Features

Key Highlights from the NRM Manifesto

Duncan Abigaba

On the 6th November, view link http://chat.novaintermed.ro/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-posts-list-table.php the NRM unveiled its manifesto for 2016-2021.

A manifesto is a policy document that an organization or individual sells to the electorate to convince them for support. When the organization or individual wins an election, approved thumb they implement policies proposed in that policy document.

The NRM manifesto was anchored on five broad areas of democracy and good governance, cost economy, physical infrastructure, human source development and regional integration and international relations.

As the NRM seek for a fresh mandate from Ugandans, we need to highlight the key achievements from the last manifesto.

Uganda’s economy has been growing at various rates of 3.4%, 6.0%, 4.7% and 5.3% in financial years 2011/2012, 2012/2013, 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 respectively. The economy is projected to grow at 5.8% in the 2015/2016 financial year and is projected to grow at 6.5% for the next five years.

The economy is valued at Shs. 75.183 trillion ($25b). The Shilling has weakened majorly due to; the strengthening of the US dollar against other international currencies we trade with, and importing more than we exportdue to on-going works on Karuma and Isimba hydro power stations and other road works like the Entebbe Express Highway.

Interest rates have remained a bit high at 20.1%, majorly due to; limited supply of long term capital in the economy, and lack of trust among the borrowers characterized by high default rates and non-performing loans.

Since 2006, the NRM government has emphasized spending on infrastructure development rather than consumption. Since, the budget for ministry of works has increased from Shs. 374.15b in 2006/2007 to Shs. 3.328 trillion in 2015/2016. $338.4m of the energy fund has been put down as the government contribution towards the construction of Karuma and Isimba hydro power stations.

Government has also put Ushs. 170b in the Science Innovation Fund. Several roads have also been completed for example; Tororo-Mbale-Soroti and Jinja-Kamuli in the east, Hoima-Kaiso-Tonya and Buteraniro-Ntungamo in the west, Kampala-Masaka and Namanve Industrial Park Access Road in Central Uganda and Vurra-Arua-Koboko-Oraba and Gulu-Atiak in the north.

Ongoing road projects include;Kawempe-Kafu, Mukono-Jinja, Entebbe Expressway, Kampala-Northern Bypass Phase 2, Mpigi-Kanoni, Luuku-Kalangala andMukono-Katosi/Kisoga-Nyenga in the central,Atiak-Nimule, Karuma-Kamudini, Kamudini-Gulu, Acholibur-Kitgum-Musingo, Olwiyo-Gulu in the north, Ntungamo-Katuna, Ishaka-Kagamba, Mbarara Bypass, Ntungamo-Mirama Hills, Kamwenge-FortPortal, Kafu-Kiryandongo, Kiryandongo-Karuma in the west, and Moroto-Nakapiripirit in the east. Entebbe International Airport is also undergoing reconstruction.

The scope of work includes construction of a new cargo centre, new passenger terminal, strengthening runways and replacement of navigation aids. This will cost $325m and the money has already been secured.

The government is embarking on an ambitious $3.2b project of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) that will be linking Uganda to Kenya, South Sudan and Rwanda.Electricity generation has increased from 595MW in 2011 to 851.5MW currently.

Since 2011, national electricity access has increased from 11% to 14% in 2014. Rural electricity has increased from 4% to 7% while power losses have reduced from 27% to 20%.

The ICT sector currently employs 1.3 million people and generated up to Shs. 416.7 billion in 2014, contributing to 2% of GDP.

By January, 2015, 30 public offices were connected to NationalBackbone Infrastructure (NBI) and received high speed internet bandwidth. This has reduced government expenditure by Shs. 5.287b.

In the coming financial year, additional 60 offices will be added, reducing expenditure by Shs. 9,347b.

The legal framework for the management of Oil and Gas resources has been finalized. These include the enactment of the Petroleum (refining, gas conversion, transmission and mainstream storage) Act 2013, The Petroleum Exploration, Development and Production Act 2013 and the Public Finance Management Act 2015.

Establishment of the National Oil Company and Petroleum Authority of Uganda are also being finalized to ensure efficient management of Oil and Gas resources. Land acquisition for the proposed $8b refinery at Kabale in Hoima is almost complete.

The environmental impact assessment for the oil refinery has also been completed. This is a 60,000 barrel per day, refinery, expandable to 120,000 barrels per day. Considering the prevailing prices of $60 per barrel, Uganda will be earning $3b annually.

Under human resource development, government has enhanced the skills development programme by injecting additional Shs. 5.9b into the Skilling Uganda project.There are ongoing works on the construction of the National High Altitude Centre in Kapchorwa and Akii-Bua Olympic Stadium in Lira.

In this financial year, salaries for all lecturers of public universities have been increased by additional funding of Shs. 50b. For example, the Professor’s pay will increase from Shs. 4.1m to Shs. 6.3m.

There is increased access to tertiary education by expanding the student loan scheme with an additional allocation of Shs. 6b for loans to 1,000 new degree students and 200 diploma students.

With support from the World Bank, government is reconstructing and rehabilitating nine major hospitals ofMoroto, Nebbi,Anaka, Moyo,Mityana, Nakaseke, Entebbe and Iganga.

Over the last five years, government rehabilitated and expanded facilities at Jinja, Mbale, Soroti, Masaka, FortPortal, Mbarara, Kabale, Hoima, Lira, Gulu and Moroto hospitals.

There is on-going construction of Kawempe and Kiruddu hospitals in order to decongest Mulago. This will be completed next year. There is on-going construction, rehabilitation and equipping of Mulago hospital which will be completed in December 2016.

In order to curb absenteeism, construction of staff houses has been completed at Kabale, Masaka, Hoima and Arua regional referral hospitals.

There is ongoing construction of similar houses at Mulago, Hoima, Soroti and Mulagohospitals. Government has also undertaken skills development for health workers.

Under a bursary scheme, 500 midwives have been trained, 200 health workers trained in medicines and logistics management, 107 in data management while 296 in integrated diseases surveillance.

Under peace and security, government has actively enhanced the capacity of Uganda’s armed forces in order to safeguard peace and security of Ugandans and their property.

Consequently, UPDF and other security agencies have strengthened through; recruitment and training of personnel, acquisition of advanced and modern equipment, undertaking peacekeeping missions, defence diplomacy and conflict resolution as well as improving welfare through provision of accommodation, medical facilities and access to credit.

By Duncan Abigaba

The writer is a Deputy Presidential Assistant in-charge of Research and Information.

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