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    FULL SPEEECH: EAC Is The Fastest Growing Region In Africa – M7

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    PRESIDENT`S SPEECH AT THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE JOINT

    EAC HEADS OF STATE RETREAT ON INFRASTRUCTURE AND

    HEALTH FINANCING AND DEVELOPMENT

     

    22 FEBRUARY, 2018
    SPEKE RESORT MUNYONYO
    KAMPALA, UGANDA

     

    Excellencies Heads of State and Government

     The Secretary General of the EAC and your Secretariat staff

     Government Ministers and Officials

     Distinguished Partners and Invited Guests

     Ladies and Gentlemen

    I welcome you all to this EAC Heads of State Retreat on Infrastructure and Health Financing as part of Development. On behalf of the Government and the people of Uganda, I extend a warm welcome to all of you and invite you to enjoy the hospitality of our Country.

    Colleague Heads of State and invited guests, this Joint Retreat will serve two purposes – first, as the 4thRetreat on Infrastructure Development and Financing where we review progress on the implementation of the priority projects agreed upon in the 3rd Retreat held in November 2014. Secondly, as the 1st Retreat on Health Sector Financing and Development.

    As at our previous Retreats, this is to say that we owe it to ourselves and the future generations to ensure that this region has efficient, interlinked and interoperable infrastructure to enable our People to increase their prosperity through the exchange of goods and services.  The greater the volume of goods and services that the East Africans sell to one another and to others, the greater their wealth is.

    We are, here, also to consider the regional health sector investment priorities in line with our commitments to achieve a robust health coverage and healthy lives for the people of East Africa.

    Excellencies,

    I wish to thank you for taking decisive actions jointly and severally during the intervening period which has enabled the implementation of some of the infrastructure projects prioritized at the previous Retreats. Your commitments as Heads of State in this process provided requisite assurance not only to development partners and investors but also implementing agencies to propel the infrastructure agenda forward. I wish to thank all those partners that are supporting the regional infrastructure development initiatives in different ways.

    Allow me to cite a few notable major ongoing infrastructure developments in the Region: the implementation of the flagship Standard Gauge Railways (SGR) of which the construction of the Mombasa – Nairobi section in the Northern Corridor is complete and operational while the construction of the Dar es Salaam – Morogoro – Mwanza – Dodoma on the Central Corridor is ongoing. Other major undertakings are: construction of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline, the development of Lamu Port – South Sudan – Ethiopia Transport Project corridor, among others.

    Within Uganda, we are getting ready to, first of all, repair and start using the old railway lines to Malaba from Kampala, to Pakwach from Tororo and to Kasese from Kampala.  Even using the old line to Mombasa, is cheaper than using the road.  With the Standard Gauge now in Nairobi, it costs US$5 cents per metric tonne transported on the railway compared to US$ 15 centsper metric tonne transported on the road.  With the completed Standard Gauge Railway the rail transport will cost US$ 8 centsper metric tonne compared to US$ 21 cents per metric tonne on the road.  There is also the use of the Lakes: Victoria (Nalubaale), Kyooga with the Nile, Lake Albert (Mwitanzigye), Lake Edward (Butuumbi – Rutshuru) and the River Kagyera, through Kyaaka in Tanzania to Nshungyeezi in Uganda, a mere 30 miles short of the Rwanda border at Kakitumba.

    However, when we are dealing with the Railway, Electricity and ICT backbone, we must ensure the final price of the utility is competitive because those elements are dangerous cost-pushers.  High electricity, transport and internet costs will not allow us to industrialize.  Therefore, the cost of money and the structure of ownership should never be allowed to interfere with this strategic aim.

    The Region is also moving forward on trade facilitation through the harmonization of Vehicle Load Control and operationalization of the One Stop Border Posts.  We will open yet another crucial boarder post of Busia on Saturday, as planned by our Regional Ministries.

    We have also made good strides on the EAC One Area Network as the implementation of cross-border ICT infrastructure is critical for the attainment of a unified market in communication services in East Africa.   I am gratified to note that Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda have implemented the EAC Roaming Framework, which has considerably reduced on the telecommunication charges for the East African citizens. I urge all the Partner States to embrace this initiative for the benefit of our people.

    The transformation of the EAC Customs Union into the Single Customs Territory was a major step in advancing the integration agenda. The Community has, since January 2014, incrementally rolled our cargo on the Single Customs Territory.  I am happy to report that in December, 2017, all goods were rolled into the Single Customs Territory.  Thus, all goods are entered into the Single Customs Territory once they reach the first point of entry into the Community with taxes being assessed and paid to the destination Partner States.

