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BAHATI: Ugandan Economy Doubles in Nine Years to hit Shs 109.9tn  

Ugandan economic strategists have returned to the drawing board to devise a new masterplan to hit new targets after the economy expanded more than two times, from the Gross Domestic Product of Shs 46.9 trillion in Financial Year 2010/11 to Shs 109.9 trillion in 2018/19.

“In nominal terms. GDP has expanded 12 times over a period of 21 years from Shs 9.5 trillion in 1995/96,” said State Minister for Planning David Bahati.

“Likewise, despite an increase in the population from 31.2 million in 2011 to 40.3 million mid-2019, real GDP per capita grew by 16.4 percent from USD 709 to USD 825 over the same period,” he added.

While the country has achieved rapid economic growth in the last decade, the 2014 Population Census figures indicate that a large proportion of the households (68.9 percent) obtains their livelihood from subsistence farming.

They are self-employed in own farms and consume almost everything they produce hence being disconnected from the market and its benefits.

“The Youth bulge (78% of the population are of age 30 years and below, representing 31.2 million people) creates both an opportunity and a challenge. It creates an opportunity because of the potential demographic dividend from cheap labor and future demand,” said Bahati during a press briefing at the Uganda Media Centre (UMC) in Kampala on Tuesday.

“However, if the youth bulge is not well planned for, it creates a challenge and potentially missing the demographic dividend,” he emphasised.

Total exports of goods and services grew from USD 3.8 billion to USD 5.4 billion over the NDP period (2010/11- 2017/18), a sharp increment from USD 347 million in 1986.

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Personal remittances grew from US$751.4 million in 2010/11 to US$ 1,245.7 million in 2017/18.  Remittances were equivalent to 23.2 percent of total exports of goods and services in 2017/18.

Noticeably, imports of goods and services increased from USD 6.8 billion to USD 7.8 billion over the period 2010/11–2017/18.

Electricity generation capacity increased from 610.0MW in 2010/11 to 1,182MW in 2018/19 and is expected to rise after commissioning of; Agago-Achwa II (42 MW) in October and Karuma (600MW) in December 2019. Karuma is undergoing testing before it becomes operational.

ChimpReports understands that the second National Development Plan (NDPII) will expire in June 2020.

The NDPIII should be in place by May 2020.

The NDP III is the third in a series of plans that aim to implement the Uganda Vision 2040 aspirations. Cabinet on September 9, 2019 approved the strategic direction for the NDPIII.

Pamela Mbabazi, the chairperson of the National Planning Authority (NPA) said the strategic direction is the principle guiding framework for Sectors and Local Governments in the development of their plans.

The strategy enables NPA to engage the decentralized planning institutions (Sectors, MDAs and Local Governments) to identify priorities that will eventually be consolidated in National Development Plans as required.

Factories have increased from around 86 factories in 1986 to around 4,600 currently with several industrial complexes emerging in Namanve, Mbalala (Mukono), Kawempe, Matugga and other areas.

Bahati revealed that factories have been set up in food processing, iron and steel, ceramics, plastics and batteries and many others.  The number of cement factories has increased to four operational plants in the country with a fifth (Sinoma Cement factory in Mbale) being planned. In addition, Government has designated 22 areas for establishment of serviced industrial parks.

Health

The Minister revealed that life expectancy rose from 43 years (men 42.5 and women at 43.5) in 1991 to 63.3 years in 2016, implying life expectancy in Uganda increased by 20 years in one generation.

Previous reports by the World Health Organisation (WHO) show Uganda’s main health challenges as financing, serious shortage of skilled and committed personal, deficient referral system and poor basic infrastructure among others.

However, Mbabazi’s team revealed that maternal mortality ratio (per 100,000 live births) reduced from 506 in 1986/87 to 336 in 2016/17.

Under 5 mortality rate (per 1000) reduced from 147 in 1986/87 to 64 in 2016/17 while average years of schooling increased from 2.5 in 1986/87 to 6.1 in 2016/17.

NPA’s records also indicate that following the introduction of Universal Primary Education, gross enrolment in primary school increased from 3.1 million in 1996 to 7.6 million in 2003 and to 8.8 million in 2018.

Beyond inflation targeting and forex management, officials said emphasis will be on increasing savings, investment, capital formation and lowering commercial bank interest rates.

NPA also intends to reduce the cost of doing business to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) and enhance competitiveness of domestically produced goods and services, both at local and international markets.

“Priority will be on reducing the cost of power, transport, internet, money, improving business processes, and zealously fighting corruption,” said Mbabazi.

Government also is looking at spearheading an import replacement strategy to promote labor-intensive light manufacturing, cottage industries, heavy manufacturing for job creation and technology importation with the major objective of creating jobs for the youth and building a sustainable export-oriented economy.

Uganda is endowed with vast raw materials that could help replace major imports such as; Petroleum, petrol products and related materials, Cereals and cereal preparations, Iron and steel, Fixed vegetable fats and oils, crude, or refined, Paper, paperboard and articles of pulp or paper-board, Medical and pharmaceutical products and Plastics in primary forms.

Other areas of focus include commercialization of agriculture to generate sufficient production volumes to sustain domestic (food security) and external markets; harnessing tourism skills, tourism infrastructure including water, land and air transport, as well as accommodation facilities and branding Uganda; promotion of Science, Technology, Engineering, Innovation (STEI) and a Knowledge driven economy; mineral beneficiation and oil refining.

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