Baryamureeba: Uganda Vision 2040 Is A Timely Intervention


illness geneva; font-size: small;”>It is a source of inspiration for all Ugandans regardless of the age group and political affiliation. This Vision Framework provides plans and strategies to operationalize the Ugandan vision, sick which is “A transformed Ugandan society from a peasant to a modern and prosperous country within 30 years”.

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ampoule geneva; font-size: small;”>It aims at transforming Uganda from a predominantly peasant and low income country to a competitive upper middle income country with per capita income of about USD 9,500.

Other Ugandans have projected that Uganda will be a first world country by 2062, which will coincide with 100 years of independence. It is interesting to note that last year we celebrated 50 years of Uganda’s independence of which 27 years have been under the National Resistance Movement (NRM).

The next 27 years that end with the year 2040 could also be under the NRM. The question on everybody’s mind is whether what is being projected today in Vision 2040 will come to pass?

I am one of those Ugandans who strongly believe that Vision 2040 is achievable if and only if we do things differently.

The National Planning Authority was established and is duly funded from the consolidated fund. One of its key performance indicators is to produce Vision 2040. I would like to join the many Ugandans to commend them for a wonderful piece of work.

I would also like to urge those entrusted with the implementation not to let down Ugandans. As a Ugandan I would like to make some suggestions in regard to implementation of vision 2040.

I would like to urge the National Planning Authority (NPA) to produce the successor National Development Plan (NDP) to the NDP 2010/11 -2014/15 so that all Presidential Candidates for the 2016 Presidential elections are compelled by law to base their manifestos on the National Development Plan (NDP) 2015/16 – 2019/20.

In this case the difference in the Presidential Manifestos would be on implementation strategies. Let NPA also publish a progress report for the current NDP so that as Ugandans we can know where we stand.

There is no country in the world that has developed without mobilising and rallying its citizens towards a common vision. It happened in Singapore, China, Malaysia, Mauritius, Hungary and Chile among others.

Every citizen must contribute to national development and as a result it should be mandatory for every Ugandan to engage in a viable economic activity. The Uganda Constitution provides for the duties of every citizen as follows:

The exercise and enjoyment of rights and freedoms is inseparable from the performance of duties and obligations, and accordingly, it shall be the duty of every citizen-

(a) to be patriotic and loyal to Uganda and to promote its well-being;

(b) to engage in gainful work for the good of that citizen, the family, the common good and to contribute to national development;

(c) to contribute to the well-being of the community where that citizen lives;

(d) to promote responsible parenthood;

(e) to foster national unity and live in harmony with others;

(f) to promote democracy and the rule of law; and

(g) to acquaint himself or herself with the provisions of the Constitution and to uphold and defend the Constitution and the law.

If every Ugandan undertook these constitutional duties, today Uganda would be a middle income country or close to becoming one. Most Ugandans I talked to before writing this article did not know their constitutional duties, expressed total ignorance about the provisions of the Constitution and as a result are not in a position to uphold and defend the Constitution and the law.

Fortunately, the same Uganda Constitution provides in Chapter 1 Section 4 for the Promotion of public awareness of the Constitution by the state- as follows:

The State shall promote public awareness of this Constitution by –

(a) translating it into Ugandan languages and disseminating it as widely as possible; and

(b) providing for the teaching of the Constitution in all educational institutions and armed forces training institutions and regularly transmitting and publishing programs through the media generally.

This noble duty has never been undertaken by the state. As a result many citizens have not performed their duties and many do not uphold and defend the Constitution at all times.

As Ugandans it is important that we go back and set a strong foundation by ensuring that every school going child knows about the duties of a Ugandan citizen and at the very least, the Uganda Constitution should be taught in secondary schools and made part of the examination subjects in Uganda Certificate of Education.

This role falls squarely on the National Curriculum Development Centre under the Ministry of Education and Sports. At the same time Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs together with bodies like Uganda Law Reform Commission should undertake the translation of the constitution into all languages and transmitting it widely.

The Government should use the Local Councils (LCs) especially LC1 to educate the masses about the provisions of the constitution. We have a best practice to learn from and that is none other than the Uganda Bible Society that has managed to translate the Bible into many of the Ugandan languages and disseminated the translated versions of the Bible widely.

This is helping a lot in the teaching of the word of God. In the 1980s and 1990s the government came up with a clear message spearheaded by the President to fight HIV/ Aids. The government can still show leadership in educating the citizens on their duties and in promoting public awareness of the Constitution.

In all the countries we keep referring to that have now joined the middle-income countries ensured zero tolerance to corruption. I can restate a few examples that include Singapore, South Korea, China and Mauritius.

What is the political leadership going to do about the high levels of corruption? If we are to achieve Vision 2040 then it cannot be business as usual in regard to corruption. We must as a country come up with serious deterrents to make it unattractive for anybody to engage in corruption. Again the government must show leadership in fighting corruption just like it did with HIV/ Aids in the 80s and 90s.

When you talk to people in government, most of them think that revenue from oil and gas is the savior for Uganda. This mentality will lead to the collapse of other sectors that are key to human development i.e. sectors that create jobs for the citizens.

We need to focus less on oil and gas as a source of revenue for funding vision 2040 and maximally exploit other sources of revenue such as exporting Human Resources to the western world and Eastern Asia that will in the next few years be faced with aging populations; tax and non-tax revenues; Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) and government issuing long term bonds to investors.