    I call upon Your Excellencies to continue on the path of connecting our region and internal investment in infrastructure to boost the facilitation of production and productivity.

    While the rest of Africa continue to register slow growth, EAC is the fastest growing region. This is partly due to solving this bottleneck of communication by investing heavily in infrastructure.

    I would like to also request all partner states to focus on to the challenge of doing business in order to realize value for money for the investments we make in infrastructure.

    I wish to mention some of the challenges, like, delays in project delivery caused by procurement challenges. As Heads of State, we agreed on the priority projects across the region but we do not have in place a harmonized approach of procuring for these projects. This is an area that we must address, collectively.

    Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, whereas developed countries anchor their infrastructure development on their strong financial and capital markets, this region lacks such muscle and, hence, miss the opportunity to access sufficient and cheaper capital. Infrastructure bonds issued through vibrant financial markets have become feasible and profitable investment portfolios for  emerging countries in South East Asia.  We need to embrace this approach in our Region as part of our strategy to enable us realize our long-term Infrastructure Development goals.

    Let me inform you that, in the Health Sector, the EAC has witnessed a notable increase in life expectancy from 51 years in 2005 to 61 years in 2016. Despite this progress, huge public health challenges still exist. There is a growing burden of non-communicable diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes and cancers; high prevalence of communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis; maternal, neonatal and nutritional complications; road and other accident related injuries; epidemics such as Ebola, marburg and even resistance to antibiotics.

    In East Africa, we need to learn lessons from the outbreak of Ebola that ravaged West Africa from 2014 to 2016 in which over 11,000 people perished, but also investment, production and travel were severely disrupted.  Such outbreaks overstretch the health systems and resources, threaten trade and slow down the overall socio-economic transformation. We, as a region, need to strengthen the rapid response mechanisms against health security threats.

    With the current array of technologies at our disposal,  there is no reason why we cannot eliminate some of the public health challenges such as Malaria, Tuberculosis, HIV and AIDS; preventable maternal and child deaths. We are also better equipped to deal with non-communicable diseases and epidemics.

    We must, therefore, deliberately refocus our efforts to address these challenges through increasing investment in prevention, human and technological resources to accelerate progress towards universal coverage of essential health to the peoples of East Africa.

    As we commit ourselves as leaders to champion the health agenda, I call upon investors and development partners to take advantage of potential investment opportunities such as the high unmet needs for specialized healthcare of the rapidly growing population; growing middle class and a wide range of potential incentives offered by Partner States.

    Besides, ensuring healthy lives, we expect the health sector to contribute more significantly to the economy through creation of new jobs, proliferation of innovations, expansion of manufacturing of medicines and health technologies and medical tourism.  The sector should be a foreign exchange earner to the region.

    In this regard, we need to learn and apply lessons from emerging economies such as India, whose total healthcare industry revenue is expected to increase from US$ 110 billion in 2016 to US$ 372 billion in 2022 in response to deliberate investments in telemedicine, manufacturing of medicines and health technologies, medical tourism, health workforce training and risk pooling/health insurance, among others. In order to achieve this, we need to plan in a harmonized way.  In Uganda, for instance, we, indeed, have a nascent pharmaceutical industry producing Aids/HIV, Malaria, Hepatitis-B, pharmaceuticals, etc. drugs.  These are, however, still using imported pharmaceutical grade starch and imported pharmaceutical grade sugar.  The pharmaceutical grade starch and sugar are crucial for making tablets and syrups for children’s medicines.  Yet, the starch is from maize and cassava and the pharmaceutical grade sugar is from sugar.  I am told the drugs would be 20% cheaper. Moreover, apart from helping in the pharmaceutical industry, more refined sugar is also needed in the soft drinks industry.  Uganda is squandering US$34 million per year importing refined sugar for the soft drinks, about US$ 20 million for importing the pharmaceutical grade starches not including the other raw materials, US$ 77million for taking patients to India etc.  Africa is incredibly rich but wasteful.

    Excellencies,

    It is my sincere hope that the outcomes of the Roundtable reports which will be presented to the Heads of State will provide avenues and strategies for addressing infrastructure and public health challenges in our region.

    At this juncture, I urge all governments and partners to re-affirm their commitment to strengthen infrastructure and health sectors to accelerate attainment of overall socio-economic transformation for the peoples of East Africa.  I look forward to your fruitful deliberations.

    It is now my singular honor and privilege to declare this EAC Heads of State Retreat on Infrastructure and Health Financing and Development officially open.

