4 February 2013

Uganda: NRM At 27 - Great Work but More Please!

editorial

Uganda last week celebrated the 27th Anniversary of the NRM's Liberation of Kampala on the 26th of January, 1986.

President, Yoweri Museveni, speaking in the western town of Kasese, said that the final attack on Kampala started on the 24th of January, 1986 and culminated in the fall of Uganda's largest city on January 26, 1986. The president emphasized that it was not just the fall of a bad regime but also the fall of a failing economy.

Since that time, Uganda's economy, according to President Museveni, which was 3.5 trillion shillings (about US$1.32billion) is now at 50 trillion shillings (about US$ 20 billion). He said the economy has grown 14 times in size since 1986. Income per person which was $ 264 in 1986, is now US$ 580 per person in spite of the population having grown 2.3 times from 14 million people to the current 34 million people.

In 1986, only 150,000 pupils sat for Primary Leaving Education (P.L.E). In 2012, the numbers has risen to 565,663 children PLE. Figures from the Ministry of Education show that the the number of students in secondary schools was only 123,479 in 1986. Today, the figure stands at 1.23 million students.

In 1986, Uganda had only one public university, Makerere University, which was established in 1922 and there were no private universities.

Today there are 10 public and over 30 private universities.

In 1986, the share of industry in GDP was only 9.9% while services' contribution to GDP was only 36.1%. Today it stands at 26.8% and 44.8%, respectively. The total export of goods and services in 1986, was only US$ 411 million in 1986 and this was because of the high coffee prices at that time; otherwise, the figures went as low as about US$ 260 million in 1988 and it further fell to US$ 177 million in 1990 because of the fall in the world coffee prices.

The president further shed light on the economy, saying that last year, Uganda's export earnings were $ 4.5 billion. Non-coffee exports of goods went from almost zero to $ 1.7 billion last year. International Reserves grew from $ 16million in 1986 to $ 2.9 billion in December, 2012.

Tax revenue collections went from five billion shillings (About $1.8billion) in 1986 to 6.6 trillion shillings ($2.5billion) last financial year. Private investment increased from 5.2% of GDP in 1986 to 19% of GDP in 2012. Remittances from Ugandans living abroad went from almost zero to $ 879 million last financial year 2011/12.

When remittances are added to export earnings of goods and services, the total inflows are $ 5.4 billion. Inflation was 240% in 1986 but is now at a comparatively low 5.5%.

These are no mean achievements! However, a number of challenges abound and need to be worked on. Energy, infrastructure, health, unemployment, markets, commercial agriculture, credit, entrepreneurship, service delivery, tourism development.

Most of all, Please fight corruption. These are very good achievements but more needs to be done!

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