Kampala. The national poverty level has increased from 19.7 per cent in the financial year 2012/13 to 21.4 per cent in 2016/2017, Uganda Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday.
The figures were its final results of the Uganda National Household Survey 2016/17.
The earlier preliminary report released last September had showed there was an increase in poverty levels from 19.7 per cent to 27.7 per cent.
The current figure now puts the total number of poor Ugandans who cannot afford three meals a day to eight million.
Releasing the results at Statistics House yesterday, the UBOS executive director, Mr Ben Paul Mungyereza, said the increase in poverty was experienced countrywide except in northern region where there was a reduction from 43.7 per cent in 2012/13 to 32.5 per cent in 2016/17.
The eastern region had the highest poverty incidence at 35.7 per cent up in 2016/2017 from 24.5 per cent in 2012/13.
The findings also show that poverty incidence remains higher in rural areas (31 per cent) compared to urban areas (15 per cent).
The rural areas contributed 86 per cent of the national poverty.
Mr Mungyereza said the number of poor people was 6.7 million in 2012/13 having declined from 8.4 million in 2005/06.
“This implies that in the absolute terms, the number of people living in poverty as of 2005/06 while the population stood at about 27.2 million is almost the same 10 years later when the population increased by about 10.5 million thus placing the population at 37.7 million,” Mr Mungyereza said.
He attributed the poverty levels to increased prices of food items as a result of the prolonged drought.
In reference to the northern part, Mr Mungyereza said: “The return to normalcy in most parts of the north and the various interventions in the region could partly explain the high growth in household consumption and decline in poverty.”
However, explaining the eastern region figures, he said it is was still a puzzle to them because the region has been stable over the years, calling for research in the area.