Kampala: President Museveni has said that Uganda has had slower economic growth than Asia due to policies that repelled foreign investment adding that the government is looking to invest heavily in infrastructure to speed up economic recovery. The president pointed out that the Ugandan economy has bright prospects since aggregate demand, which is fundamental for business, is currently growing faster than supply calling for policies that will promote investment.
"Even when demand, raw materials, infrastructure, entrepreneurship and all other factors of production are present, the wrong policies can disorganize everything," the President said. "Uganda has fallen behind countries like Indonesia and Malaysia due to policy mistakes by governments in the 1960's that stopped the private sector and foreign investment by nationalizing companies," he explained.
The President was speaking at the opening of the three day Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) Africa Regional Conference at the Serena Hotel. The conference has brought together over 350 delegates from over 30 countries under the theme "Africa first! Fostering growth and integration for international expansion."
The President challenged the delegates to look beyond simply transferring money from one point of the world to another and to devise means of increasing trade and investment in order to grow the volumes of money transferred.
He said that the government has since returned most of the previously nationalized companies to the private hands, liberalizing the economy and privatizing government agencies since 1986 reviving the private sector.
He noted that the country makes massive gains from taxes, raw material purchases, when investors set up in the country and use local factors of production compared to the minimal money lost to profit repatriation. The President castigated the local business community for failing to properly identify the numerous business opportunities in the country adding that entrepreneurship and capital are vital for Uganda's economic recovery.
He pointed out that the government is looking to skill Uganda's human resources through the emphasis on the acquisition of technical skills and the teaching of science disciplines.
Emanuel Mutebile, the governor Bank of Uganda (BoU) noted that the East African regional integration is vital for long term economic transformation through strengthening trade and investment. "The Securities markets have a big role to play in giving investors the ability to expand their portfolios. Enhancing our regional revenue flows is essential in strengthening regional integration," he said.
Alain Raes, the SWIFT boss pointed out that the organization is looking to lower costs of international money transfers, localizing money transfer systems and standardizing operations in all member countries in the next three years.