President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda announced last week that the country is close to finalizing plans to operate a national airline. Speaking at the country’s 56th Independence Day celebration the president explained that the national airline was allowed to close down earlier because it was running at a loss and many Ugandans were not traveling by air.
But things have changed said the president noting that today Ugandans spend in excess of US$420 million annually on air travel. ‘‘Therefore, the government has decided to start a national airline to stop the outflow of this money and to end travel inconveniences to Ugandans. We are now finalizing the modalities,” Museveni said.
Aside from reviving the national airline, the president also revealed the government is putting in place plans to ensure the country achieves its industrialization goals. He underlined the importance of investors and asked officials to avoid delays in dealing with investors. ‘‘The other effort has been in the area of providing cheap finance for the manufacturers. We are going to give capital to Uganda Development Bank (UDB) to the tune of 50 billion shillings ($14.75 million) this financial year and gradually increase this to 500 billion shillings, so they can lend it out to manufacturers.”
He also noted that the purchasing power of Africa was continually rising, hence manufacturers were sure to have access to an integrated market locally across the continent and globally. ‘‘While purchasing power outside Africa is declining or stagnant, the purchasing power in Africa is going up. The purchasing power is one of the most important stimuli for production and growth,” he said.