FLASHBACK 2017: President Yoweri Museveni addresses people who turned up for the NRM/A 31st anniversary celebrations in Masindi. Photo credit/NBS TV

President Yoweri Museveni has lashed out at government employees who spend most of the time on planes, saying they need to be ‘controlled’.

The President’s remarks made today at the celebrations to mark the 31st anniversary of the National Resistance Movement/Army (NRM/A) government which came to power on January 26, 1986, come in the wake of estimates that Uganda spends over US$400 million on foreign travel for government employees annually.

“Government officials should stop going abroad. What are you always going to do there?”Mr Museveni said, adding: “When I go abroad I suffer a lot. But government officials like traveling. These people should be controlled.”

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In his speech that focused on several facets Mr Museveni thanked Ugandans for the support rendered to the NRM/A and urged them to focus on producing for export.

“This year, we are going to be more of an exporting country than importing,” he said, adding: “Let’s be a producing country, if we are to buy, let’s buy powerful things like airplanes and long range machine-guns.”

Speaking about oil, Mr Museveni noted that government had agreed with the oil prospecting companies on a number of issues among them the refinery and pipeline, and how much oil to be recovered from the ground.

“We’re emphasizing pumping our oil from the ground. These oil companies have been playing games with us but we’ve finally agreed,” he said.

The president also called for the promotion of small-scale manufacturing, saying it would help ‘stop exalting the dollar’.

“We are going to start producing clothes, furniture, shoes, cars and these hair extensions you go to buy in China … so that expenditure rates and exalting the dollar is stopped,” he said.

He also gave an example of furniture local manufacturers, who he said, should be helped.

“What is being done for Nsambya should be done for people at Kubbiri and Kireka. These people  are manufacturers and they must be assisted; those people at Nsambya can make whatever furniture you want. I recently gave them some good machines,” he said at the celebrations in Masindi held under the theme: ‘Uganda’s Success Story Under NRM Is A Shared Victory’.

The ceremony was attended by several high-ranking officials including among others the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, Chief Justice Bart Magunda Katureebe, Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda and the Minister for the Presidency Esther Mbayo.