Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has described his ministers as selfish people who do not put the interest of the country first.
Addressing investors during the sixth Presidential Investors Roundtable at State House Entebbe, Mr Museveni said although his ministers get free consultancies during such meetings “they only think about themselves instead of implementing projects agreed upon”.
“Many of my ministers are sleeping. They are selfish and only think about themselves,” Mr Museveni said.
The meeting on Thursday, which was attended by both local and foreign investors, focused on six thematic areas of tourism, agriculture and value addition, oil and gas, competitiveness, transport and mineral value addition.
Mr Museveni’s remarks followed a statement by the Agriculture minister Christopher Kibanzanga that the agricultural sector in Uganda is being developed through a “private-led system” and the government can only help with research and extension services.
“Seventy percent of the districts have extension workers but they are not being used by the investors,” Mr Kibanzanga said in response to accusations that his ministry has failed to guide investors on profitable enterprises.
Mr Muhamood Hudda, the Consular General of Bangladesh in Uganda, in a paper on Agriculture and Value Addition, said that the Agriculture ministry had not done enough to brand and market Uganda’s agricultural products globally.
“Uganda needs to put its house in order to compete in the value addition. The Ministry of Agriculture needs to modernise before farmers do,” said Mr Hudda.
Asked at a press conference why he was not firing his ministers for sleeping on the job, Mr Museveni said, “It is not only the ministers that are sleeping, but even other Ugandans.”
The chairman of the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum Elly Karuhanga said investors targeting Uganda’s oil production have failed to budget for their investments in the sector because of uncertainty.
Other issues raised by investors is the slow development in the tourism sector, poaching and early political campaigns which portrays the country as violent.
President Museveni, in power for 33 years, reshuffled his 80-strong Cabinet in 2016 after his re-election for a fifth term. At the time, he dropped 35 ministers and junior ministers, saying he wanted people who could “move fast, are efficient and incorruptible.”
Uganda’s Cabinet is made up of 31 ministers and 49 junior ministers.
The First Lady Janet Museveni was appointed Minister for Education and Sports in 2016. Since 2009, Mrs Museveni served as a deputy minister in the Ministry of Karamoja Affairs before being elevated to full minister in 2011.
-Additional reporting by The EastAfrican.