ENTEBBE – President Yoweri Museveni has commended the Indian community in Uganda for their efforts and support in the restoration of Uganda’s economy.
The President made the remarks at State House Entebbe during a dinner he hosted for the Indian community who were celebrating the Hindu Festival of Lights also known as Diwali.
“I want to express happiness and satisfaction for what the Indian community has done in Uganda. After years of collapse between 1977-1986, when we got rid of the criminal regimes, many of you came back and helped us rebuild Uganda,” he said.
President Museveni noted that despite the many bottlenecks that government had not solved in the past, such as shortage of electricity, the Indian community and the Chinese came out in big force and helped Uganda lay a foundation for her economy.
“Since most of you are business people, I want to let you know that government is doing everything to ensure there is a conducive business environment. For example, we now insist that whatever form of electricity we produce must not exceed eight American cents per unit,” he said.
Apart from reducing the cost of electricity, he added, government is working on reducing the cost of transport.
“The road network is good now, from border to border. The government has invested a lot in this infrastructure. We are now moving to fixing the railway and water transport, he added.
President Museveni said that after addressing the transport and electricity problem, government would address the problem of high cost of money in banks.
“For affordable credit, the government has capitalized Uganda Development Bank. This money should help lower costs and support the manufacturing, agriculture and ICT sectors, Museveni said.
He re assured the Indian Community of governments commitment to wipe out corruption, and that infrastructure to help in this regard was being built.
“We delayed to modernize security infrastructure in urban areas because we concentrated in the rural areas to defeat rebels like the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and cattle rustlers in the north. We have now put in place all available modern gadgets and will soon have robust security in towns like we have in the countryside,” he said.
On the issue of recognizing Indians as a tribe, the President said government would work on it.
“We can use the example of the Nubians. These were soldiers from Egypt, Turkey and South Sudan. They came here and never went back. They are recognized as a tribe in our Constitution, the President added.
Prominent among the Presidents guests was business magnet Sudhir Ruparelia, his son Rajiv among others. Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, State Minister for Housing, Mr. Chris Baryomunsi and of State for Northern Uganda, Ms. Grace Kwiyuucwiny also attended the dinner.
Diwali is India’s ‘Festival of Light’, a time when people come together to celebrate good conquering evil, light conquering dark.
This celebration of new beginnings coincides with the Hindu New Year and the start of the new business year, so there are prayers to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, and Ganesh, the god of wisdom and luck, for a successful year. It’s the biggest event in the Hindu calendar, and Sikhs and Jains celebrate similar festivals at the same time as Hindus celebrate Diwali.
The exact dates of Diwali change each year and are based on the Hindu lunar calendar, but it falls in the autumn, between mid-October and mid-November. The festivities take place over five days, with the festival itself falling on the third day.