Realistic economic independence vital
Posted Wednesday, October 9 2013 at 01:00
Uganda should borrow a leaf from South Korea, which by 1962 was at the same level of development with Uganda but has since grown by leaps and bounds because of its zero-tolerance to corruption and a clear economic transformation policy.
As we celebrate our 51st Independence anniversary, it is important to reflect on the essence of what independence really means for us as a country. The political sovereignty that we acquired has enabled us to achieve a modest degree of freedom as a people, especially in attempting to define our aspirations and destiny.
That said, we should not forget that a lot of innocent blood has been spilled and precious time lost, thanks to the selfish and deplorable political governance that the country has suffered for a considerable part of the last 51 years.
Much as we ought to be mindful of the past, we cannot carry on mourning and agonising over our past. Most, if not all of the strongest economies in the world, have had to rise from a tattered past.
Away from the uncertainty surrounding the future of the country’s political governance, the greatest challenge that Uganda faces at this point is the poor state of its economy. All the other challenges are largely linked to the poor state of the country’s economy.
We live in a country where teachers, university lecturers and doctors go on strike almost every year over inadequate and/or delayed salaries. That, coupled with massive corruption in government, have only acted to compound the country’s economic challenge.
The situation is not helped by recent reports, which show that Uganda’s growing external debt currently stands at about $4b (about Shs10 trillion); which is about 18 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. In addition, the country’s unemployment rate that stands at more than 60 per cent with a burgeoning population growth rate - estimated at about 37 million according to the United Nations Social and Economic Affairs Division.
In fact, Uganda should borrow a leaf from South Korea, which by 1962, was at the same level of development with Uganda today but has since grown by leaps and bounds because of its zero-tolerance to corruption and a clear economic transformation policy. If the government fails to fix the country’s massive economic challenges, Ugandans will never truly realise their independence as a people.