Dr. Joseph Muvawala, the Executive Director of the National Planning Authority (NPA) has advised that the government should instigate a shift in man power planning aimed at giving priority to Ugandans during recruitment processes. This, as a measure towards fast tracking the achievement of inclusive growth in Uganda.
“Empower Ugandans by giving the jobs to them, because they are competent,” he said. “We should only bring in foreigners when it has been absolutely established that attempts to find competent nationals have proven futile,” he said.
Dr. Muvawala was delivering the keynote address on the theme, transformation for socio-economic empowerment, at the 7th CPA Economic Forum.
He noted that socio-economic empowerment points towards empowering the poor, inclusive growth, autonomous thinking, control of one’s own life and involvement in the development process.
According to Dr. Muvawala, the fundamentals have been addressed and the target should shift to the household.
NPA statistics show that Uganda has achieved an average growth rate of 6.06 percent in the last decade. Gross National Income (GNI) per capita increased from USD 755 in 1990 to USD 1,658 while Gross Domestic Product per capita increased from USD 506 in 2010 to 724.1 by 2015.
The stock of national paved roads has increased from 3,264 kms in 2010/11 to 4,257 km in 2016/ 2017. In healthcare, health centres and the regional referral hospitals have been constructed or rehabilitated.
The introduction of Universal Primary Education has led to increased school enrolment to 8.6 million children, and in agriculture, the government through the National Agriculture Advisory Services (NAADS) and Operation Wealth Creation has carried out interventions in extension services.
However, Dr. Muvawala notes that the above indices are mere averages and they do not represent inclusive growth as they do not factor the households.
An equivalent of 8 million Ugandans still live below the poverty line. Women are still dieing during child birth and a significant proportion of them do not have access to productive resources.
More so, the indirect costs on education, such as costs on scholastic and non-scholastic materials remain high, making it difficult for the poor to educate their children and the dependency ratios are still high. These indicators negatively impact socio-economic empowerment.
Dr. Muvawala cited poor implementation of policies, and poor coordination among government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, as the major challenges affecting national planning.
He recommended that the planning system must be transformative and empowering.
The Executive Director of the National Planning Authority emphasized:
- Value addition through the establishment of supportive infrastructure e.g value addition equipment
- Sustainable empowerment through compulsory savings and pensions.
- Continued investment in the youth in order to achieve a population dividend.
- Operationalisation of the healthcare referral system.
- Implementation of service delivery standards
- Introduction of programme-based budgeting
- Respect for human rights
- Subsidisation of electricity costs
- Use of sustainable youth livelihood programmes through introducing empowerment benefits.
- Systematic enterprize selection for various regions of the country.
- Revisiting the laws especially land and property laws, to avoid overprotecting the tenant, to the detriment of the investor.
He noted that the transformation process should not only empower the people but also the environment. At present Uganda is experiencing a declining forest and wetland cover. Forest cover is now 8%.
The Economic Forum is organised annually, by the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU), as one of the avenues through which accountants gather views and advise government on financial matters and the economy. The agreed policies are forwarded to the Ministry for Finance, Planning and Economic Development, for consideration in national policy formulation. The 7th Forum is being held at the Imperial Resort Beach Hotel, Entebbe, from 17-19 July 2019.