National Resistance Movement ‘NRM’ Presidential Candidate Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has called on NRM leaders to support investors so as the country can have more jobs.
Museveni was this afternoon addressing the NRM leaders of East Acholi in Kitgum drawn from the districts of Kitgum, Pader, Agago and Lamwo.
The President commended the people of Acholi for developing the region, recollecting that Kitgum has changed tremendously as new buildings, hotels, tarmack roads, shops and other infrastructure have sprung up since he first visited the District in 1979.
“When I first came to Kitgum in 1979, there was only one small hotel called Hilltop which was government-owned plus some corrugated iron-roofed buildings belonging to Asians. Today I am happy to see a modern Kitgum Town with nice hotels belonging to private individuals, and modern shops built by locals,” Museveni said as he went on to narrate the history of turbulence occasioned by the past regimes including how the NRA/UPDF defeated the LRA and other rebel forces which had destabilised the region for too long.
The President, who peppered his speech with Luo dialect attracting wild cheers from the crowd, said that the NRM embarked on building a strong foundation for the country’s socio-economic transformation by restoring peace, breaking down the walls of sectarianism or identity politics, while emphasizing unity and the right ideology.
“How did the NRM manage to bring stability when there was instability for all these years? We chose to be different from the other groups by doing things differently. For us in NRM we don’t ask what tribe you are or which religion are you, but we mostly consider your usefulness. This is the message you should preach to the people,” Museveni explained, adding: “We haven’t experienced a scenario where a UPDF officer kills another soldier because of tribe or religion as was the case in the previous regimes. Our Army has been well-established on sound ideology, we only shoot in one direction for national interest.”
Museveni, who took time to explain the fundamental role of private investors to the economy including solving the problem of scarcity of essential commodities, jobs and tax revenue, commended the people of Acholi for welcoming and supporting the Atiak Sugar Factory, which is set to transform the economic fortunes of the locals.
“The Atiak Sugar Factory is providing income to families who have been organized into out-growers, each family growing cane on five acres of land, and earning an estimated Shs 24million in 18 months,” he said.
The President assured his listeners that the government’s strategy is now shifting to robustly attracting and supporting rich private investors if the economy is to rapidly grow, citing the big tax-payers in the country including MTN which this year paid Shs 701bn in tax revenue, Airtel Shs 542bn, Bank of Uganda Shs 451bn, Vivi Energy Shs 423bn, Total Uganda Shs 329bn, Nile Breweries Shs 327bn, Uganda Breweries Shs 304bn and Stanbic Bank Shs 164bn.
To drive the point home, he said that taxes from MTN alone could finance the annual budgets of Acholi, Lango and West Nile sub-regions.
The NRM Candidate tomorrow (Wednesday) is in Karamoja sub-region where he will have his first meeting in Moroto District meeting NRM leaders.