Entebbe | RedPepper Digital – President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni last Friday said that he will push for financial support for advocates under the Uganda Law Society (ULS) especially if their legal services aid local production and substitute importation of goods and services that the country can be manufactured locally.
“I have been told 80% of legal work in Uganda is being outsourced and they are earning money from the economy of Uganda. If you push that case of importation substitution and let the work be done by local lawyers, then I could push that you qualify for Uganda Development Bank (UDB), I will push it,” he said.
The president made the remarks at State House Entebbe while meeting the top leadership of Uganda Law society led by President Pheona Nabasa Wall.
The lawyers sought to become more engaged in the development of the country through dialogue and partnerships and to exploit the job opportunities under regional integration.
“We have soft money in UDB for manufacturing and agriculture. It’s true we were not looking at legal workers as important. They are like traders who go to China and bring human hair and sell it here when our women here are equipped with very good hair. The interest rate is 12% and might go to 8% for agriculture and manufacturing. Recently I added tourism that adds blood to us and not taking it from us,” he said.
On the issue of funding for legal aid, the president said government froze money from foreigners who were doing things government didn’t know about.
“This money from our European friends that they wanted to give directly when we have a government here. We are still sorting things with them,” he stated.
The Uganda Law Society is the bar association for lawyers in Uganda which provides professional legal services, resources, support and benefits to its members and engages in activities designed to improve access to justice.
The president commended ULS for what he described as progress on their side because it seems from the beginning the legal service in the country was colonial and neo-colonial. He also said that in the past the government has been looking at lawyers with a funny curiosity.
“I think the economy is helping you understand better. Being 3,00o, you cannot fill in all the narrow spectrum of representing imports. It seems much of your work is to do with criminal issues, a bit of civil like land and then infrastructure. I don’t hear much about advisory services for agriculture, industry and tourism. When Isaac Newton noticed gravity when he saw an apple falling down and not up and realized there was a force. You have also discovered that there is money in agriculture, industry, services like tourism etc. I welcome you. You are waking up,” he said.
Nabasa stressed on the need for lawyers to get down to the ordinary people and offer them services as a dully established statutory organization.
“ULS has 3700 members but 90% of them are in the city. We are trying to spread our lawyers out into regional integration and trying to grow the agriculture, exploit oil and gas sectors. We need lawyers upcountry,” she said.
According to the ULS president, over 1,200 lawyers are released into the market every year.