President Museveni has called for the use of local content in the expansion works of Entebbe Airport. Commissioning the 5-year $200m project yesterday at Entebbe, the president strongly recommended such infrastructure projects to be connected to local inputs as a way of strengthening the national economy.
“If local cement is of good quality – for our economy, he said, it should be purchased for such projects and if a skill is available and is of good quality it should used”.
He termed such an arrangement as vertical integration in the development of the national economy. The President said that the new Entebbe Airport will go a long way in rationalizing all issues concerning air cargo and passengers as well as eliminating dust and grass which is not necessary at the Airport.
Museveni noted that Uganda produces goods and offers services, like tourism, which need exportation. He said that those goods and services should be linked to the numerous infrastructure such as airports, roads, railways, the internet and telecommunications.
“Therefore, what we are seeing here today is one of the crucial elements of infrastructure,” he stressed.
The expansion is being financed by a soft loan from China. Museveni commended the strong partnership that exists between China and Africa in general and Uganda in particular. He said that Uganda and the African people stood with the Chinese in the 1940s to 1950s when the Chinese were struggling for their freedom adding that China is currently appreciating that partnership with Africa by undertaking development projects in Africa.
Quoting the Bible passage that says “whatever a man sows is what he reaps”, the President noted that Uganda worked together with China when it was engaged in the struggle for freedom of their country.
The Vice President of the Chinese firm that is undertaking the project, Mr. Sun Zhiyu, said the expansion of Entebbe International Airport offers yet another opportunity for Uganda and China to deepen further their mutual beneficial cooperation. He noted that the project will uphold corporate social responsibility, boost local employment opportunities, enhance knowledge transfer and contribute to sustained growth of the Ugandan economy.