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President Museveni, World Bank Chief discuss emergency response funds, infrastructure development

Wednesday, 11th March 2020

President Yoweri Museveni has recommended that travelers from anywhere in the world should have medical certification from the country of origin as a guarantee to slow the deadly coronavirus spread.

The president was yesterday speaking during a meeting with the World Bank Group Africa Region Vice President Hafez Ghanem and his delegation at State House Entebbe. The meeting was attended by the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Matia Kasaija, that of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Vincent Sempijja, the Finance Permanent Secretary, Keith Muhakanizi, and other line ministriesí technical staff.

The delegation is in Uganda to seek guidance from president Museveni on how to maximally utilize the mobilized resources on urgent responses to emergencies including spread of coronavirus and the locust invasion.

Other matters discussed included areas of social economic infrastructure including roads, education and health sectors.

The President observed that the World Bankís introduction of Structural Adjustment Programs (SAP) and Privatization Policy became a danger and caused further collapse of Uganda's economic growth.

"The Privatization program introduced by the World Bank in the past twenty years led to the sale of national commercial banks causing losses in financial imports to the national economy. On realizing the error, the government stopped the privatization program of other banks and maintained Uganda Development Bank (UDB) with financial support from government worth $100 million US dollars used in services, hotels, tourism to rebuild the national economy", said Museveni.

The President said that Uganda does not believe in borrowing funds for non-monetary generating activities saying that the country's economic growth and development is steadily taking off despite unavoidable hindrances.

"We now have enough electricity. The cost of energy is now reduced. Transport costs will also reduce with anticipated railway construction in addition to opening up of waterways. All this will lead to private sector growth for development", he said

The President further noted that the privatization of local banking institutions led to high interest rates out of loans and caused loss of capital, poor management and rampant corruption.

"If the government can access more funds injected in by the WB into the local Uganda Development Bank, it can be of greater importance for investment leading to faster national economic growth", he said.

Museveni said government has invested heavily in infrastructure development; electricity, good roads, ICT backbone, low cost of money on factories and industries. He urged the WB to support the construction of more good roads, saying in the long run, it will help in funding socio infrastructure sectors of education and health. "Government still needs to put in place institutional housing facilities supported by WB to accommodate education and medical personnel to stay nearer to places of work for improved service delivery to the public", he said.

Mr. Hafez Ghanem said that WB is committed to funding Uganda during the new round of three years' funding cycle for more electricity generation and transmission, ICT to 4G internet, agriculture sector and other development projects.

"The WB will support Uganda on ICT with US$200 million, allocate US$800 million to agriculture sector to boost irrigation systems, US$200 million, will be allocated to stocking of liquid chemical for two years to fight desert locusts", he said.

Minister Vincent Sempijja urged the WB to support the agriculture sector saying their input in irrigation, commercialization and mechanization of agriculture is a crucial element.

The meeting also discussed peace and security matters affecting regional countries including the DRC, Somali, South Sudan and the Republic of Sudan. 

Source: Presidential Press Unit