President Museveni and IMF Chief Christine Lagarde at State House Entebbe
President Yoweri Museveni has commended what he referred to as a wonderful collaboration between Uganda and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) since 1987.
The President was speaking at a press conference that he jointly addressed with the visiting IMF Managing Director, Ms. Christine Lagarde shortly after he concluded a meeting with the IMF Managing Director at State House, Entebbe.
"We have had a wonderful collaboration with IMF since 1987. We have managed to control inflation. By controlling inflation, we have succeeded in preserving the people's earnings," he said.
He revealed that IMF has linked Uganda with other friends that have enabled us to develop infrastructure. He observed that by collaborating with IMF, the Government of Uganda has promoted liberalization and cited transport sector example that has developed through the private sector. He added that the Government also succeeded in liberalizing housing, banking and marketing.
The IMF Managing Director, Ms. Christine Lagarde, said that she has had immense privilege and pleasure to visit Uganda and commended the collaboration that Uganda has had with the IMF for the past 30 years. She noted that this collaboration has seen Uganda move from a post conflict situation to that of development. She expressed happiness that Uganda has reached a point of growing particularly if all the bottlenecks are addressed. She observed that the social needs of the country must to be prioritized.
Regarding the issues of gender, Ms. Lagarde said women need to be given freedom, be financed and also be extended an opportunity to participate fully in the development of Uganda. She expressed her strong optimism that Uganda commands a good opportunity for a thriving economy.
Responding to questions from the media, over issues concerning Government funds that are not utilized in line with budgeted programmes, the President warned that the Government will not tolerate people who delay development projects.
"We shall not tolerate people delaying the projects. Those failing to deliver will be ejected," he said.
Talking about markets and prosperity, President Museveni said prosperity is attained when goods are made and sold. He gave the example of the dairy industry in Uganda and observed that the country today produces 2.2 billion litres of milk but consumes only 800 million litres per annum. He said that surplus is sold in the regional market.
On the dry spell that the country has been experiencing lately, President Museveni said the drought conditions have woken us up. He said that the country is about to launch irrigation. He said that 40% of the rain in the country comes from wetlands and the remaining 60% comes from the oceans. He assured the nation that the Government is working to cause a shifting from rain fed agriculture and the utilization of irrigation to ensure sustainable agricultural production.
Ms. Lagarde said that macro- economic stability is the main factor considered by investors. She revealed that there is abundant funding for all projects adding that the IMF would support projects that are well run.
Ms. Lagarde commended success in the regionalization of markets such as the East African Community. She noted that the EAC economic bloc is a crucial factor in attracting investors to the country because they are assured of a big market. She observed that a country like Uganda has got a big potential both in the region and international markets.