President visits Leicester enroute to UN conference in New York

He left for the UK at the age of 14. when ldi Arnin expelled Asians from Uganda in September I972. Today, 36 years later, Khalid Shaikh is the chairman of Clifton Packaging PLC, a multi-million-pound packaging corn parry in Leicester, UK.

Clifton Packaging Group, established 1981

The Ugandan Asian, whose mother had died before their departure to UK and is buried in Jinja, scrubbed floors until he saved enough money to buy an old printing press from a scrap yard.

“The business went from strength to strength. Now he has a multi-million-pound packaging company and a boardroom whose walls are literally covered in awards for innovation and business. as well as photos of him and his family with senior politicians and members of the British Royal Family.” his website says.

President Yoweri Museveni, accompanied by his wife Janet, on Saturday toured the factory, which was decorated with strips of Ugandan flag.

The President took the occasion to re-assure foreign investors willing to do business in Uganda that no one will ever again expel them from the country because they are protected by the Constitution. He further assured them of Government incentives, like 10-year tax holidays. and said the infrastructure and energy would be adequate in 20 months’ time.

Khalid. who keeps following events in Uganda, told the President that processing, preserving and packaging of fruit had an enormous potential for wealth creation in Africa.?

He explained that Ugandan farmers receive £1,000 for a tonne of pineapples. However, when dried and packaged attractively. it becomes worth £20,000. He offered to come and train Ugandan farmers on how to process and package their produce such as bananas, mangoes. Pineapples and coffee for value addition.

The President visited Leicester enroute to the United Nations headquarters in New York, where he will defend Uganda’s candidature to become a non-permanent member of the Security Council.

Khalid has been invited to deliver an address to the UN General Assembly. where he will talk about his ideas under the slogan “BABA” (Buy African, Build Africa). While in Leicester, the President had some success in attracting investors to Uganda.

The directors of LPC Group, Britain’s largest independent manufacturer of specialist paper products, told the Ugandan learn they were ready to invest in areas of fruit and coffee processing, as well as manufacturing of the active ingredient Lactullos drug that requires 4 million litres of milk daily and pulp production.

Touring their factory, Museveni assured the directors of the availability of raw materials, explaining that the Government is encouraging families to engage in commercial farming through the ‘Prosperity for All ‘programme.

The President. who lauded the expelled Asians for being resilient and having succeeded in the UK, added that farmers in Uganda are yearning for a market for their products. He encouraged the group to set up a coffee processing factory in Mbale and a fruit processing plant in Soroti.

On pulp production. the President told them that trees would be planted on hill tops. which would help in environment protection as well as provide employment to Ugandans.

He also cited opportunities in pharmaceutical production, rail transport to the sea, and air transport with international runways in Entebbe, Gulu and Kasese.

Present were State Minister for investment, Sernakula Krwanuka, and of International Affairs, Okello Oryem, as well as the executive director of the Uganda Investment Authority, Maggie Kigozi and MP Mike Mabikke.

21st September 2008

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