By Hajjat Hadijah Uzeiye Namyalo
As we celebrate the 61 Independence, I am grateful for the sounding economy our country has attained under the leadership of HE YK Museveni.
International trade continued to flourish despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Merchandise exports grew by 4.7%, increasing from US$ 4.1 billion in 2019 to US$ 4.3 billion in 2020. Agricultural export values grew by 19% from US$ 1.4 billion in 2018/19 to US$ 1.8 billion in 2019/20. Happily, Uganda’s merchandise trade deficit has significantly narrowed from US$ 2,866 million in 2018/19 to US$ 2,365 million in 2019/20, a reduction of US$ 500 million in one year.
With the wise Leadership of H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, Scientific research and innovation are now transforming Uganda’s industrial base. For instance, the Kiira Automotive Industry will produce 5,000 vehicles yearly, starting with Buses and Trucks, now 78% complete. Together with Luwero Industries, Kiira Motors has developed the Kayoola EVS, a premium zero-emissions City Bus with a range of 300 kilometres, before the need to recharge its batteries.
Two silk processing factories in Sheema and Mukono have acquired State-of-the-Art Silk Yarn processing equipment to produce high-quality silk products. The silk industry is projected to earn Uganda US$100 million annually and create at least 150,000 jobs by 2030. The National Research and Innovation Programme has also supported the development of Makapads – a non-irritating herbal sanitary pad, a low-cost ventilator to assist breathing for patients with respiratory conditions including COVID-19, and a highly efficient Coronavirus Antibody Test Kit, among others.
Annual foreign exchange earnings from tourism increased from US$ 1.35 million in 2015 to US$ 1.6 billion in 2018. Annual tourist arrivals also increased from 1.3 million to 1.5 million during the same period. This results from sustained investments in developing and rehabilitating tourism infrastructure and product diversification. Unfortunately, the outbreak of COVID-19 has caused a massive setback to tourism, as we all know.
Coffee remains the leading agricultural export, earning US$ 497.4 million in the Financial Year 2019/20. Dairy exports fetched US$ 204.5 million, while Tea exports earned US$ 71 million in the Financial Year 2019/20. Fish export earnings increased from US$ 121 million to US$ 227 million over the same period.
Despite such a sounding economy, we are facing the challenge of poverty in the household regardless of several Government interventions. My appeal to the Bazzukulu and Ugandans is to wake up and take the frontline in this battle to kick poverty out of our households and the country. I am confident that with your participation by tapping into the several financing programs put up by the Government, we will be able to start up SMEs and expand our existing businesses.
HE President YK Museveni is continuing to play his role of securing the market for our products and services. Therefore, the duty is to take advantage of the market in and out of the country through the production of quality products and the provision of quality services.
I conclude by congratulating the Bazzukulu and Ugandans upon witnessing the 61 Independence celebration, which is reflected by a strongly sounding economy, peaceful state, United state irrespective of our diversity as Ugandans and improved living standards.
Hajjat Hadijah Uzeiye Namyalo is a
Senior Presidential Advisor on Political Affairs (SPA/PA) and Head of Mobilization at the Office of the NRM National Chairman (ONC).
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