KAMPALA, Dec. 31 (Xinhua) -- Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in his New Year speech has called for the country's rapid industrialization saying it is losing a lot of money to imports.
Museveni in a statement issued by State House on Saturday said the country loses billions of U.S. dollars per year to imports from Asia, Europe, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates.
Most of the money is spent on textiles, cars, leather goods, alcohol among others, according to him.
"This is not only hemorrhage of money but also of jobs. Building up our textile industry, which we have already started on in modest ways, would not only save the 888 million dollars in imports but would also create for us a total of 45,000 jobs from about 25-30 factories," Museveni said.
"Industrialization is, therefore, both an instrument of liberation and a means of achieving prosperity. Using our comparative advantages, we would also export to other countries, thereby earning even more money and creating even more jobs," he added.
He said the conditions now are favorable to fast track the country's industrialization given the country's proper energy and transport infrastructure and a more educated workforce, among others.
He said Uganda is working with neighboring Kenya to fast track the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) to reduce the cost of transport to and from the seaport of Mombasa.
According to experts the construction of the SGR will bring the cost of transport for a 32-metric ton container to Mombasa from 3,500 dollars by road, to 1,650 dollars by railway.
It would also only take one day compared to the present railway which takes 21 days.