“Our textile industries are dying, because of these imported goods, if you don’t make textiles, computers, what do you then make”
President Yoweri Museveni has asked the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), to develop a regional policy that will discourage the importation of foreign goods and services by the East African Community member states.
Addressing the regional assembly, currently sitting in Kampala, Museveni said all producers of imported goods to the EAC, should establish industries within in different member states, to boost employment opportunities, for the 162 million East Africans.
“It is about time to force foreigners, to develop our part of the world. While in Arusha, I brought a proposal to stop the importation of second hand clothes, which fellow heads of state liked. We should discourage this importation of goods into our countries,” Museveni said.
He noted most of the East African countries, including Uganda, are spending a lot of money on imported goods, which would be used to boost local industries such as textiles, to employ local people.
“Our textile industries are dying, because of these imported goods, if you don’t make textiles, computers, what do you then make” he said.
Giving an example of Ethiopia, where he said the policy is working, Museveni said most European companies had established industries in the country, as required by the policy.
“When you put on that second hand cloth from somebody who died, you are donating money to those outsiders, but also donating five levels of employment,” he added.
Museveni also urged member states, to ensure protection of the environment, whose destruction, he said has led to the current dry spells in Uganda and elsewhere.
“60 percent of our rain comes from the ocean, but 40 percent from the local water bodies such as wetlands. It is because of wetlands, that the West Nile in Uganda gets enough rain, but we have attacked these wetlands,
We grow rice in them and we have put farms in them. We must restore wetlands and not cultivate in them, but rather protect them” Museveni advised.
Museveni also warned against the continued pollution of Lake Victoria by EAC states, which he said has a great impact on its future.
“Lake Victoria is being attacked, from all directions, whenever I fly over Lake Victoria, I see water green, and full of algae, this issue is very serious,” Museveni warned.
He called for a joint effort by all member states, to ensure that the environment is protected, for the good of the community.