By Elite Reporter
Many Ugandans who were eager to listen to President Yoweri Museveni’s 13th National Address on Coronavirus and the lockdown that he announced as a result of the pandemic were disappointed Tuesday after he instead diverted to explaining about the different economies in the world.
Several Ugandans had expected President Museveni to update them about when he plans to lift the COVID-19 Lockdown and the curfew.
However, he instead assured the nation, that being the International Labour Day, it was instead better for him to address matters concering the economy and that he would talk about COVID-19 another day.
He explained that there are two types of economies; one is the economy of survival and the other is the economy of leisure and pleasure.
The President urged Ugandans to forego the economy of pleasure which includes things like tourism and recreation, and to instead concentrate on one of survival, which emphasizes manufacturing of goods in Uganda and discourages importation.
“The onset of #COVID19 has challenged leaders in the whole world. Leaders normally want to lead when things are easy. There has been a lot of panic because of this virus. It has shaken up the whole world. However, I’m not part of that panic and I’m not pessimistic in any way,” Museveni said.
He added that “The big challenge we have, not only the health which we are struggling with but the economy. That’s where workers come in. What the NRM has believed in for a long time; right from the 1960s is that there two types of economies; the Economy of survival and livelihood is not so vulnerable or sensitive. E.g food will be needed whether there’s epidemic or war. This is unlike the pleasure economy like tourism which is very volatile.”
He continued that “Where there is war or a pandemic, there’s need for food, sometimes the need is even more during these times. There is a lot of potential in food production and value addition. Milk is being processed and exported to USA, cassava is processed into tablets.”
“We manufacture sugar but import industrial-pharmaceutical grade sugar, explaining high cost of medicines/tablets. Value-addition here would save us a lot of expenditures. Another opportunity lies in the textiles sector; stop the importation of clothes. We should support import-substitution, export more from Uganda and Africa.”
He also said that “On human need of shelter, we don’t import cement anymore. We make some steel bars ourselves using recycled steel. But this doesn’t meet some standards. We must now make fresh steel, mix it with alloys. Immense opportunities lie here.”
Commenting about several companies that are retrenching workers as a result of the COVID-19 economic recession, Museveni said that “Laying off workers during this crisis is not a good idea especially because things are going to improve. Instead, I would suggest that these workers are sent on leave and recalled when the situation normalizes. I am very optimistic we are going to be stronger after this crisis.”
He also rubbished rumours about the suspected COVID-19 deaths of two people who died this week in Gulu district saying; “There was rumor that a Kenanya driver who died in Lacor Hospital in Gulu was due to Coronavirus. It’s not true. He had other illnesses. We don’t have anyone who has died or coronavirus; not yet.”
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