Govt committed to developing natural resources, say Muhakanizi

Kampala. Development partners are optimistic that Uganda has the potential to grow a stronger economy through improved policy making that can support sustainable growth and prosperity.
This will be achieved on the account of implementing policies that will guide fair and proper use of natural resources such as forests, wetlands and land.
The matter was raised during the launch of the Natural Capital Accounting programme.
The programme will be supported by the World Bank, Ministry of Finance and Global Partnership for Wealth Accounting and the Valuation of Ecosystem Services.
Mr Keith Muhakanizi, the secretary to the Treasury, who officiated at the launch, said it was important that Uganda quantifies the value of its natural capital as an indicator of future growth and progress.
“The future of growth of Uganda will depend on sound management of our natural capital and we need to establish a credible set of natural accounts if we are to do that,” he said.
Mr Tony Thompson, the World Bank country manager, said government must show commitment to go beyond the conventional macroeconomic indicators such as gross domestic product and look at both natural and human capital investments.
“For a country like Uganda, most of its wealth is made up of its natural capital. But you need to invest in human capital while protecting natural capital so that you pass on a richer legacy for the next generation,” he said in a speech read by senior operations officer for the World Bank, Mr Franklin Mutahakana.
The Wealth Accounting and the Valuation of Ecosystem Services, which is commonly known as Waves together with the Ministry of Finance, National Planning Authority, Uganda Bureau of Statistics, and Ministry of Water are in the process of building capacity to help valuation of natural assets and ecosystem services.
Uganda has one of the fastest rates of forest loss in the world. A 2016 Joint Water and Environment Sector Review Report showed that the country’s forest cover reduced to 11 per cent (2015) from 24 per cent (1990).
Degradation of forests and wetlands has been attributed to the rising population (currently at 3 per cent annually), climate change and huge demand for land for agriculture and wood fuel.