     

     Thank You All and Asanteni Sana!

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    MASTERS OF CHAOS! Minister Mao Warns Bobi Wine To Prepare For The Worst From Mpuuga, DP Block Politicians…

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    NUP boss Bobi Wine. Inset L is DP's Norbert Mao and R inset is Matthias Mpuuga

    Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister who also doubles as the Democratic Party President General Norbert Mao has warned National Unity Platform (NUP) President Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu (Bobi Wine) to prepare for the worst from Mathias Mpuuga Nsamba and members of the DP Block.

    Exclusively speaking to theGrapevine, Mao explain that when he saw Mpuuga and his friends who were formally members of Suubi, a political pressure group and DP party crossing to NUP, he envisioned what is happening right now.

    He added that the said people were a problem to DP and when they joined NUP, the DP problem crossed to Bobi Wine.

    Bobi Wine is under attack from members of his party who crossed from DP to NUP. They have even threatened to reveal their next political action next month at Mpuuga’s thanks giving ceremony where Charles Peter Mayiga the Buganda Kingdom premier is expected as the Chief Guest.

    Highly placed sources revealed that Mpuuga and his group are planning to reveal a new political pressure group which will tour the entire country getting views from their supporters concerning their next course of action after disagreeing with Bobi Wine’s leadership.

    George Musisi, one of lawyers for NUP accused Mpuuga’s blue eyed boy Samuel Lubega Mukaku of supporting the NUP faction led by Moses Kibalama.

    Sources allege that Mpuuga’s faction are confident that Court is going to declare Bobi Wine’s leadership at NUP illegal and the party will return into the hands of Kibalama a move they think will give them the opportunity to use NUP as a vehicle in the 2026 general elections.

    Other sources claim that Mpuuga and group are planning to use Buganda Kingdom leadership structures from the village level to mobilize support in Buganda come 2026.

    Mpuuga is confident that it was Buganda structures that helped Bobi Wine to defeat President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and his NRM party in Buganda and without them, Bobi will lose.

    However, Nakaseke South legislator Paulson Lutamaguzi Ssemakula rubbished Mpuuga’s political calculations explaining that Bobi Wine will remain strong whether Buganda’s Mayiga supports him or not.

    He asserts that Bwanika and Mpuuga are working for President Museveni and he has always deployed them whenever election period approaches and help him to divide and disorganize the opposition.

    Ssemakula said that in 2021, when Bobi Wine was planning to work with Dr. Kizza Besigye, Bwanika abused Dr. Besigye and accussed him of working for Museveni to distract Baganda.

    He added that in 2006, Bwanika swore an affidavit in support of Museveni against Dr. Besigye before the Supreme Court and his evidence saved Museveni and stamped his win.

    However, Bwanika also accuses Bobi Wine of working for Museveni to stop the opposition from taking state power.

    The Bobi Wine/Mpuuga misunderstanding deepened when Bobi Wine ordered him to apologise to the nation and return the Shs500m bribe he admittedly received from the parliamentary Commission as a reward for being a good Leader of Opposition in parliament. Mpuuga was also told to resign from the office of the Commissioner of parliament which he declined to do.

    Bobi Wine also suspended Mpuuga from the office the national vice president in charge of Buganda region on top of sending him to the party disciplinary committee.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    Panic Among Ministers, M7 Set To Hold Cabinet Sittings At His Kisozi Farm With Tough Conditions…

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    Ministers have started panicking upon learning that very soon, their boss President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is set to hold cabinet meetings from his Kisozi country home.

    Highly placed State House sources revealed that Museveni wants to test the knowledge of his ministers when it comes to issues of fighting poverty among Ugandans through government programs.

    “The president is tired of hearing his ministers telling people to participate in government programs like Parish Development Modal, Emyooga, the four acre farming modal and others. He now wants to know and challenge them on which other initiatives they have put in place to fight poverty among the communities surrounding them,” a source said.

    The source added that ministers are going to be given enough time to make submissions concerning their own initiatives with evidence showing how the public has benefited from them.

    He added that the president is also going to invite experts on development and those producing farming products with value addition to lecture ministers on how their communities can benefit from them.

    Museveni recently boasted of how he fought poverty among his neighbours in Kisozi.

    The President disclosed that as a way of appreciating his efforts, his neighbors have started giving him money and other products to thank him for the advice he gave them and they are no longer begging him by blocking him to ask for money when he is driving to his farm.

