ministries of industry and finance should ensure that all agricultural products of Uganda that are not eaten fresh are processed. This will make our export earnings go up by a factor of ten.
Next year the economy will be reinforced by the processing of petroleum and gas in the Mwitanzigye area of Lake Albert. With increased electricity supply and more minerals that the recent aero-magnetic surveys have indicated, Uganda�s growth rates will be in double-digits.
I conclude, therefore, by first of all, congratulating all of you for celebrating the 46th anniversary of Uganda�s Independence. Secondly, I exhort you not to allow yourself to be sick from avoidable sicknesses such as AIDS, so that you enjoy the coming prosperity of Uganda. �Mutatsiga ebyaganika�, as the Banyankole say, �Do not go away when good things are beginning to happen�.
I thank you.
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