11 March 2013

Uganda: Museveni Outlines Nine Stimuli to Grow Economy

The Government has outlined nine key factors that will stimulate further social economic transformation, coming at a time when African countries celebrate the 10th Africa Peer Review Mechanism anniversary.

Commemorating the day, President Yoweri Museveni said the Government will relentlessly pursue the strategy of private sector economic growth, market access and expansion, infrastructure development and human resource development.

The other strategies are value addition, export-led growth, democracy and good governance as well as defence and security.

"Our aim is to ensure socio-economic transformation of the people of Uganda. We also ask ourselves the stimuli required for changing a predominantly, traditional and peasant economy into a modern and prosperous middle-income country," the President said in a statement read by the Vice-President, Edward Ssekandi, on the weekend.

The President noted that because the private sector is the engine for economic growth, it must be nurtured, regulated and supported to ensure economic development.

He also noted that although Uganda has a population of 34 million people, it is not an adequate market to absorb and stimulate production in the economy.

"We are putting mechanisms for our products to access other markets, including the East African Community of 142 million, Common Market for East and Southern Africa of 430 million and the global market. However, we must have finished goods that meet international standards to sell in these markets," Museveni said.

The President also recognised the high costs of transport as a result of poor roads and lack of a functional railway network.

He, however, said the Government has embarked on the expansion of roads and revamping the railway line using the army engineering brigade to support the construction.

In January 2013, the African Union declared march 6 as the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) day.

In Uganda, a number of activities have commenced to mark the day under the theme: "APRM working for the people of Africa."

Uganda is one of the architects and pioneer countries that acceded to the mechanism at its inception in March 2003.

The mechanism was initiated by African leaders to address the challenges facing the continent, especially high poverty levels, under-development and continued marginalisation.

Under this tool, the leaders agreed to design an African self-monitoring mechanism to help review each country's performance.

It, therefore, seeks to foster the adoption of policies, standards and practices that lead to political stability, high economic growth, sustainable development and accelerated sub-regional and continental economic integration.

When Uganda was reviewed in 2008, the review report identified nine major governance achievements worthy of emulation by other African countries.

These include prompt handling of election petitions, Uganda's macro-economic management, the budget consultative process and setting up of a unit within the Uganda investment authority to facilitate local investment.

The report similarly identified a number of issues the country needs to work on. They include the high population growth rate, policy implementation gaps, managing political transition, the land question, resolution of the conflict in the north, corruption and over-dependence on aid.

Others are setting up the Uganda parliamentary budget office, free universal education, Uganda's handling of the HIV/AIDS pandemic and decentralisation.

President Museveni, however, said the Government has formed a comprehensive national programme of action to address the challenges identified during the review.

In the exploitation of natural resources, he said the country will enjoy numerous by-products from the refinery like petrol chemicals and the manufacture of fertilisers.

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