By Mildred Nambi
President Yoweri Museveni has urged investors to link industrialization to agriculture saying this will improve the forward and backward linkages that will increase farmers’ production and boost economic development.
“Nile Breweries have brought reform to the beer industry. Instead of importing cereals, they are using local produce like maize, sorghum, barley etc. This will improve backward and forward linkages so that farmers can sell to the industry. This means more demand for their produce. Am ready to mobilize these farmers to grow more sorghum,” the President said.
President Yoweri Museveni warned Ugandans against abusing water sources saying God was not ignorant to say let there be rivers, mountains and plains.
The President was yesterday commissioning the new Mbarara Nile Breweries plant worth US$ 90.6million at Ruharo in Mbarara District.
“We have done our part to create a peaceful atmosphere to attract investments. Now you must also do your part. Rivers have been abused for a long time. In the past because there was no development the acute demand for water was not there, now all these industries for beer, milk, beef etc are coming and all need water. Do you want us to import water from abroad? I will call leaders in Ankole and Kigezi region to discuss this water problem,” he said.
The President was responding to a report from the Nile Brweries Managing Director Nick Jenkinson reported that the low levels of water due to environmental abuse in River Rwizi has affected water supply to the facility making the factory to draw its water from National water and sewerage Corporation.
He commended the proprietors of the new brewery for creating employment and promoting exports of beer which are generating foreign exchange for the country. He noted that they have played a leading role in developing Uganda. He said the Shs 185 billion of tax revenue collected from the brewery per year was good revenue for the Government programs.
He urged Nile brewery to sensitize people on the safe limits of beer consumed per day, adding that the logic of a modern brewery was to drink alcohol which is industrially produced and safe.
“I came here to promote beer for my drunkards because they like it. Uganda has been ranked the worst drinkers because they drink unsafe alcohol. Since you have decided to drink, drink alcohol which is safe,” he said.
The Chairman of the Nile Breweries Ltd, Hon. Elly Karuhanga hailed the President for transforming River Rwizi into a resource for revenue generation in the country and for spearheading infrastructure development. He said that President Museveni’s political foresightedness had enabled Uganda to be recognized globally.
The Nile Breweries Managing Director, Mr. Nick Jenkinson revealed that the new plant directly employs 180 people and 32,000 people indirectly. He said supplying raw materials by farmers to the brewery represents a huge opportunity for the farmers and provides them with a guaranteed market and price for their crops.
He called on government to keep excise rates for beer stable to avoid unnecessary shocks to the industry. He urged Ugandans to promote responsible beer consumption by not serving alcohol to underage persons, pregnant women and to avoid drink-driving.