Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, who is on a 3-day State Visit to Sri Lanka at the invitation of his counterpart President Mahinda Rajapakasa, yesterday told a business meeting in Colombo, capital of Sri Lanka that Uganda needs real investors with money to develop her economic potential.
Addressing the Sri Lanka Export Development Board in Colombo today he said, “We want people with money. We have enough poor people at home.”
President Museveni sought more Sri Lankan investment and expertise to set up more hydro power projects in addition to the three mini hydro power projects operated in Uganda by Sri Lankan investors.
The President who is accompanied by his wife Mrs. Janet Museveni, who is also Minister for Karamoja Affairs, told the meeting that modern business is based on money generating projects in order to benefit both parties adding that, “We want to build our mutual understanding on money. You will make money in Uganda; we shall also make money from your investment if we get real investors.”
Mr. Museveni was earlier treated to a grand and colourful official well-coming ceremony held this morning at the Presidential Secretariat. His motorcade was led by the country’s military police on motorcycles and horses.
The well-coming party also included traditional dancers who lined the main road to the venue waving Ugandan and Sri Lankan flags. In addition, children in white dresses were part of the receiving group. The President also inspected a military parade and a 21-gun salute later rang out as part of the well-coming ceremony to President Museveni.
At the conclusion of the receiving ceremonies, President Museveni met President Mahinda Rajapakasa with whom he discussed bilateral and regional issues. The two countries also signed a number of protocols covering trade, commercial and technical co-operation, tourism and culture as well as political cooperation.
The President briefed the Sri Lankan business meeting that Uganda commands a big economic potential. He explained that the country needs investors in agro-processing such as maize grain milling at a large scale, mineral exploitation, sugar production and infrastructure development. He told the meeting that Uganda has enough market and a conducive environment with constant rainfall.
“In Uganda, investors will access the East African market, the AGOA arrangement to export to the US quota and tax free that also applies to other markets in India, Europe and China. You can easily make money in Uganda because production is at low cost,” he pointed out.
He said that fruits and milk can also enable an investor to earn good money because they are not yet fully exploited.
The meeting was organized by Sri Lanka’s honorary Consul to Uganda Mr. V. Kananathan who assured Sri Lankan investors that Uganda is peaceful and its leadership cares about investors adding that a number of companies had already started businesses in Uganda.
The President of Uganda’s Chamber of Commerce, Ms. Olive Kigongo assured Sri Lankan investors that Ugandans are friendly and can provide skilled labour at reasonable costs.
The President’s delegation to Sri Lanka includes Members of Parliament Hon. Yorokamu Katwiremu for Sheema South and Kyankwanzi women legislator, Hon. Anna Maria Nankabirwa. The Ugandan Private Sector was represented by business mogul Habib Kagimu and lawyer Andrew Kasirye.