Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has admitted that bureaucratic and corruption tendencies in public sector have greatly affected development in the country.
Museveni was Tuesday responding to complaints from residents of Luweero district over the delayed construction of a Pineapple Juice plant in the area, more than six years after he made the pledge.
In February 2008 President Yoweri instructed the Ministry of Agriculture to release one billion shillings to farmers under the Natural Uganda Cooperative Society Limited. However, the ministry in conjunction with Ministry of Finance released only 115 million shillings which was used to buy land on which to build the plant.
Today at his brief tour at African Tropical Organic Fruit and Vegetable Processors and Exporters Limited (ATOPE Ltd) in Kasiiso village in Luweero town council, the farmers asked Museveni to revive the stalled project. Through their area Member of Parliament and Minister for Roads and Transport Abraham Byandala, the farmers asked the President to ask the Ministry of Agriculture to release the remaining funds so that the processing plant can be built.
Fred Nyanzi, secretary of Kikyusa Pineapple Growers Association, says that farmers have been selling pineapples to markets in South Sudan but after the outbreak of the war they have now resorted to local markets. Nyanzi says a big pineapple costs only 1000 shillings and a full Fuso truck of pineapples costs only 2.8 million shillings.
Ali Ndawula, the former MP of Bamunanika County, noted that there are 1050 farmers in Kikyusa Sub County that are stuck with pineapples as result of lack of market.
Joseph Ssebugenyi, a leading pineapple farmer in Luweero, accused Uganda Development Corporation of getting 500 million shillings that was intended for the construction of the processing plant and diverting it to other projects leaving them crying foul. Ssebugenyi also asked President Museveni to intervene and ensure they get their money as he promised them.
In His response, Museveni confirmed the pledge and criticised government workers for hiding in bureaucratic tendencies to frustrate development plans. He explained that government servants are now opportunistic and work only when he is touring the area through watering roads.
President Yoweri Museveni noted that he has been frustrated by the red tape in public sectors and has now resolved to use private sector to steer development of the country.
Earlier on during a launch of Namukekera Rural Industrial Complex in Nakaseke, the president equated government workers to hyenas who wait for quarterly finance release to plan how to embezzle it rather than delivering services to the masses.
According to Luweero agriculture department there are over 1800 acres of pineapples in the district and 98% of the pineapples are sold without value addition.