The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has told global leaders that despite the health risks associated with the coronavirus pandemic, there are opportunities in investment, social transformation and technological advancement.
Kadaga who was speaking during a virtual international conference on leadership said COVID came as a wakeup call for nations to find within themselves, means of survival.
“Within Uganda, we have had a lot of innovations; I think Uganda will no longer import sanitizers because a lot of investment has been made within the local industries to enable us have our own sanitizers” Kadaga said.
She said that Ugandans in the small and big scale industries now manufacture face masks, and that many have benefited from the employment opportunities within these industries.
Although there were layoffs and a drop down in household incomes resulting from the lock down, Kadaga said she was happy people have become more innovative.
“This morning I had a group of teachers who told me that they have tried out new businesses during the lock down; they are taking on agriculture as they wait for government to fully open up the education sector” she said.
Kadaga said the pandemic was an eye opener as government realized how ill prepared the public health system was to handle pandemics.
“We were caught off guard, we did not have sufficient quarantine and self-isolation facilities countrywide. I think we need to plan well to handle any future pandemics,” she said.
The Speaker added that in order to cope up with social distancing procedures, people adopted scientific weddings which was a rare occurrence before the pandemic. She noted that this will usher in a low cost culture of conducting weddings, which in the past had become a costly venture.
She called on parliamentarians globally to urgently consider legislation that will support communities cope up with the COVID pandemic.
“This lock down taught us that it is possible to do things ourselves. There are things we used to get from China which we now make ourselves” she said adding that, ‘I think now we need to address our research to ensure that we add value to the resources on the African continent’.
The Virtual International Conference on Leadership was organized by the Universal Peace Federation, an organization that works in General Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
The event gathered Parliamentarians from various continents under the topic, ‘Perspectives from Parliamentarians: Opportunity and Hope at a Time of Global Crisis: Africa, Continent of the Future’.