    “In the 2026 presidential campaign, the President doesn’t want Museveni Abeewo, he wants his campaign team to stick to developmental issues which help Ugandans to fight poverty,” a source said.

    The cabinet meetings at Kisozi are also expected to be attended by NRM officials from the party Secretariat, those from the Offices of the National Chairperson in Kyambogo and other top government officials.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    OPINION: Bobi Wine’s NUP At Crossroads As Internal Strife & Looming Split Paves Way For Gen. Museveni To Reclaim Buganda…

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    NUP boss Bobi Wine. Inset is President Museveni. On the left is the writer George Mubiru

    Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu’s personal pursuit of excellence may have inadvertently fueled National Unity Platform (NUP) vanity, creating internal tension.

    The “fearfully high standard” alludes to the challenging expectations one imposes on oneself, potentially resulting in moments of self-loathing when those standards aren’t met. It explores the complex relationship between personal aspirations, the emotional toll they can take and NUP’s aspirations as an institution.

    The young party has no chance of resurrection. Tireless efforts of displacing Hon. Mpuuga has completely buried it with least chances of remaining the chief opposition party ( something Bobi Wine feels comfortable to settle down for) come 2026.

    The storm has erupted through out Buganda and angered the staunch Buganda traditionalists and elite politicians whose mirror is Mpuuga. Bobi wine has  created a small group within NUP that believe in kleptocracy, an egocentric virtue which can not mirror out political, social and economic inclusiveness of all Ugandans.

    Bobi Wine and his small group in NUP that seems to feel satisfied with polluting the masses and hoodwink them in order to exploit, impoverish, repress and lie to make money. This is exhibited in his previous calls on the public to riot and reckless utterances of politics of identity to gain sympathy. He has on several occasions attempted to slash social and economic programs extended to the wanainch from western countries and the global economy. They worship Money and opposition power supremacy.

    When more than three thirds of the current NUP Members of Parliament continue to fume over Bobi wine’s poor administration of the party, it has opened the eyes of majority ugandans that the cardinal intention of NUP is not removing Gen. Museveni from power, but to make money.

    There is continuous accusations and counter accusations with in the party at a prime time NRM is reorganizing itself through structures to massively win the forthcoming polls. For example, Hon Abed Bwanika has on several occasions castigated NUP’s secretary general for calendistinely working for NRM and called upon him to resign. He has also accused NUP top leadership for placing homosexuality on its high agenda, something which is morally unacceptable to Uganda’s customs and culture.

    The internal strife has further been worsened by another persistent battle for the true ownership of the party between Bobi Wine and the Kibalama group. This has recently failed the approval of pro Bobi Wine’s new NUP constitution by the electoral commission.

    Various NUP MPs, have on several occasions come out to condemn their party of extortion and continuous money demands. They have expressed regret of landing into the wrong hands of the NUP leader. Others have fallen out with their party on refusal to implement dirty missions which could lead the country and wanainch into turmoil as revealed by hanji katerega when he recently appeared for an interview.

    What is the implication of the  Mpuuga-Bobi Wine-Kibalama fight?

    1. The young party has split into two groups and this division has left Bobi Wine and his group with out the capacity to bridge it. It should be remembered that the same happened to Busoga, the only sub region Bobi Wine won outside Buganda and currently there and two parallel groups; one led by Moses Bigirwa and another by Andrew Kaluya.
    2. NUP has lost its only remaining strong hold of Buganda. Hon Mpuuga is seen as the leading politician in greater Masaka and therefore perceive the allegations against him as witch hunt by Bobi Wine.
    3. A looming political party or pressure group by the elite politicians and majority NUP members of parliament is on the cards. This will be the last straw in the back of NUP. Some people especially the youth, well knowing that NUP cannot cause the change they desire, will definitely follow the new anticipated wave.
    4. President Museveni and the NRM will gain back it’s support from Buganda because of consistence and good will to the country. People would rather revert to NRM for stability. I prophesize victory for Gen. Museveni and the NRM in Buganda come 2026.

    Gen. Museveni is like a cliff. He can’t betray the mission he accepted from the people of Uganda as a revolutionist and freedom fighter. He stands firm and tames the fury of the water around him and strikes with a win.

    He once said; “All those in NUP are my children. You will see. I’m in there, everywhere and work with my children. Kyagulanyi’s group, I will finish it. You just wait. I work from underground as you’re up there shouting oye! Oye! Oye!”

     

    The writer, George Mubiru, is a researcher, political analyst & Ass. RCC JINJA City.

    Tel. 0754877595

    Email: georgemubiru93@gmail.com

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