President Museveni talks to engineers accompanied by ministers Muloni and Kyambadde.
Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has appointed a senior advisor on investments to handle all investor complaints with a hotline for any bribery reports that hinder investments and scare away investors.
The President said he is also considering taking a lawyer who confused documents for a stakeholder from the Industrial Development Corporation in South Africa and delayed project implementation to the law council saying he acted unprofessionally.
The President made the remarks Thursday when he paid a visit to the Hilton Hotel on Nakasero Hill, constructed on a 14 acre land that was previously occupied by the ministry of Information.
The elevation of the construction site is approximately 1,240 metres (4,070 ft) above sea level, making it one of the highest points in the city.
Aya Investments Limited, a subsidiary of the Aya Group, have been working on the 24-story building with a work force of up to 600 workers all Ugandan. The hotel is due to be opened in March 2013.
“There were old government buildings for the ministry of information here but Uganda was not earning anything, instead it was spending money to maintain them. When these people said the spot was under-utilised and that it could bring in more money. If a woman is barren, you don’t chase her away but you devise ways to get one who produces,” he said.
He added that the hotel once complete will employ over 2000 people permanently and will earn over US45m per annum about half the money that the country earns from tea production.
The President commended the Aya Group for the investment and regretted the delay caused by what he described as a confused lawyer.
“For the investors, if you come across some corrupt officers asking for bribes—I have appointed a senior advisor on investments with a hotline for reporting anyone who asks for bribes or frustrates investments. If caught they will be put him in the freezer,” he said.
He commended the Aya group for attracting other investors in the agricultural sector, adding that the country’s weather is suitable for both tropical and temperate crops that are harvested twice a year or three times with irrigation.
The President advised the investors to visit Uganda agricultural research institutions to share information about improved seed varieties and biotechnology, adding that what the country needs is working capital and processing for value addition.
He called on workers to support investors who will tell other investors about Uganda to attract more jobs, adding that they should fight people who discourage foreign investors, saying they are against job creation.
The Aya Group chairman Muhammed Hamid said despite the challenges, they have achieved and delivered what they promised and assured the workers that they are due to start investments in modern agriculture practices to boost production and add value to ensure continuity of jobs.
The Director for Africa-India Hiton Hotels worldwide Yan Van Putin said once opened the hotel will be one of the best on the continent offering traditional Uganda hospitality including education and training.
The Minister for Trade and Industry Amelia Ann Kyambadde commended the Aya group for creating employment and supporting the youth from the rural areas. He said despite the challenges and the negative publicity, it was now time to celebrate the achievements.