President Yoweri Museveni has advised and encouraged small-scale entrepreneurs in the country to consider working more in textile and shoe making industries because those products have market locally, regionally and internationally.
The President was late this week speaking during celebrations marking milestones and achievements of the Touching Lives Initiative (TLI) group to mark the organization’s launching of its operations.
The occasion took place at the Independence ceremonial grounds in Kololo, Kampala.
“Some of the things that I have seen in the exhibition stalls fall under industrialization. When you consider doing something, you have to see if it has ready market here in Uganda, in East Africa and the whole world,” said Museveni.
“If you make products that have ready market, your business will not fail. You hear that I am a cattle keeper and I will remain so because there is always ready market for my cattle. I would like you to also learn textiles because everybody wears clothes,” he said.
Touching Lives Initiative is a foundation that was birthed by Ms. Fiona Barungi and its purpose is to empower vulnerable women and youth in the slums of the City of Kampala socially and economically so that they are enabled to become role models and agents of change for their families and local communities.
The foundation came up with a project of ‘Raising Women and Youths’ that gives soft loans on very low interest rates to women and youths to begin small businesses.
The President, who was chief guest at the celebrations, emphasized the need for small-scale entrepreneurs to focus on internal distribution of products as it helps to grow the economy.
He reiterated that there was need for import substitution and export promotion in order to further boost Uganda’s economy.
“I would also like you to start tanning the hides from Uganda as opposed to buying expensive leather from other countries. If you reach a level of export promotion where you export quality products, you will have gone far,” he emphasized.
Mr. Museveni contributed Shs.500 million to the foundation and thanked its Executive Director, Ms. Fiona Barungi, for having taken the initiative to personally help Ugandans get out of the poverty cycle. He promised to avail more funds to the foundation if they utilized the money well.
In her remarks, Ms. Fiona Barungi thanked President Museveni for his parental and revolutionary spirit by coming to support and to celebrate with them.
She expressed the hope that the empowered women would become engines of advancement in their society by teaching others how to increase household income and curb poverty.
The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the foundation, Mr Aggrey Kakunda Aggrey, hailed the President for the sound national economic policies that have enabled the foundation to develop its members and for his constant message of encouraging people to increase their household income.
He also informed the President that the foundation’s current economic cadres stand at 1200.