The biggest challenge to any development is implementation! Uganda’s economy lags behind because we have many good policies, but poor managers of State resources. These have been marred by the zero sum politics where power is over concentrated in the Presidency.
The budgetary allocations under the Democratic Party will correlate with the need of the populace not the regime as it is now. For example Agriculture constitutes 80% of the livelihood of every Ugandan yet the budgetary allocation is less than 10% but defense spending is higher in many instances.
Whereas billions are swindled in corruption, the government always pleads for a subsidiary budget. Yet according to the African Peer Review Mechanism, Uganda can save Shs30 billion yearly if corruption can be confronted.
Uganda is in a Catch-22 situation with an NRM administration that has outlived its implementation strategies with a stagnant manager without new ideas. Uganda needs a new beginning. The Democratic Party will ensure accountability and zero tolerance to corruption.
The 1980s IMF structural adjustment programme that came along with retrenchment and privatisation did no good to the citizens.
The NRM government emphasised privatisation while making it a preserve of foreigners and a few cardres. The government is running away from its responsibilities by adopting a mentality of sell it all! The NRM government now abdicates its responsibilities to private companies.
The Democratic Party will have business to do business. Most public goods are sold off like Uganda Commercial Bank, the Uganda Electricity Board that has in turn made the lives of Ugandans miserable through high tariffs charged by the successor private entities running the energy sector.
The Democratic Party believes that government can manage the budget well and as well have strong control on strategic sectors that directly affect the citizens. If Eskom that today runs electricity under Umeme, the Kenya Commercial Bank that has over 11 branches in Uganda are government of South African and Kenyan government partner bodies, why can’t Uganda control public goods and rescue Ugandans from exploitation?
Democratic Party through private public partnership will ensure a smooth running and growth of the economy and transparently manage public expenditures as allocated, designed and set to transform the economy. It’s all about leadership. The ultimate strategy is to have regime change. When organisation is to function, when all institutions are set free to operate and all the checks and balance in governance take their course, then the ills in the management of public affairs can be eradicated.
Democratic Party will ensure that government takes charge and invests in such public goods as railways, water transport, electricity and other sectors of economy that are pertinent to national growth.
Our economy is recorded as growing at 7%, but with external debt burden est. at $2.05 billion (31/12/09) against a GDP of $5.8 billion in 09/10 (having fallen from $7.2 billion in 08/09).
Uganda is still heavily indebted. The foreign debt is over 35% of GDP. Every Ugandan therefore has a debt of about $90.
To ensure effective management of public expenditure, the Norbert Mao administration promises a lean government, a government that will be small enough to manage public good with maximum accountability and transparency. The best answer requires the best formula. That is a new beginning with Mao.
Mr Emmanuel Mwaka Lutukumoi, National Spokesperson Democratic Party, wrote this article on behalf his party leader.