Uganda: House to debate State of the Nation Address
Buyanja East County Member of Parliament, Hon. Emely Kugonza has said that the socio-economic transformation championed by President Yoweri Museveni has awakened Ugandans to meaningfully participate in the wealth and job creation initiative.
“More Ugandans are embracing the urgent need to integrate into the money economy. They have made a positive transition from poor and subsistence living to modernity,” said Kugonza.
Kugonza said this while moving a motion to appreciate President Yoweri Museveni for his State of Nation Address to Parliament on Tuesday, 07 June 2022.
Kugonza who presented the motion on Wednesday, 03 August 2022 said that the President’s emphasis on development of mega irrigation schemes of the Mubuku type is aimed at enhancing and stabilising agricultural production.
“Currently, 150 solar powered pumps have been imported. By the end of next year, 687 solar powered pumps will have been imported. Meanwhile, the private sector is building a factory for producing solar powered water pumps and panels. The factory will be ready by the end of the year and it will produce 160,000 pumps per year,” he said.
Kugonza added that the President’s focus on value addition as a link between agriculture and industry is a strategy to ensure that anything agricultural that is not consumed fresh, should be processed industrially so that it is preserved to reach distant markets.
“One kilogram of coffee beans gives us US$1 but if processed, one kilogram fetches US$14. When a kilogram of coffee is roasted in London and ground, it fetches US$30. This hemorrhage must stop,” he said.
He said that the President asserted that government will continue to implement the Parish Development Model whose end result is to tap the production capacity of all the seven million households in agriculture.
“It is a pro-people grassroots oriented planning and initiation of services which people need as opposed to the government using projects to think for the people. We thank the President and Parliament for allocating funds for the implementation of the model for the financial year 2022/2023,” said Kugonza.
Bukuya County MP, Hon. Michael Bukenya who seconded the motion urged Ugandans to support the Parish Development Model saying that it will aid in moving 38 per cent of the poor into the money economy.
He also called on the Minister of Water and Environment to implement Presidential directives on environment degradation arguing that this will cut costs spent on disaster management.
Hon. Sarah Netalisire (NRM, Namisindwa District) said that Ugandans should join the President in the fight against corruption by ensuring proper utilisation of public resources.
She also applauded the President for his emphasis on value addition, a move she said will avoid wastage of farm products during bumper harvests.
“It is in this area that I want to implore the Minister for East African Community (EAC) Affairs to ensure that we tap into the EAC market. We are getting a lot of imports coming into the country and yet some of our products have been rejected or given limited amounts into the EAC market,” she said.
The Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Mathias Mpuuga however, said that the country is facing an imminent risk to national stability caused by massive institutional breakdown and proliferation of presidential directives that are illegally executed by timid civil and public servants.
He said that the approach of individualism has also been extended to the response of government to issues that are threatening national stability.
“The country is faced with escalating prices particularly of fuel and household items. These have led to financial insecurity of almost every household,” Mpuuga said adding that, ’this has contributed to increase in crimes such as theft, armed robbery, murder and illegal roadblocks across the country’.
He said that the Opposition in Parliament will present a statement on the current state of the economy.
“It will articulate plausible interventions that will support citizens in the current economic crisis and avert the imminent risk to national stability,” he said.
He also blamed government for failing to address income inequalities saying that the recently published National Household Survey of 2019/2020 revealed that one in five people live in poverty while persons in absolute poverty have increased from eight million to 8.3 million.
“The haggling for middle income status badge between government and World Bank is a misguided and childish fight. Countries don’t negotiate their way to be classified middle income, rather, they work their way there,” Mpuuga said.
He added that Uganda is far from achieving sustainable development due to excessive levels of economic dependence on external financing.
According to Mpuuga, out of the approved budget of Shs48.1 trillion for the 2022/2023 financial year, domestic and local revenue is projected at only Shs25.7 trillion while the rest amounting to Shs23.4 trillion will be mobilised from borrowing and grants.
“As a means of addressing the escalating levels of borrowing, the Opposition advanced alternatives to the Charter of Fiscal Financial Responsibilty that were adopted by the House. It is therefore, critical that Parliament offers adequate oversight into the implementation of the Charter of Fiscal Financial Responsibility.
To address human rights violations by security forces, Mpuuga called for transformation of the Human Rights Committee into an accountability committee led by the Opposition.
“This will ensure increased scrutiny into the operations of human rights institutions and investigations into the management of human rights cases. This will be pursued through comprehensive amendments to the Rules of Procedure,” he said.
Speaker, Anita Among deferred debate on the motion to Thursday, 04 August 2022.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Parliament of the Republic of Uganda.