IMF Boss Advises Uganda to Re-prioritize, Improve Accountability

The Managing Director of International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde (L) and President Yoweri Museveni (R) hold bilateral talks shortly before the press briefing at State House Entebbe on Friday afternoon

Uganda’s economy has the potential to grow significantly, shop only if the right priorities are selected and the existing bottlenecks like accountability and efficiency are dealt with, symptoms the Managing Director of International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde has said.

She added that the government must also improve access to basic social needs among them health and education which catalyze economic growth.

Ms. Largade made the observations Friday afternoon during a news conference that she addressed jointly with President Yoweri Museveni at State House Entebbe.

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This was shortly after the two held bilateral talks along with the Minister of Finance, discount the Governor Bank of Uganda Tumusiime Mutebile and other officials.

“Uganda is at a point of growing significantly better if it works on the right priorities. We discussed infrastructure development which is critical. But some bottlenecks like accountability and efficiency need to be addressed with solid implementation,” she stated.

She however praised the “richness of Ugandan women” but was quick to add that; “they need to be secured from domestic violence and given access to finance if they are to thrive and support the economy.”

Earlier, Lagarde gave credit to the current leadership for driving Uganda’s economy from an era of political instability to poverty reduction.

President Museveni hailed IMF for assisting Uganda in controlling inflation pressures and linking it to development partners.

He said; “IMF has taught us liberalization and we encouraged the private sector to come in which has relieved the state of many problems.”

Responding to a question by journalists on Uganda’s absorption capacity in regard to debt sustainability, Museveni noted; “Our problem are our people (civil servants) who are asleep. How can you have a problem of absorption when there’s a need?”

The President warned; “We are not going to tolerate both the bureaucracy and such civil servants. It is curable. We shall replace them.”

Both Museveni and Lagarde underscored the need for countries like Uganda to partake of regional integration for trade opportunities and development, however the IMF chief stressed;

“Don’t rush to integrate. Do it step by step and make sure the steps you have taken are solid and sustainable. Priority should be given to infrastructure integration, market integration and custom integration.”

Lagarde arrived in Uganda on Wednesday evening for a 3 day official visit whose purpose is anchored on understanding Uganda’s economic agenda.


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