Ugandan factory workers should not demand better salaries until the companies they work for have started marking good profits, President Yoweri Museveni has said.
However, he added that Uganda is making strides in manufacturing despite the numerous bottlenecks. Of such bottlenecks, the president listed the high cost of production and the corruption by government officials.
In his New Year message to the country, the president said employees should be patient with their employers and not be highly demanding of better salaries.
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Museveni told our news reporters that “we need to harmonize with our people working in the factories. Sometimes, they are impatient for good salaries from their employers. We agree that our factory and other workers should get good salaries if the employers are making good profits. Profits are influenced by the costs of production.”.
“We now have 8,617 factories in Uganda, employing 829,668 people. Factories are flooding in. The only slowing factor has been the corruption of some parasites that have been asking for bribes to give the entrepreneurs land or licenses,” Museveni added.
“These are the costs of electricity, water, transport, and the cost of money borrowed from banks… As we lower these costs to rational and realistic levels, we will be able to correctly deal with the issue of the salaries of workers. Otherwise, we are pushing for all-round industrialization, using our raw materials from agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and minerals. The NRM plan has always been to shift people from agriculture to industry and services. Those sectors’ absorption capacity is much bigger than agriculture,” the president said, adding that having too many people in agriculture is a clear sign of underdevelopment.
According to Museveni, the 40 million acres of land in Uganda that are arable need just 30,000 tractors and their drivers.
“Even when you include other activities such as harvesting, you will find that the present huge number of people in agriculture are redundant; therefore, they are part of disguised unemployment. In the coming year, we shall continue our efforts in rationalizing the economy and society of Uganda,” Museveni said.
In conclusion, Museveni added that his government is working on lowering the cost of production to make Uganda’s products competitive in the domestic and export markets.
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