By Mildred Nambi
President Yoweri Museveni has urged Ugandans against fighting factories, saying without them, government cannot collect taxes to build the economy.
“In planning for the country, you meet a lot of challenges. In 1986 the economy was poor. We could not collect enough taxes. We get taxes from companies, factories and rich people, if we don’t have these you have nobody to give you tax. The factories are not properly understood in Uganda. You find people fighting them. In your area here some people were fighting the sugar factory. These factories mean money for you and for government,” he said.
The President said this as he was presiding over the groundbreaking ceremony for the upgrading of the Atiak-Nimule road at Oliya Primary School in Atiak sub-county Amuru district yesterday. He called on the residents in the three districts of Gulu, Amuru, Moyo and Adjumani to use the tarmack road as a catalyst for wealth creation at house hold level to transform their lives.
“You the people of Atiak, prepare yourselves to use the road for producing wealth by rearing pigs, goats, poultry, growing fruits, malakwang and all produce that you can sell to earn money,” he said.
The civil works and supervision services are financed with a concession loan from the government of Japan at US$ 35million and is co-funded by the World Bank together with the Uganda Government. The construction work is being undertaken by China Railway Wuju (Group) corporation firm from China. Supervised by M/S LEA Associates South Asia Pvt Ltd in Association with KOM Consult Ltd. The Project is to be managed by the Uganda National Road Authority.
President Museveni reiterated NRM government’s policy of prioritizing programs like building permanent infrastructure that can sustain development, saying it is important to start with infrastructure development.
“We are not forgetting salaries but lets first work on infrastructure. When you build a road it will take you another 20 years to work on it again. During that time, we can look at salaries among other things,” he said.
The President disclosed that government is to spend Ug.Shs.2.300 billion on roads out of which 900 will be by development partners like Japan and Ug.Shs1.400 billion is from the government’s coffers.
President Museveni who travelled by road for nine hours from his ranch at Kisozi in Gomba district to Atiak in Amuru district , acknowledged the poor state of the road from Kafu to Gulu via corner Kamdini and assured the wanainchi of the region that the road will be worked on.
Commenting on the remarks made by the Minister of State for Water Hon. Betty Bigombe, that it is only the NRM government, out of all the past regimes that has made the dream of having Gulu-Atiak-Nimule road bituminised, President Museveni said those regimes were failures in all programs such as professionalizing the army, universal Primary and Secondary education for all, mass immunization among many other programs. He attributed the failure to the short life of the past governments that kept on collapsing.
“Part of the problem was that those governments were seasonal. They come and disappear. NRM has done many things because it has stayed in power for long with the support of the people and has built resources that have enabled it to implement programs in phases,” he said.
The President explained that with that bit of money the government is now in position to undertake priority programs such as building permanent infrastructure such as roads and electricity as opposed to consumption only.
President Museveni thanked the Government of Japan for her support to Uganda and called the people of Atiak and Amuru district in general to support the project.
The representative of JICA in Uganda Dr.Hirofumi HOSHI re-affirmed his Governments commitment to support Uganda to develop its social and economic sectors as well as its infrastructure.
The Minister of Works and Transport Engineer Abraham Byandala urged the residents against stealing materials and fuel for the project, saying this will lead in the delay of the project.
The ceremony was also attended by the Minister for Disaster Preparedness Hillary Onek, that of State for Water Hon. Betty Bigombe, Members of Parliament and district, religious as well as traditional leaders.