Museveni says Auditor General is “sleeping on the job” as Uganda counts losses in raw materials export

Auditor General John Muwanga (photo/File)

President Museveni has lashed out at the office of the Auditor General for failing to audit losses from the raw materials Uganda exports to foreign countries.

The President said this while officiating at the Presidential CEO Forum (PCF)’s two-day 4th Bi-Annual CEO Retreat on Thursday at the Kiira Vehicle plant in Jinja where he reiterated the call on stopping the exportation of raw materials

“When you export unprocessed raw materials, you lose a lot of money. Then you have an Auditor General, why don’t you audit this lost value?” the President said, before wondering why the AG has “never reported it?”

Mr Museveni gave the example of the Presidential Banana Industrial Development Project headed by Dr Florence Muranga which he said was set up to add value to bananas.

“For example, Dr. Muranga, I have been with her for a very long time but when you send her, they give her small amounts of money,” said Museveni, wondering, “Why don’t you give her enough money since you are losing enough money each year in exporting. Why don’t you see that, that is a big loss?” Dr Muranga is famous for turning matooke (banana) into shelf-stable flour in Uganda, not only helping in the fight against hunger but also saving millions of tonnes of the crop from going to waste.

Museveni said Ugandans and foreign investors should instead work towards adding value to the country’s products in order to help the country achieve the much-desired socio-economic transformation agenda.

“When you export unprocessed coffee, you get 2.5 US Dollars per kilogram. That same kilo if you add value to it, you earn about 40 US Dollars and you are losing that every year. And that is no problem to the Auditor General or Committees of Parliament,” said Museveni.

“Why don’t you see this loss and especially when an old man like me keeps on telling you and you have seen what other countries have done? A country like South Korea doesn’t have the resources that Uganda has but they are intelligent. They are mainly using intellectual labour. Therefore, I appeal to everybody concerned to wake up,” he added.

President Museveni also cautioned politicians and civil servants who frustrate investors; willing to develop the country.

He said years back, he wanted to add value to Uganda’s milk but some uninformed group of people frustrated him and the foreign investor and by the end of the day, the businessman gave up on investing in Uganda.

“Many years ago, I had brought somebody from Thailand with Mzee Mulwana. Those days I was struggling with value addition to milk because we had persuaded your people in the cattle corridor to join the money economy by producing milk for sale and they had come up, but the processing capacity was small,” Museveni recalled.

“There was a small processing factory called Uganda Dairy Corporation which was producing only 60,000 litres per day at Bugolobi. This man wanted to come and build a factory and take over the old factory, expand it and make it produce milk but also produce juice and so on. He had a very good plan, but my people went to parliament and started insulting him, so his board stopped him from coming Here,” the President explained.

“He walked out because of being insulted by people who have no value addition to themselves but cannot allow those who can add value to do it. I had to struggle for other years, until I got an Indian who came but we had lost time. He expanded that little factory at Bugolobi from 60,000 to 500,000 liters a day and that is how Uganda was able to have vertical integration in the milk sector. There we moved. We now produce 5.3 billion liters from 200 million liters in 1986 and much of it is processed into liquid milk, pasteurized, ultra-heated, powder milk, butter, and cheese, we are even producing protein from milk which we are selling to the USA. With that factory, Uganda’s reputation went up and now we have many factories.”

The President further called upon the political class especially the NRM supporters and civil servants to help Uganda attain its development goal.

“The civil servants and the confused politicians have sought to delay us but now we are determined, we have had discussions and we are going to move. I want this economy to jump from 55 billion US Dollars where we are now to 500 billion US Dollars and we can do it,” he added.

Running under the theme: “Uganda’s Industrialization Agenda: Positioning Uganda as a net source of E-Mobility Solution in Africa”, the high-level meeting was aimed at highlighting the private sector’s driving role in the country’s development.

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