President Museveni has summoned the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) parliamentary caucus for a meeting to tomorrow at Kololo Independence grounds over the country’s economic situation.
The caucus Spokesperson, Mr Brandon Kintu confirmed that issues of commodity prices, Lubowa Hospital project and the controversial coffee agreement that have sparked public outrage will be part of the agenda.
"This is to inform you that His Excellence the president will chair the NRM caucus meeting on April 26, 2022 at 2pm at the Independence Grounds, Kololo, Kampala. The purpose of the meeting is for members to receive a brief on the country's economic situation. This letter, therefore communicates the information to you for your further management," reads part of a letter written by principal private secretary to the president, Dr Kenneth Omona.
In his Easter message, Mr Museveni said he would discuss with the caucus the issue of the high commodity prices in the following days before addressing Ugandans. The President also said he is aware the runaway prices “are disturbing our people.”
Citizens are now hanging onto the hope that the caucus meeting will lead to a reduction in the prices of fuel, transport fares and essential commodities which have skyrocketed in recent weeks after the government mid this month ruled out providing subsidies, tax or price control relief to clothe Ugandans against pricks of rising cost of living which has left millions helpless and in need.
Dr Ramathan Ggoobi, an economics scholar tapped last year as the Finance ministry permanent Secretary/secretary to Treasury, in a media briefing in Kampala, said on April 14 that such statist interventions would create more problems than they solve.
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“Subsidies tend to take money to the wrong people, not the ones you intend [to help]. Here we call them mafias. They can easily organise themselves and take all the subsidies. So, the Treasury will be funding them. We aren’t going to control prices either. That is bad economics. You control prices, you create so many unintended consequences,” he said.
Rising prices of commodities
Ugandan households, four out of ten of which are in the poor category, are grappling with the headache of putting food on the table following the heating of the economy and the rise, in some cases doubling, in prices of groceries and construction materials.
Uganda Bureau of Statistics, the official government statistics agency, has reported a more than 1.5 percentage point jump in food inflation from the start of the year.
From members of Parliament to Church of Uganda Archbishop Samuel Stephen Kaziimba, from businesses to ordinary citizens on the streets, the government has been bombarded with a chorus demanding to ease the burden for families after leaders of neighbouring Rwanda and Kenya stepped in with fuel subsidies and other reliefs.