President Museveni reiterated his opposition to subsidies on Wednesday, despite calls from some Ugandans to protect them from rising living costs.
The president stated Wednesday during his State of the Nation address at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds that domestic goods and services are now less expensive than they were a year ago.
“Petrol has reduced from Shs6,563 a litre to Shs5,138 now. I cannot subsidise fuel so that people can drive more to nightclubs, it should be at their cost. At least for things like fertilisers, those can be subsidised.
“If the prices are distorted by some non-economic factors like sanctions from the West, it may be logical to look at subsidies,” Museveni said as the West continues to threaten his government with economic sanctions following the signing of the controversial anti-homosexuality Act.
Although the nation has experienced economic shocks, Museveni claims that household businesses have benefited from government investments in agriculture and other wealth-creation initiatives.
“60 percent of households have increased their incomes in the last financial year,” President Museveni claimed during the event boycotted by Opposition members who accused him of “careless spending”, especially on “costly Covid-19 tests,” for anyone to attend his public meetings, such as the State of the Nation address and Budget speech, at the expense of funding development projects.
The president’s speech was delivered against a backdrop of a nation dealing with a sluggish economy and high unemployment rates, which combined have fueled a pervasive sense of hopelessness in many households.
President Museveni claims that Uganda has a thriving economy and workforce that are converting the nation’s economy to a digital one.
“There are many businesses that now use different internet platforms, which is creating employment opportunities for the youth. Our industrialization drive is bearing fruit, with many industries being set up. We have industrial parks that are now functional. 226 factories are now operating under the industrial parks, more are still being constructed and will also soon start,” he said.
Further, the president said that the production of milk, a sector he said he has personal interests in and is directly involved in, increased by 193 percent.
“Hear this, we shouldn’t be discussing these 6 percent with these economies, which are naturally wealthy, in the same way that Ministry of Finance does. I am directly involved in this field, so as long as there is peace in Uganda, I don’t need anyone. In the financial year 2021/22, milk production increased from 2.8 billion litres in the financial year 2020/21 to 5.4 billion litres, according to Mr. Museveni, who has been in power for 37 years, “ he concluded.