Officiated at the reading of the 2018/19 Financial Year Budget today at Serena Conference Centre. The Budget, whose theme is "Industrialisation for Job Creation and Shared Prosperity", was presented on my behalf by the Finance Minister, Hon Matia Kasaijja.
It has been a long struggle but Uganda is getting there. We did not have the minimum requirements for sustained growth and transformation but we are getting there.
We have more electricity than we are consuming and surplus is increasing. It is good to suffer from constipation of electricity. I do not agree about those who worry about too much electricity.
As soon as investors hear we have more electricity, they will come here. The struggle now is to make sure this electricity is cheap. Remember investors are not your uncles, that they love you. They come for profit. We must lower cost of doing business.
We are also working on low cost of transport. Roads are largely for passengers but investors are concerned about cargo. The railway and water transport are critical here.
Good enough Uganda already has low cost labour. We shall use Uganda Development Bank and the micro-finance institutions to lower the cost of money.
These measures will make Uganda competitive. Not only shall we attract investors but also create jobs for our children, while increasing our exports.
In this budget, we shall pay attention to commercialisation of agriculture. We must lift the 68% out of subsistence agriculture into moneyed agriculture.
We also must review whether government intervention through NAADs and Operation Wealth Creation should stay as free grants or make it a revolving fund.
To raise production, we are going to encourage more use of fertilizers and irrigation in progressive stages. Agriculture production can go up by 150%, with these two interventions.
The other critical focus is on the unemployed youth, with no property and are just in trading centres. We are going to support more youth groups to run small-scale enterprises like maize mills, leather tanners, fruit processing factories etc.
They will become job creators, own property and help us reduce imports. I have already piloted this in Kampala and it is working well. It partly explains why our expenditure on imports has gone down from $7b to about $5b.
The budget also looks at attracting more Foreign Direct Investments. I can guarantee you with low cost of electricity, money and labour, we shall see factories flock here.
When I started the Uganda Manufacturers Association with Late James Mulwana, they were just 700 members. Today, we have over 4,000 manufacturers and over 8,000 investors in service sector.
On the killing of Hon Ibrahim Abiriga and his brother, I know that many are saddened and scared. I am sad and angry but I am confident that we are going to defeat these pigs.
Jesus in the Book of Matthew 7:6 said, "Thou shalt not put your pearls before pigs." Instead of giving pigs gold, give them earthworms. We have dealt with pigs before. By the end of the day, all those involved in this criminality will be exposed and crushed.
Going forward, I do not want to hear about police bond for suspected murderers. The other thing is bail for suspected killers will not be accepted. Next week, I will address the nation through Parliament on what we are doing to end this criminality.
I thank the nation for listening to me.