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Presidential CEO Forum Patron President Museveni Pledges Support to Accelerate Uganda’s Industrial Transition at the 4th Bi-annual Private Sector CEO Retreat
Jinja, Uganda — Thursday 3rd August, 2023
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni officiated at the closure of the two-day 4th Bi-Annual CEO Retreat organized by the Presidential CEO Forum, at the illustrious Kiira Vehicle plant in Jinja. The first of its kind, the Eastern Regional CEO Retreat provided an exclusive platform for Industry Captains and Government Executives to explore the vast potential for transformative growth in the country’s industrial sector
H.E. the President shared that, “I am glad that the business leaders chose a theme on Positioning Uganda as a net source of E-Mobility Solutions in Africa. Countries like South Korea, Japan, etc., do not have the resources that Uganda has, but they are far more prosperous. Although we have been able to achieve some success, the economy has not achieved that qualitative leap we desire on account of uninformed politicians and civil servants delaying and frustrating investors.”
President Museveni further stressed, “I call upon the political class, especially the NRM politicians and the civil servants to get out of this “sleeping”. Our present struggle is for this economy to jump from USD $55bn to $550bn and we can do it using the four dimensions of; the 39% of the homesteads joining the money economy, Value addition, expanding & deepening the services sector and fourthly, the knowledge economy, where you use skills and innovations to produce products.”
The Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Robinah Nabbanja, lauded President Museveni for creating a secure environment in Uganda that has enabled industrialization and e-mobility to prosper. “You cannot talk about industrialization in Sudan now, you cannot talk about industrialization in Ukraine but here we are. Please join me to thank him for this secure environment,” Rt. Hon. Nabbanja stated. “Your Excellency, the government has already implemented 18 out of the 19 key resolutions by the Presidential CEO Forum. To me, this is a plus. I promise that as a government, these key recommendations from this retreat will also be implemented as we did for the last retreats.”
Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for East African Community Affairs, expressed gratitude to the government for establishing the Kiira Vehicle Plant in Jinja. She also thanked the Science, Technology, and Innovation Secretariat team for selecting Jinja City as a pilot city for the mass transportation system in the country. “Here in Jinja, we shall have the power centre for charging electric buses and motorcycles. It will also have a ticketing point. With that, Jinja City will be a model city in Africa for e-mobility. This will also create employment opportunities for our people,” Rt. Hon. Kadaga said.
Mr. Edward Hightower, President and CEO of Lordstown Motors in Detroit-USA, delivered an inspiring keynote address on the e-mobility revolution, highlighting the crucial steps for Africa, especially Uganda, to embrace the new age of Electric Vehicles. Mr. Hightower stressed the need for localizing vehicle parts, especially batteries, to enhance the value of the E-Mobility industry. He paid tribute to President Museveni’s visionary leadership and dedication to fostering collaboration among industry players which in turn has immense potential for the growth of Africa’s e-mobility sector. “By embracing the e-mobility trend, Africa can expect to witness increased demand for goods and services, fostering local manufacturing, generating numerous job opportunities, and ultimately benefiting consumers. Africa’s burgeoning e-mobility sector positions it as the world’s next significant growth market opportunity”, he emphasized.
Hon. Dr. Monica Musenero, Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation, highlighted Uganda’s significant progress in the e-mobility industry, including the production of the first electric vehicle in Africa and the upcoming commissioning of the largest electric bus production plant on the continent—Kiira Vehicle Plant. She expressed gratitude to the government, particularly the President, the Ministry of Finance, and the Prime Minister, for their unwavering support and additional funding that facilitated the remarkable progress in this field.
The Permanent Secretary and Secretary to the Treasury, Mr. Ramathan Ggoobi, also lauded President Museveni for his consistent commitment and resolve in promoting industrialization. “Your Excellency, Industrialization lies at the heart of your vision and guidance you have given us as government to promote it. The target in the next 10 years is 3-fold; to make manufacturing contribute at least a third of the GDP. Currently, it contributes 16 percent. Secondly, it should employ at least 26 percent of Ugandans, currently, it employs 9 percent and thirdly, 50 percent of the exports should be manufactured, currently, its 13 percent,” said Mr. Ggoobi who is also a PCF Board Member. “Industrial upgrading has never happened through market forces, the state must go beyond facilitation to incubate industries and we thank you for guiding us to do exactly that here at Kiira,” he added.
On the other hand, the PCF Chairperson, Ms Barbra Mulwana, revealed that the forum is set up as a platform for CEOs to cooperate directly with government in promoting sound strategies for industrialization, leadership, and governance, hence enhancing competitiveness and emphasizing private sector’s contribution to the country’s development. “I’m confident that the discussions and interactions here will pave the way for positive outcomes and invaluable insights for the Mobility sector as well as the way forward and backward linkages. On behalf of the PCF board, we would like to thank you, Your Excellency, for always having a special place for the private sector. Indeed, you unreservedly promote the private sector in all engagements and even in your most recent engagements in Russia and Serbia you have championed the trade in Africa value-added products,” Ms. Mulwana stressed.
The Vice Chairperson of the PCF Board, Mr. Emmanuel Katongole, commended President Museveni for walking the talk when it comes to promoting the country’s economy and supporting the development of private sector, especially at international fora. “Your Excellency. I was particularly touched by your meeting with President Putin. You spent time talking about this particular place, Kiira Motors on how we can develop our lithium into batteries, on how we can develop our charging system, and how we could develop our coffee beans into a finished product. That is the leadership we have come to appreciate,” Mr. Katongole asserted.
The CEO/Coordinator of PCF, Irene Birungi Mugisha, said, “Your Excellency, thank you for giving the private sector a platform to be in a position to exhibit the potential that they provide to the economic development of this country.” In addition, she disclosed that by utilizing the Regional CEO Retreats framework, greater emphasis would be placed on motivating additional stakeholders to foster investments in industries within Uganda’s strategic regions.
The PCF CEO Retreat was also attended by the Finance Minister, Hon. Matia Kasaija, Trade Minister, Hon. Francis Mwebesa, Works & Transport Minister, Gen. Katumba Wamala, Energy and Mineral Development Minister, Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa, State Minster for Industry, Hon, David Bahati, Members of Parliament, State House Comptroller, Ms. Jane Barekye, the National Enterprise Corporation (NEC) Managing Director, Lt. Gen James Mugira, Uganda Bankers Association President, Sarah Arapta, and Uganda Manufacturers Association Chairman Deo Kayemba, among other dignitaries.
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