Budget 2023/2024: President Museveni Preaches Value Addition To Improve Economy

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President Yoweri Museveni has emphasised that all efforts should be made to add value to food and minerals to boost their market price.

The President listed coffee, cotton, timber, cocoa, gold, iron ore, copper, phosphates, maize and fish products as items that can improve the economy through value addition.

“By doing this, the economy will jump to US$550 billion instead of the mere US$55.2 billion projected from exported raw materials. If I process a kilogramme of coffee from bean to powder, I earn US$40 instead of US$2,” Museveni said.

Museveni made the remarks in a virtual speech delivered to Parliament at the reading of the national budget on Thursday, 15 June 2023.

He added that the industrialisation of products like sugar, recycling of steel products, soap manufacturing, beer, beverages and cement among others have an import substitution value of approximately US$3.6 billion and bring export earnings of US$1.6 billion into the country.

“Now that we have an educated work force, enough electricity, good roads and that we are building or repairing the railway system, every effort must be made to add value to all our products,” he said.

Museveni, however, noted that 39 per cent of Ugandan households have not yet transitioned into the money economy, and cited the example of Richard Nyakaana, an upcountry farmer whom he advised Ugandans to emulate.

He said Nyakaana’s farm which sits on 1.25 acres in Rwengaaju Parish, Kabarole District earns him Shs172.8 million annually from rearing cows and poultry, processing animal feeds and producing manure and gas for sale.

“Nyakaana now employs 15 people on his farm. If seven million one-acre farmers created a mere 10 jobs each, we would create 70 million jobs, more than the population of Uganda. Therefore, no games, delays or corruption by leaders and officials on the issue of value addition,” Museveni said.

The President observed that Shs17 trillion of the Shs52 trillion 2023/2024 national budget will go towards paying debt, and said the way forward is to borrow less or not borrow at all.

“In order to do industrialisation, we do not need to use government money. The strategy is to handle the private sector well because it can help us in industrialising our sector,” he added.

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