Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has expressed his satisfaction with the achievements of the East African Community saying that the recent benefits of the community will enhance development of the region.
While addressing the members of the East African Legislative who are holding the 4th meeting of their second session in Kampala, Museveni said that the community has grown despite challenges.
He said that the challenges, the conflicts and the violence which are caused by ideological mistakes and indiscipline on the part of political actors notwithstanding, the East African economies have grown with Uganda’s economy being at 70 trillion shillings. Museveni said the operationalisation of the non tariff barriers has reduced the number of days that a container of goods takes from Mombasa port to Kampala from 18 to three with only one Weigh Bridge.
He said that the use of national Identity cards which, came into effect on January 1st will also ease the movements of citizens but added that Uganda is still dragging the process because it hasn’t completed its National ID register. Museveni said that the single tourist visa did not come into effect on January 1st 2014 as was earlier planned due to delays but said that it will be operationalized next month. Under the single tourist visa, the tourists are charged 100 US dollars and the issuing country takes 10 dollars while the 90 dollars is shared amongst all the partner countries.
He said that many other projects which include the railway, refinery, electricity and the pipelines are underway to boost development of the region. He added that the community wants to fast track the construction of the railway line because it is the cheapest means of transport adding that, the region will develop faster if the costs of doing business are reduced.
He said that the region will not develop at the anticipated rate when transporting a container from Mombasa to Kampala costs 3700 dollars yet the same container is transported at 1600 from Shangai to Beijing where the distance is almost double. Museveni also said that while a unit of electricity costs 4 cents in china, it still costs 12 cents in Uganda and 13 in Kenya which, he says hinders growth.