President Museveni has said Uganda has already reached the middle income status, though not yet officially declared.
Museveni explained that by time the budget is read next week, the country’s economy will be standing at $ 45.7billion by the exchange rate method and at USD 131.6 billion by the Purchasing Power Parity(PPP) method.
“This means that the GDP per capita is now $1046. You remember, the entrance points for the lower middle-income status, is USD 1036. We have now passed that figure. Congratulations,” Museveni said during the State of the Nation Address.
“You can see that the size of the economy, when compared to the population that is always growing fast, has continued to grow and we have arrived at the boundary point as far as the middle income status is concerned.”
The president however noted that Uganda is yet to officially be declared a middle income status country until a few years .
“However, to be declared a middle-income country, you need to sustain this for two to three consecutive years. I am confident, we shall over perform, in achieving that,” he added.
Museveni said it is something to celebrate that the country’s economy flourished despite the Covid pandemic that brought the entire world to its knees as well as the ever increasing population.
He explained that before the Covid pandemic, Uganda was boasting of having a number of surpluses in the goods its produced, mentioning sugar, maize, milk, chicken, eggs, bananas, cement, steel bars, soap and beers among others, noting that the country struggled to find market for these.
According to Museveni, the country’s future seems to be bright, if developments in the world currently are to go by.
“This global crisis actually presents Uganda with plenty of opportunities. I saw on the news, that Malaysia had banned the export of chicken and that India had banned the export of sugar. President Biden was crying for baby formula, etc. Many of these products are the ones that have been in surplus in Uganda. We just need to deal with a few quality and bio-hazard issues.” The issue of aflatoxins( in maize) , will be dealt with by proper harvest and drying methods as well as the method of embracing biotechnology. The door to our dairy exports will be opened when we, the cattle owners, vaccinate our cattle twice a year. If the government does not have the money to pay for the vaccines, we the farmers can do it.”
Museveni boasted that whereas many panic during times of crises, it is the best time for him to think.
“I am used to problems. When people are panicking, I am never bothered because I have handled bigger problems.”
Agriculture and Parish Dev’t Model
Museveni said by introducing the Parish Development Model which is largely aimed at helping farmers at parish level, Museveni said Uganda will be able to solve the problem of subsistence production.
Making a case for the four acre model, he said there is need to concentrate on coffee, fruits, dairy products, poultry, pigs, fish-farming and food growing on four acres and less.
“The ones with land that is more than four acres, can, in addition, grow sugar-cane, cotton, maize, tobacco, tea, cassava, bananas, ranching, etc., because the country needs these products for industry, food or as inputs into the intensive agriculture, “Museveni said.
He emphasized intensive agriculture including poultry rearing, piggery, fish farming and dairy farming of the zero grazing type which he said earns much money from a small area.
The president was on Tuesday largely speaking to NRM Members of Parliament and other government officials after opposition legislators had decided to boycott the State of the Nation Address.
At Kololo, the seats for the opposition legislators remained largely empty as the president addressed the nation.
These accused Museveni of failure to get a lasting solution for the problem of ever increasing commodity prices, saying it made no sense going to Kololo to listen to his “rhetoric”.
According to the Leader of Opposition, Mathias Mpuuga, the president has failed to provide a solution to the current economic crisis in the country.
“We are aware that even today, he’s going to say that he has nothing to do to get the country out of the depression,”Mpuuga said earlier.
Commenting about the rising commodity prices, the president said government did a careful analysis of the situation and decided to avoid tax waivers as well as subsidies.
“I have contacted some of the actors. I am glad H.E. Biden is going to Saudi Arabia, to meet the Crown Prince to get OPEC to pump more petroleum out of the ground. That would definitely help. Also, the Chairperson of the AU,H.E. Mack Sall, met H.E. Putin in Sochi, Russia to ask him to assist in getting the wheat of Ukraine out of the Ports of Odessa and he has also talked to the Europeans to stop sanctioning wheat from Russia and fertilizers because Africa needs them. This is one of the correct ways,” Museveni said.
“This is one of the correct ways. We shall use diplomacy to solve problems caused by these people.”
He added that the other solution is ensuring Uganda gets her own substitutes for bread and wheat including cassava and banana flour.
“The other one is to get our own substitutes – cassava and banana flour for bread and our own sunflower, soya beans oil as we wait for our more quantities of palm oil from Sango Bay, Mayuge, Buvuma, Maruzi and Bundibugyo.”