By Muhimbise George
About ten years ago Museveni intensified a hunt for foreign investors. As a country we thought the coming of investors would bring foreign direct investment, create jobs, enhance our skills and boost the economy.
Looking at what is happening, it appears what was a dream has turned out to be a nightmare, the Chinese that Museveni brought to build our country have rather ravaged it.
From destroying wetlands to degrading L.Victoria, from grabbing land to mistreating Ugandans, we have indeed suffered their wrath. The unanswered question remains, what wrong did Ugandans do to Museveni to deserve this or how much did the Chinese pay him to ignore his people’s cries?
Seeing Museveni launch warehouses as factories in the name of creating jobs makes me weep and cry for my country.
Held hostage by mafias that surround him, Museveni is out of touch with reality! The other day, Hon Rebecca Kadaga carried her man friend with a moustache and deceived the President that she had brought an investor who was set to manufacture medicine for Covid-19, if it were not on camera, the country would never have known that Hon. Kadaga duped the President!
These Chinese bribe government officials who convince Museveni to launch their so called factories and because he wants to prove that he is working, he simply accepts.
His presence at opening of these ‘factories’ give these Chinese leverage over Ugandans and in turn they abuse anyone with impunity.
They reach an extent of even being given guns by our corrupt security officials which they use at their pleasure!
A case study is one Chinese called Li Chiong who has a plant recycling polthene bags in Mbalala- Mukono, this man is terrorizing people including grabbing their land.
I recently watched a video clip when he was holding a gun threatening the locals, my heart bled, seeing foreigners enjoy our country at the expense of our tears!
When these Chinese are reported to police, they instead summon police officers to their factories and police men come back smiling with heavy brown envelopes, a game they are good at and the rest is history!
The ordinary Ugandans are left helpless and hopeless; after all the country they call home has been sold to the China. Like charcoal, they burn twice, mistreated in their own country while foreigners are protected and tortured abroad in search of greener pastures when their leaders home are silent!
On top of free land, Chinese are given tax holidays for five-10 years giving them an opportunity to import without paying taxes.
When the tax holidays expire, it is alleged that they register fresh companies and become new investors hence getting fresh tax holidays.
The operations remain the same, but under a freshly registered company, so they keep recycling themselves and continuously operate without paying taxes!
If a Chinese imports five containers of “raw materials”, three of them are finished products which are only packed and rebelled as having been manufactured in Uganda.
This is why traders in Kampala under KACITA have been complaining because they can’t compete with Chinese who acquire loans from China at low interest rates while doing a tax free business.
How does a Chinese come to plant rice in Lweera in Masaka as an investor?
Are we short of Ugandans who can do that?
These factories pay little wages. If a factory employs 500 people, only 50 earn monthly salaries and the rest are paid daily wages as low as 5000 (about 1.4 US dollar). These workers do not pay taxes, they don’t save with National Social Security Fund, have no contracts, and are not protected at workplaces. This coincides with the statistics from UBOS which indicate that 70% of the youths who are employed are in vulnerable employment.
As a result, many have been injured, others killed or sacked at the pleasure of their bosses without due process. The minimum wage law that was recently passed by parliament has not been assented to by the President six months later!
This is a testimony that Gen. Museveni has conspired with foreigners to mistreat his people, remember a poor population is good to manage!
In his state of nation address in June 2020, Museveni said that Uganda had 5200 factories. According to Uganda Bureau of statistics (2020), out of 15m people working, only 9 million are employed while 6 million are in subsistence economy.
Of these 9m working, only 38% (3.4m) are employed in firms. Of these 3.4m who are employed in firms, only 7.9% (268,000) work in the manufacturing sector. This therefore implies that if 268,000 people are employed in the 5200 factories, it means that on average each factory in Uganda employs 50 people. But what kind of a factory would that employ only 50 people in it’s entire value chain?
This confirms my assertion that these investors bring manufactured goods at a tax free price, employ a few Ugandans for packaging these products and bring them to kikuubo to outcompete Ugandan businessmen!
That is not the problem, the problem is that as they ravage our country, our leaders are simply cheering and glorifying them, like a husband who holds a torch to a stranger who is raping his wife!
Like China is known for substandard products on market, so they have become quack investors, by the time we wake up from the slumber Uganda will not only be a Chinese colony but also a Chinese dumping site!
[email protected], 0787836515
The author is a member of Alliance For National Transformation.