The Observer (Kampala)

Uganda: Same-Sex Talk Will Not Ruin Uganda's Economy

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With Uganda importing more than what it is expecting, the aid cuts will further increase Uganda's public debt. To counter the aid cuts, government will have to borrow money somewhere in order to fill the gap the donors have created. To do that, government is expected to look at the securities market, where trade in the treasury bills and bonds should get hyper.

Bank of Uganda will very likely increase the interest rate on treasury bills and bonds in order to attract more investors. Investors are to forget their sentiments over homosexuality as they target these government securities.

If there are tourists who plan to cancel their trips to Uganda because of the anti-gay law, then they probably know very little about the continent. Even in African countries where anti-gay laws do not exist, the act of doing it in public will get you a caution. Africa remains conservative.

This is the time for the authorities in charge of Uganda's tourism industry to deal with the issues that affect the sector. Challenges such as the poor road network, high hospitality charges, and exorbitant charges for adventures like gorilla tracking and white water rafting, need to be looked at urgently.

This should help the country promote domestic tourism ahead of the seasonal foreign clientele. In the end, the fear that the anti-gay law has created will find an economy that continues to promise a lot but is only held back by the high level of bureaucracy and the deeply-rooted corruption in government corridors.

We should only get worried if companies decide to pack up and leave because of the law. There is a lot that could influence an exodus of that nature, and an anti-gay law cannot be one of them. Norway has Norwegian firms like Tronder Power, which is in charge of a power plant at Bugoye in western Uganda.

France, which says it is concerned by Uganda's legislation on homosexuals, has Total E&P, one of the biggest multinational firms in the country, exploring for oil in Albertine grabben.

So, let's all relax and wait for this anti-gay hullabaloo to simply pass on. Whichever side you are on, there are surely more urgent matters to fix within the economy than worry about sex of whatever nature.

Twitter: @jeff_mbanga

The author is the business editor at The Observer

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