Another way of funding the vision 2040 is to cut down on public expenditure and prioritise in the national budget the key sectors in vision 2040. For instance we need a lean cabinet and parliament.

The Presidential advisors are too many etc. Today we have many unviable districts with a huge public expenditure. The message is that we need to critically review public sector expenditure especially in regard to the wage bill and see whether we can do away with some of the public service employees.

So there is need to fast track devolution of powers from the central government to the regional tier governments so that some of the powers decentralized to the small districts can be handled at the regional government level.

This will greatly cut on the public expenditure. For instance you don’t need engineering and planning departments at district level– these can be at regional government level.

The countries in developed world and the middle-income countries have their budgets developed by experts and politicians are involved at approval stage.

In Uganda we need to take out the politicians out of the initial budgeting process that allocates funds to the different sectors because politicians are more concerned with the short-term gains like winning elections yet the long term planning and corresponding financial allocations is what will propel Uganda into a middle-income country.

In Uganda the word technocrat has different meaning from the 1st world and middle-income countries. For example a Permanent Secretary is supposed to be a technocrat but it is common to find a Permanent Secretary in a Ministry where he/she does not have expertise.

The issue of technical staff in ministries, authorities and agencies needs to be sorted out. Later we need to sort out the issue of technical expertise at ministerial level i.e. appoint ministers in ministries where they have expertise in order to effectively guide policy in the sector. The level of training of the Permanent Secretaries and Ministers need not be emphasized.

To emphasize this point further, we all know that Uganda has had excellent government plans, policies and programs but the problem has been implementation. Human resource is key in the implementation and must be carefully chosen.

This is the case in the 1st world and middle-income countries and Kenya is following suit by appointing technical Principal Secretaries (Permanent Secretaries in the Ugandan case) and technical Secretaries/ ministers to serve as Managers/ CEOs of the Ministries.

Furthermore, it is scientifically proven that human beings begin to slow down at the age of 55. That is why in countries where there is retirement age it is around 60 years. After 55 years, it is recommended that one engages in less stressful jobs like serving as a judge, professor, advisor etc. In view of the tasks ahead of Vision 2040, Permanent Secretaries and Cabinet Ministers jobs will be very stressful.

Once again it is good to borrow a leaf from the 1st world and middle-income countries like USA, UK, Austria, China, Singapore, South Korea and Mauritius and ensure that multi generation workforce fills these positions.

In this regard, as a country if we are to work towards achieving vision 2040 Uganda’s cabinet should be structured along proposals like 10% of the cabinet being in their 30s, 40% in their 40s, 40% in their 50s and 10% aged 60 and above.

In addition we need to ensure regional balanceso that everybody feels included in the transformative team of our dear country.

More than 50% of the patients that go to hospitals/ clinics contract diseases as a result of poor sanitation and taking contaminated water. Increasing access to clean fresh water and improving on the sanitation would drastically reduce the health budget.

As a country we need to prioritise health services and access to clean fresh water; education;job creation; infrastructure including energy, roads and railways; and modernization of agriculture to position Uganda as a leading world food basket. We may construct dams and build roads but without focusing on health and education we shall not have healthy and skilled people and hence no job creation and finally we shall not have human development.

There is also need to fix a minimum wage if we are to ensure fair income distribution among all the citizens.

As per Vision 2040 Uganda’s population is projected to reach 61.3m in 2040 from 32.9m in 2010. The last 27 years have witnessed rapid population growth with the population today standing at an estimated 35 million people about three times the population of 1986.

Today we have a much young population compared to 1986, i.e. 27 years ago. In 2040, i.e. 27 years from today the young population of today is going to cause a population explosion and Uganda’s population is expected to triple and exceed 100 million people in 2040 unless the government comes up with clear population growth controls like instituting a law on the number of children per family.

Unplanned population growth will exert negative pressure on the meager resources and retard growth and finally lead to failure to achieve Vision 2040.

By 2020 several large and medium companies in the western world and East Asia will have gone global and Africa is one place that is likely to benefit most as a result of the young population if it’s skilled.

Global businesses require internationally acceptable regulations and laws. Uganda needs to review existing laws and createnew laws that guarantee a conducive environment for a global workforce. A country that has laws that infringe on the human rights of the global citizens will most likely keep away global companies.

As a country we need to put in place critical systems like a national data bank/ national identification system and land registration system, immigration system, health system etc. These will enable all the key sectors in the performance of their duties.

Finally, I would like to end with this excellent quote from the NDP 2010/11-2014/15 forward by H.E. The President of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni:

‘’ During the Plan period, the investment priorities will include: physical infrastructure development mainly in energy, railway, waterways and air transport; Human resources development in areas of education, skills development, health, water and sanitation; facilitating availability and access to critical production inputs especially in agriculture and industry; and promotion of science, technology and innovation.

I call upon all Ugandans to embrace the principles stated in the NDP and apply them in the development and implementation of national programmes and projects. While respective Government sectors will align their policies and strategies with the NDP, I urge the private sector, civil society and academia to work together with Government and to align their development efforts towards achieving the NDP objectives and the country’s Vision’’

The author is the Vice Chancellor of Uganda Technology and Management University (UTAMU).


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