Create local solutions for Ugandan problems - experts

Friday December 8 2017

Mr Juan Estrada Valle(2nd left), the USAID

Mr Juan Estrada Valle(2nd left), the USAID Chief of Party East Africa Trade and Investment, speaks during the 2017 NTV Economic Summit at the Kampala Serena Hotel on Wednesday. The other panelists, left to right, are: Fred Muhumuza (economist), Geofrey Onegi Obel (economist), Adam Mugume ( director research Bank of Uganda) and Selestino Babungi (managing director Umeme) . PHOTO BY STEPHEN OTAGE 

By Jonathan Adengo


Government has been urged to create Ugandan solutions for the current economic problems that the country is facing, instead of relying on foreign solutions.
In his keynote speech at the 2017 NTV Economic Summit at the Kampala Serena Hotel on Wednesday, Mr Juan Estrada-Valle, a trade economist and Chief of Party of the USAID East Africa Trade and Investment Hub, said Uganda needs to promote its economy.
“We need a countrywide commitment to our goals. Every person in every village must be aware of the direction the country is taking and more importantly, their role in its development,” he said.
Mr Estrada said achieving the goals of the 2040 Vision requires greater focus on the necessary actions today. He added that there is need to engage Ugandans and initiate an economic revolution.
He said Uganda has a sizeable and well educated diaspora. Last year alone he said the diaspora sent about $1billion to their families. However, he said very little of what they send goe
Mr Elly Karuhanga, the chairman of the Uganda Chamber of mines and Petroleum, said there is need to skill Ugandans to make sure that they can easily take part in the infrastructure projects in the country.
He said Uganda is blessed with a young population which is very creative, urging government to tap into this group and skill it because they know what they want and will create their own jobs.
He said government should also localise product and infrastructure production so that Ugandans can ably participate in these projects and also reduce on the capital flight.

Industrialise agriculture
The economists argued that there is need to modernise and commercialise agriculture for economies such as Uganda where about 70 per cent of the population earn their livelihoods from farming.
“The consumption multipliers from growth in agriculture are higher than from other sectors. Therefore linking agriculture to industry and achieving the proper balance between agriculture and industry offers the best mechanism through which the country can transform the economy as well as deliver inclusive growth,” said Mr Estrada.
He added: “Agro-industrialisation is feasible to spur inclusive social economic growth and development.”
To realise this, Mr Estrada said government will need to develop enablers such as power, infrastructure and the transport network.
The experts also called for the recapitalisation of the Uganda Development bank so as to be able to provide long term credit for farmers and small enterprises.
Secretary to the Treasury Keith Muhakanizi, in a video message, said the summit will build on the outcome of the economic growth forum held in September which paused challenges to be addressed.
These challenges include low productivity in agriculture, budget restrictions, low volumes and quality of exports, among others.
NTV together with PwC hosted the second annual Economic Summit under the Theme: Triggering Uganda’s Economy through Sustainable Growth with Jobs.”

About the summit

Objective. The NTV Economic Summit seeks to Influence and direct the policies for design and implementation of initiatives for growing agriculture and tourism sectors within the Vision 2040 and the National Development Plans. This is by creating an accountability framework for measuring performance against plans, ensuring sustained discussion of economic matters over the wider public sector with input from the populace and identifying the role of other stakeholders such as the media in driving this agenda for economic growth.