Government must devise means of addressing the country’s rising debt to safeguard the country’s future, stakeholders have said.
During regional conference on Debt in Eastern Africa in Entebbe on Wednesday, the Uganda Debt Network Executive Director, Patrick Tumwebaze, said there is a need to advocate for adoption and implementation of principles for responsible sovereign lending and borrowing.
“Our debt levels are rising again we can debate about the reasons for that official statistics say $7b some say $9b but as civil society we calculate it to $12b,” he said.
The regional conference was based on the theme; ‘Addressing core challenges arising from the management of public debt at regional level’ and Tumwebaze said there is a need for a platform to discuss rising debt levels and offer solutions addressing issues of debt sustainability.
Prof Ezra Suruma, the senior presidential advisor on planning and economic development, said even though the country borrows money to invest in the economy it’s most of the times not used due to corruption and embezzlement.
“Much of the borrowing is for infrastructure like the oil refinery, the EAC railway and crude oil pipeline but there are fears the country may be headed for a financial crisis since the money goes back in form of payment for foreign contractors,” he said.
According to the International Monetary Fund, Uganda’s public debt will keep rising due to ongoing ambitious infrastructure investments by government. Uganda is facing a problem of infrastructure deficit, which is affecting the country’s long term economic development.