The National Planning Authority (NPA) Executive Director Joseph Muvawala has asked government to invest more in agriculture and local investors as opposed to supporting foreign businessmen
While giving his speech on Wednesday at the Seventh Certified Public Accountants Economic Social Empowerment Forum in Entebbe, Muvawala, also the Busoga Kingdom Prime Minister said if Uganda is to attain both economic growth and development, investing in local investors and agriculture must be the top priority.
“Uganda needs a change of mindset if she’s to attain socio-economical empowerment. There is no country which develops basing on the foreign investors, all countries fully empower their local investors since they will stay even if in times of political or economic instabilities,” he said.
According to World Bank reports, Uganda’s growth performance over the years has been unstable with high performance in some episodes and low performance in other episodes. For example, Uganda’s economy bounced from a 3.86 growth rate in 2017 to 6.09 in 2018, due to profit repatriation by a large number of foreign investors.
However, according to Muvawala, the agricultural sector which is currently the major contributor to Uganda’s total employment, with 70.76 per cent of the total labour force in 2018 has been intentionally been undermined by the government.
Yet agriculture is the service sector which contributed largely to Uganda’s Gross Domestic Product ( GDP) by 21.85 per cent in 2018, but all efforts have been put in industrialisation which has only employed 7.389 per cent of Uganda’s labour force in 2018 and most of the factories are owned by foreigners.
Muvawala urges that although local people only need to be empowered by their government, unfortunately, government has focused on giving incentives to foreign investors to compete with them.
“Economic empowerment is therefore thought to allow poor people to think beyond immediate daily survival and to exercise greater control over both their resources and life choices.
“Economic participation and empowerment are fundamental to strengthening people’s rights and enabling them to have control over their lives and exert influence in society,” he said.
Over the time, Uganda’s aspiration to transform from a peasant to a modern and prosperous country has been guided by deliberate policy efforts although policy implementation culture in Uganda is still poor.
Nevertheless, Muvawala alludes that It has been a consistent and long-term aspiration pursued over time by the Government supported by stable security, political and macroeconomic environment.
“If we have the above three basics, this journey can be summarised into three stages; Fundamental Economic Reforms Phase (1986-1996), The Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP) and decentralisation Phase and the growth and social-economic transformation Phase i.e. NDPI & II (2010-2020),” Muvawala noted.