President Yoweri Museveni has urged investors to report government officials who seek bribes, saying punitive action will be taken against those found guilty.
“We have launched a campaign against the corrupt. It is easy to root out this evil. The public hates them. All we need are facts. We are discouraging anyone who pays bribes. Don’t deal with crooks,” the President said.
President Museveni made the call yesterday in London, UK, as he addressed leaders of more than 70 British companies at the UK-Uganda Business Forum.
The President is in London on a four-day official visit where he took part in the inaugural UK-Africa Investment Summit. The business forum was organised by the Uganda High Commission, supported by Lord Dolar Popat, the UK Trade Envoy to Uganda.
Cracking the whip
Making a case for Uganda as an ideal investment destination, the President said corruption, especially by government officials, had become a “bottleneck” to development and the whip was being cracked.
Appealing to investors to support the government in stemming the vice, Mr Museveni said the identities of the whistleblowers would be protected if they felt threatened.
“We are suppressing corruption but we need facts to totally eliminate it. Please notify me, let’s lay traps for them. We shall protect your identities, you can speak to your High Commissioner, who will get to me,” he said.
Without divulging details, the President said he had stopped award of contracts to investors thought to have paid bribes to government officials in a project involving a dam and the Kampala-Jinja Expressway.
Addressing the attentive audience, President Museveni detailedly elaborated the investment opportunities available in Uganda, listing openings in agro-processing, manufacturing, minerals, tourism and the services sectors.
The other openings for investors, explained President Museveni, exist in manufacturing, machine-making, services in healthcare, insurance, financial sector, consultancy and others.
The President saluted Asian-Ugandans, most of who were exiled to the UK after Idi Amin expelled them in 1972, for supporting Uganda’s industrialisation, especially in sugar manufacturing.
He challenged the British investors to find proper spectacles to help them see opportunities, just like the Chinese are doing.
“The British tend to make good quality products. They should take the advantage of the natural resources we have and market to set up shop in Uganda.
The President pointed out that Uganda’s economy had been steadily recovering and growing since 1986, with now 4,900 factories setting up base in the country.
Lord Popat thanked President Museveni for meeting the corporate executives, announcing that once Brexit is concluded, 80 per cent of goods from Uganda to the UK would be duty-free.
He requested the President to consider opening a central bank branch in London to facilitate trade.
He also observed that once the revived Uganda Airlines acquired the bigger Airbus aeroplanes, with capacity of 40 tonnes, trade would go up, especially fruits and agriculture products finding their way to British markets.
Present at the forum were Ministers Sam Kutesa (Foreign Affairs), Matia Kasaijja (Finance) and Evelyn Anite (Investment). British High Commissioner Peter West was also present.