Where should we focus to realise devt?
What you need to know:
The moral Question: Is this the time to retrench after Covid-19 and global recession? Do you want to render MDAs staff jobless people at this time? Won’t it have a socio-economic impact on society?
I am now writing this in December 2022 to discuss Uganda’s development focus for the next five years. Most of the initial conditions for growth of Uganda already exist.
We will look at the following areas of focus: Agro-processing and value addition to increase farmgate prices, add jobs to the economy, exports and expand the economy. We will look at maize for now. When you process maize you obtain human food (posho/corn meal, etc.) and animal feed (maize bran).
Mining and mineral beneficiation: Estimates of these minerals puts Uganda at an unexploited wealth of over $ 30 trillion! In an integrated approach, the government and the private sector need to commit two years of investment in the mining and value addition of gold (just dig down 1-2 kms).
We need to reduce informal business in urban centres. Most informal businesses don’t pay taxes; sometimes don’t even pay their workers; and others are actually illegal or not permitted businesses. URA/KCCA and URSB efforts of visiting Kikubo and other areas and giving shops and other businesses a registration number and TIN should continue.
In agriculture, we have to encourage commercial farming. The main motive is not production for the stomach. Rather it is done as a business venture. What is produced is sold on the market to make money.
Commercial diplomacy: this is the recent approach by the government under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Targeted attraction of both foreign direct investments (FDI) and direct investments (DDI) are needed today. They bring capital, technology, and markets. We can attract the British or Chinese who can come and produce directly for their home countries.
Target and penetrate foreign markets: We need Government investment in transport and border exit infrastructure. We cannot penetrate markets without physical access.
Export development and Export promotion are both necessary and timely. Exporting requires market research and marketing intelligence. It costs money. SMEs can not afford it. This is one of the reasons why most countries have an Export Agency which is autonomous or semi-autonomous. We have more than 146 Export Agencies globally. The first Export Promotion Agency was established in 1919 in Finland, a small prospering country, and still exists.
We need good neighbours who are peaceful, stable and friends: We need a peace and stability dividend in the entire EAC region – but more urgently in DR Congo and South Sudan. The EAC force supporting DRC efforts to end war in Eastern DRC is vital for the region’s prosperity and image.
Import substitution: Import replacement is already part of NDP3. This encourages domestic production, and it supports BUBU (Buy Uganda Build Uganda) efforts. We should import raw materials for the production of some goods, such as spare parts and machinery for factories, etc.
Rationalisation of MDAs and Making Government efficiency and effective: reduce duplication; save money; harmonize salaries; and enhance efficiency; and effectiveness. While efficiency answers the question: Did we arrive? Effectiveness asks: at what cost? Did we use a bazooka to kill a mosquito that was biting us and giving us malaria, which costs the country a lot in terms of budget and the health of citizens?
Duplication should be avoided; service delivery has to be maintained to enhance economic growth. The moral Question: Is this the time to retrench after Covid-19 and global recession? Do you want to render MDAs staff jobless people at this time? Won’t it have a socio-economic impact on society? I have gathered that there will be more people campaigning for parliament in 2025/26: those retrenched want to join politics, having it as the best alternative after their loss of jobs. Whichever side they take, we are likely to crowd opposition and the ruling party in different measures.
Development is a process. We build for the future. Merry Christmas and happy Holidays
Mr Elly Twineyo Kamugisha is an economist, and author.