Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni directed government ministries and agencies to hire scientists only as planners.
He said this would allow the country to industrialise quickly without depending on natural resources.
“We must go into products of the intellect like in Japan where there are no natural resources but they depend on human resource to produce cars and other machinery,” he said during the opening session of a three-day retreat to evaluate the government’s performance for the financial year 2017/2018 on Tuesday.
“The problem we have is that people you call planners don’t know much about science, some are economists. How can you plan if you don’t know science?” the President posed.
“Even in ministries, we need scientists. We need people who understand chemistry. You must have chemists, you must have biologists, and you must have physicists,” he added.
President Museveni revealed that he recently rejected a list of people seconded to him for appointment to head the National Planning Authority (NPA) because there was no scientist among those tipped to replace the retiring Dr Kisamba Mugerwa.
The President has long held the view that humanities and arts are incapable of creating the transformation the country needs to develop into a modern economy.
He at one time advised private universities to focus on science subjects.
Mr Museveni said Uganda has the potential to be one of the most industrialised countries and ordered a study the Germany economy to learn how it survived the financial crisis in Europe supported by its active industries.
“The Office of the Prime Minister should research on distribution of jobs in Germany and the Ministry of Finance should study the economy of Germany. They are now in hi-tech and produce the best machinery,” he said.
The Finance spokesperson, Jim Mugunga, said the ministry would act on the President’s directive to recruit scientists, once policy guidelines are put in place.
“When the President makes a pronouncement, it is often followed by a policy guideline. Since it (the directive) has just been made, our ministry will wait for those policies and guidelines,” he said.