President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni delivered his virtual 2023/2024 Budget Speech to Parliament today, emphasizing Uganda’s unstoppable economic growth and urging citizens to prioritize value addition to the country’s raw materials.
During the address, President Museveni revealed that Uganda’s economy is projected to grow 37 times its size in 1986 when the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government assumed power.
“As I told you in the State of the Nation address, our economy will be US Dollars 55.2 billion by the end of the coming Financial Year,” H.E Museveni told MPs and other government officials during the budget reading ceremony held at Kololo Independence Grounds.
The President attributed this impressive growth to the successful execution of three key tasks: minimum economic recovery, expansion of recovered sectors, and diversification beyond the historical reliance on cotton, coffee, copper, tobacco, tourism, and tea.
“By doing this, our economy will jump to USD 550 billion instead of the mere USD 55.2 billion. Therefore, no games, no delays, no corruption, no relenting on PDM and Emyooga, Uganda is unstoppable,” Museveni emphasized, adding that Uganda has been importing leather (hides and skins) from China and India until recently when he set up a leather processing factory in Kawumu.”
President Museveni acknowledged that Uganda’s economy remains reliant on raw materials and stressed the importance of adding value to exports like coffee, cotton, timber, cocoa, fish products, gold, iron ore, copper, vermiculite, phosphates, petrochemicals, maize, bananas, and more.
By embracing value addition, he projected that Uganda’s economy could reach USD 550 billion, resulting in substantial growth and economic resilience. The President cited the establishment of a leather processing factory in Kawumu as an example of value addition, highlighting the country’s potential to meet its own needs instead of relying on imports.
The President urged the nation to leverage its highly literate population, abundant electricity, well-developed road infrastructure, ongoing railway system repairs, and the availability of affordable financing through the Uganda Development Bank (UDB) to focus efforts on adding value to all of Uganda’s products.
In line with import substitution and export promotion, President Museveni called on Ugandans to maximize the Shs52 trillion budget by reducing the importation of goods that can be manufactured locally. He shared that small industries in Uganda have a current import substitution value of USD 3.6 billion, resulting in USD 1.6 billion in industrial product exports, highlighting the economic benefits of local production.
The President also stressed the need for disciplined borrowing and reduced debt burdens, advocating for responsible financial management. He called upon the Uganda Revenue Authority to intensify tax collection efforts to ensure adequate revenue generation for the country’s development.
President Museveni expressed his gratitude to the Ugandan people for their prayers and well-wishes during his recent battle with COVID-19.
“I want to thank all Ugandans who have been praying for me; I have been watching you praying for me at the National Chairman’s Office, Milly Babalanda (Presidency Minister) and Hadija Uzeiye Muzukkulu, thank you for praying, signing on the board here and all the others who have been wishing me good luck. I appreciate it. It’s good to know that I’m not as bad as some people try to make me; there are Ugandans who appreciate,” he said.
Hon. Matia Kasaija, the Minister of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development, reiterated the government’s commitment to transforming Uganda from a raw materials-based economy to a manufacturing and knowledge-based economy. He emphasized that the 2023/2024 Budget, approved by Parliament, focuses on value addition, business growth, and job creation for all Ugandans, particularly the youth and women.
Under the theme “Full Monetization of Uganda’s Economy through Commercial Agriculture, Industrialization, Expanding and Broadening Services, Digital Transformation, and Market Access,” the budget allocates Shs52.7 trillion to support Uganda’s socio-economic transformation.
Hon. Kasaija underscored Uganda’s resilient economic performance, projecting a 5.5% growth rate compared to 4.6% the previous year, with agriculture, services, and industry sectors contributing significantly to the positive trend.
The Minister also emphasized the reduction in inflation and the steady decrease in prices of essential commodities. He highlighted the increase in exports of gold, coffee, fish, sugar, beans, maize, and light manufactured products to regional markets, contributing to Uganda’s merchandise goods exports reaching USD 4.2 billion.
Hon. Kasaija disclosed the government’s aim to create over 2.5 million jobs for Ugandans in the next five years. He emphasized the importance of the Parish Development Model (PDM) in boosting household incomes and micro-enterprises, with Shs. 590.2 billion already disbursed to all 10,459 parishes nationwide. Additionally, the Emyooga initiative will provide direct funding to enterprise groups at the parish and sub-county levels.
Furthermore, the Minister highlighted the upcoming full operationalization of Mulago Super Specialized Hospital and the new Intensive Care Unit at the Uganda Cancer Institute. These facilities will enhance specialized care and reduce medical referrals abroad.
Hon. Kasaija reassured the house that the government is actively working to address the concerns of medical interns and senior house officers, providing Shs. 22.6 billion to clear outstanding arrears for the current financial year.
Rt. Hon. Anita Annet Among, Speaker of Parliament, expressed solidarity with President Museveni and requested continued prayers for his swift recovery.
She urged Ugandans to promote love and unity, discouraging the spread of false and alarming information about the President’s health. The Speaker reaffirmed Parliament’s support and commitment to the nation’s progress.
The Budget Speech was attended by Vice President Major (Rtd) Jessica Alupo Rose Epel, the Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, the National Vice Chairperson of NRM, the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, various cabinet ministers, and other government officials.