President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has asked employees in factories not to ask for good salaries before the companies they are working for make good profits.
In his New Year message to the country, the President said employees should be patient with their employers and not be highly demanding of better salaries. “We need to harmonize with our people working in the factories. Sometimes, they are impatient for good salaries from the employers. We agree that our factory and other workers should get good salaries if the employers are getting good profits. Profits are influenced by the costs of production,” Museveni said.
He added that Uganda is making strides in manufacturing despite the numerous bottlenecks. Of such bottlenecks, the President listed the high cost of production and the corruption by government officials. “We now have 8,617 Factories in Uganda, employing 829,668 people. Factories are flooding in. The only slowing factor has been the corruption of some parasites that have been asking for bribes to give the entrepreneurs land or licenses,” Museveni said.
Museveni added that his government is working on lowering the cost of production to make Uganda’s products competitive in the domestic and export markets. “These are the costs of electricity, water, transport, the cost of money borrowed from banks… As we lower these costs to rational and realistic levels, we will be able to correctly deal with the issue of the salaries of workers. Otherwise, we are pushing for all-round industrialization, using our raw materials from agriculture; forestry; fisheries; and minerals. The NRM plan has always been to shift people from agriculture to industry and services. Those sectors’ absorption capacity, is much bigger than agriculture,” the President said adding that having too many people in agriculture is a clear sign of underdevelopment. “A tractor can plough 1,200 acres in a season.
According to Museveni, the 40 million acres of Uganda that are arable need 30,000 tractors and their drivers. “Even when you include other activities such as harvesting, you will find that the present huge number of people in agriculture are redundant; therefore, they are part of disguised unemployment. In the coming year, we shall continue our efforts in rationalizing the economy and society of Uganda,” Museveni said.
The president also emphasized the issue of regional integration saying it will help in widening the market for Uganda’s products. He criticized the idea of protectionism saying it affects the common citizens of East Africa. He said Uganda that he leads will never agree to the idea of stopping goods from other East African countries even if it means coming at the expense of local industries. “About a year ago, I had to kill the unholy idea of banning Tanzanian rice…It was because it was cheaper than the Ugandan rice produced by swamp destroyers.
The proposal was that I commit three mistakes or even sins. Sin number one punish Ugandan rice consumers by forcing them to buy expensive rice from Uganda’s inefficient producers and, therefore, empty their pockets. Secondly, kill or disrupt the Tanzanian efficient rice producers instead of helping them to grow. Thirdly, provoke Tanzania to ban our products going into the Tanzanian market and therefore, propel the suicidal practice of protectionism that has crippled many regions in the World,” Museveni said.
He assured the country that they will continue discussing with other EAC Partners to establish a real common market, free of non-tariff barriers which he said hurt the common people of all the countries.
Source: Business Focus