President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has reassured investors of the government’s commitment to support them so that they help the country steer its socio-economic development agenda.
“The Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives should capture the information of all these people so that we can give them support because they are not very difficult to support,” he said.
The President made the remarks during the Presidential Investors Conference at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds.
The one-of-a-kind investor’s conference enabled President Museveni to meet face-to-face with investors from across Uganda who operate in several sectors such as agriculture and value addition, manufacturing, services, and ICT. The president and the participants discussed pertinent issues aimed at boosting investments in the country.
During the interaction, President Museveni explained that the investment atmosphere in Uganda starts with raw materials.
“The raw materials are in the following areas: Number one is commercial agriculture, where mainly Ugandans produce agricultural products that need processing, and as we talk even today, we have many candidates for processing like coffee, fruits, cereals like maize, cassava, bananas, Irish potatoes, cotton, beef, milk, leather, and so on,” he said.
“Therefore, this is one cluster of opportunities to add value to all those, and there are sectors that are good examples. You take the sector of milk, where I have been involved since the 1960s when I was a student leader mobilizing the people in Ankole to get out of a lack of money because they had land and cows but no money, and that is how we started that campaign. The milk sector started with zero; when we came into government in 1986, we were importing powdered milk for the towns from Denmark, but Uganda now produces 5 billion litres of milk a year, and much of it is being processed.”
The President reaffirmed that investors, especially in the commercial agriculture sector, have the potential to develop, and the government is willing to help them achieve their goal.
“As long as they can prove to you as the Industry Ministry that they have the market where to sell these products, we can plan to support them. And even if we don’t have enough money, we can support them in part because these people are ready to add value.”
President Museveni further directed the Minister of State for Industry, Hon. David Bahati, to get a list of investors, especially in the milk, fruit, and fisheries sectors, so that the government could see a way to support them.
“When we are talking about investment, we are talking about linking the processors and manufacturers with the raw material producers. Now, apart from commercial agriculture and the mining sector, you go to the service sector, like hotels, transport, and healthcare. Those also need a clear channel,” he asserted.
“What I would like to advise is that you shouldn’t underlook what you are doing; take these products, like milk, as cash products. With the milk now, the whole chain is organised. Similarly, if it is like fruits, we are also sure that even with 1 acre, you can get Shs60 million per annum. Therefore, that chain should be completely linked. The factory should be linked with farming so that the factory has enough raw materials and the farmers have enough money.”
President Museveni also disclosed that the government has injected USD 230 million into the Uganda Development Bank (UDB) in one year to help investors who need support.
“The problem is not money; the problem is organization and linkage,” he said.
“Now, once you handle the issue of money, then the other issue is infrastructure. The government is handling that. When we finish the infrastructure, we focus on the market. The Ugandan and East African Community markets are there, as is that of Africa, even outside Africa.”
President Museveni urged the investors to take advantage of the 25 industrial parks across the country to set up factories.
The Presidential Investors Conference is aimed at discussing and finding solutions to the challenges of doing business in Uganda and the region.