State of the Nation Address: What to expect from Museveni’s speech ahead of budget reading

President Museveni is set to address the nation today, Thursday, June 6 at the Kololo Independence Grounds.

Kampala, (UG):- President Museveni is today, Thursday, June 6, 2024, set to deliver the State of the Nation address to Parliament in accordance with Article 101 (1) of Uganda’s Constitution which states that the President shall, at the beginning of each session of Parliament, deliver an address on the state of the nation.

The long-awaited address, scheduled to take place at the Kololo Ceremonial Grounds in Kampala this afternoon comes a week before the National Budget speech on June 13, 2024.

On May 16, 2024, Parliament approved the national budget for the Financial Year 2024/2025, passing the Appropriations Bill 2024. The approved budget amounts to UGX 72.136 trillion, a significant increase of UGX 14.050 trillion from the initial proposal of UGX 58.34 trillion.

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Today’s State of the Nation address is expected to provide an overview of the government’s achievements since June 7, 2023, the time of the last address and outline plans for the next twelve months.

The President is also expected to give a forecast for the next financial year, beginning July, and peek into his current tenure until its close in May 2026.

Last year’s address recap

In last year’s address, President Museveni emphasized the government’s efforts towards economic growth and stability. Notably, stating that Uganda’s economy expanded from USD 1.5 billion in 1986 to USD 49.4 billion in 2023.

He stated that Economic growth for 2023/24 was projected at 5.5%, with further growth anticipated in the coming years due to factors such as increased manufacturing, the Parish Development Model (PDM), support for SMEs, and growth in the oil, gas, and regional trade sectors. Uganda’s GDP is projected to reach UGX 207.22 trillion (USD 55.17 billion) by the end of FY 2023/24.

He said Inflation has been controlled, with significant price reductions in domestic goods and services. The government resisted price controls and subsidies, opting instead for market-driven price determination. However, subsidies for fertilizers were being considered due to non-economic factors such as sanctions related to the Russia-Ukraine war.

Mr Museveni also revealed that International trade remained robust, with export revenues for goods and services amounting to USD 6.0484 billion in 2022. The government’s efforts in promoting intra-Africa trade were also evident, with 86% of exports going to Africa, including 57% to the East African Community (EAC) countries.

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) was also on the rise, with inflows reaching USD 945 million in the first half of FY 2022/23, driven by investments in the oil, gas, and mineral sectors. 60% of households reported increased incomes in 2022. The Parish Development Model aims to further enhance this by transforming subsistence agriculture into commercial farming, targeting 39% of households currently in the non-monetary economy.

Industrialization, he said, was yielding results, with several industrial parks operational and many factories under construction, projected to create 2.5 million jobs in the next five years.

The agriculture sector continued to grow, contributing 24.1% of GDP. Government interventions led to increased production and export values in the coffee, dairy, beef, and fish sectors.

According to the president, as of 2023, Tourism employed 1.55 million people and contributed 6.7% to GDP. In 2022, national parks had 367,869 visitors, surpassing pre-COVID-19 levels, with 63% being domestic tourists. International arrivals increased to 815,000 in 2022, up from 473,000 in 2020, but still below the 1.543 million in 2019. Full recovery is expected by 2025. L

Uganda’s road network totalled 21,020 km, with 29.6% paved. Over half of the paved roads were constructed in the last 15 years. He mentioned the upgrade and rehabilitation of several national roads. The Standard Gauge Railway construction while existing meter-gauge railways rehabilitation.

President Museveni commented on Uganda’s new anti-homosexuality law, which he enacted and signed. Museveni reiterated his long-standing views on homosexuality, questioning its origins and concluding, based on discussions with local and African doctors, that homosexuality stems from psychological disorientation rather than genetic or hormonal factors.

He further stated that criminalizing individuals solely for their psychological disorientation is neither logical nor fair. Instead, he emphasized the need to assist such individuals in overcoming their psychological issues.

He clarified that the law does not criminalize homosexuals for merely being homosexual if they keep it to themselves. The law targets those who actively recruit others into homosexuality through misinformation or bribery, which can result in up to 20 years in prison. Furthermore, acts of rape by homosexuals can lead to a death sentence.

He highlighted three key points of the law: being homosexual is considered a personal problem; promoting homosexuality is a criminal offence; and rape by homosexuals is a capital offense. Museveni assured that homosexuals seeking confidential assistance from doctors or priests would not be prosecuted under this law.

He also acknowledged potential illogicalities in the law, such as requiring employers or landlords to identify homosexuals, and mentioned plans to amend these aspects while maintaining the law’s core substance.

The President urged doctors and health providers to assist patients while keeping these points in mind and announced a dedicated broadcast on the issue towards the end of June.

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