Tuesday, June 7, 2011
MUSEVENI'S ASSUMED GROWTH FIGURES FOR UGANDA'S ECONOMY ARE SIMPLY ILLUSIONARY
Museveni is an expert at using figures to convince donors to give him more money. The unfortunate bit is that Ugandans who understand what is going on just shake their heads. Just before the President delivered the State of the Nation Address, in Mityana the man in charge of the district roads was knocked down and he died there and then. When fellow staff went to collect his body from the Government Hospital at Mityana, it is said that the mortuary attendant was no where no the Doctor to undertake the postmortem. By midday when more staff invaded the hospital is when the doctor came and did what was expected of him. This is the decay we are telling Museveni to address, he can continue giving his growth figures, those help him and his donors, but the local Ugandan is simply fed up with a Government that has failed to deliver. The people want no excuses from Museveni of long term strategies to better their welfare, what they want is to see him reduce on the amount of money his Government is draining from them to feed the unnecessary big administrative infrastructure that he has created more so in the recent past. The other day a Germany got his child die at birth in Jinja hospital simply because of the negligence of the staff. But when you trace the problem it falls back to Government. Even if you are a technical person there is no shop where they give you things because you are a doctor or a nurse. You will not go to a school and ask the head teacher to admit your child because you are a doctor. So, we the locals call for a sense of understanding of Museveni's Government. he has milked all possible from the people, and that is why whenever people have chance to express themselves they do so and can be quite dangerous. It is easy to see how Govt. has re-enforced the Police logistics, but what about the take home pay? Does it make sense to assume that the Police men can be there without being corrupt. Any 'reasonable Ugandan' who has obligations to sort will simply resort to corruption to sort these simply because Government has failed in its duty.
When President Museveni came to office in 1986, the way he talked looked like no body would ever steal Government money, but it is now clear that there is good will from Government or call it a blessing that corruption is the way of life. All the figures are clear, does it never get to those in Government to figure out hw people manage to survive? It looks simple logic, and Government has to simply use fiscal and monetary instruments to ease life for the people.
This business of taking away whatever people earn in form of taxes and expect the people to take their children to ill facilitated schools can not do for those who think their children should have a future. The way forward is to have policies like was the UPC time which would help all people no a few families as Museveni seems to experiment. By this time President Museveni should have known that his continued stay in office is a liability. There is away to help Ugandans by having workable policies that can help them out of poverty not the NRM gambles.
William Kituuka Kiwanuka
President Museveni's state of the nation Address:
President Museveni delivers the State of the Nation Address in Kampala yesterday. PHOTO BY GEOFFREY SSERUYANGE.
Posted Wednesday, June 8 2011 at 00:00
President Museveni delivered the State of the Nation Address, below is a slightly edited version of the speech.
Madam Speaker, under Article 101 (1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, the President is required, at the beginning of each Session of Parliament, to deliver to Parliament an address on the State of the Nation. This afternoon Madam Speaker, I am here to do two things.
First, I am here to fulfill the constitutional obligation by giving accountability of what has been done since the last address which I delivered on June 2, 2010.
Secondly, I wish to apprise you Madam Speaker, Hon Members of Parliament and the country, of the plans and strategies of the government for the next 12 months.
Madam Speaker, permit me to congratulate all the Hon Members of Parliament upon being elected to the 9th Parliament. I congratulate you Madam Speaker and your Deputy upon your election to your respective prestigious positions. I congratulate you, the Leader of the Opposition, upon your elevation to an essential office in democratic governance. I congratulate all those who have been elected to various levels of responsibility.
The political scene
Madam Speaker, on February 18, 2011 we held Presidential and Parliamentary Elections. These were followed by elections at various levels. I congratulate all Ugandans upon their peaceful and active participation in the electoral process. I also congratulate the Electoral Commission for a job well done. Where there was violence, it was the exception rather than the norm. I thank all Ugandans who participated and contributed positively to the success of the elections.
I call upon the Electoral Commission and all stakeholders directly concerned, to study, in depth, the various reports that have come up on the electoral process. The following must be of particular interest, among others:
* The management of the Voters’ Register, which I believe will be improved with the issuance of the National Identity Cards in the near future;
* The printing of Voters’ Cards and their security; and
* Voter education in the light of a high percentage of spoilt votes.
Madam Speaker and Hon Members, we should congratulate ourselves upon funding fully both the Presidential and Parliamentary elections. We did not ask donors for a single coin for the 2011 elections.
Madam Speaker, while we congratulate the winners in these elections, I wish also to thank those who did not make it, for their participation. I implore them to continue to actively contribute to the development process of our nation as they prepare to try again in the next elections. Those who feel strongly that they did not lose fairly, should seek redress in courts of law.
Madam Speaker and Hon Members, we must embrace all democratic principles within our respective political parties. Discipline is as important for democracy as it is for the management of our political parties. Democracy and discipline should be enshrined in all our political parties’ constitutions and regulations.
Constitutionalism and the Rule of Law
Madam Speaker and Honourable Members, I would like to re-affirm the National Resistance Movement Government’s total and firm commitment to the rule of law in the management of all public affairs of this country. Let us all remind ourselves that while Chapter Four of our Constitution is elaborate on the Promotion and Protection of Fundamental and other Human Rights and Freedoms, those rights and freedoms are NOT ABSOLUTE, hence the provisions of Article 43(1) that: “In the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms prescribed in this Chapter, no person shall prejudice the fundamental or other human rights and freedoms of others or the public interest.”
Equally important, under Article 17 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, duties of a citizen include, among others, the duty to respect the rights and freedoms of others, to protect and preserve public property and the duty to co-operate with lawful agencies in the maintenance of law and order. General limitations on fundamental and other human rights and freedoms are spelt out in Article 43 (1 and 2). Let us all exercise and enjoy our rights and freedoms within the confines of law.
State of the economy
Madam Speaker and Honourable Members, on June 8, 2011, Uganda, like the other four partner states forming the East African Community, will be reading her Budget for the Financial Year 2011/12. The Budget Speech will give a detailed background to the economic outlook of our country.
Real sector performance
Uganda’s economy rebounded strongly in the first half of Financial Year 2010/11, recording a growth rate of 9 per cent in the July - December 2010 period. Between July–September 2010 an annual growth rate of 5.1 per cent was registered, while a 15.1 per cent annual growth rate was registered in October–December 2010.
The Industry and Services sectors grew by 17.6 per cent and 13.6 per cent respectively, in the two quarters. The month-on-month growth rate of economic activity in bricks and cement, saw-milling, paper and printing, as well as food processing was 8 per cent in December 2010.
This overall economic performance of 9.1 per cent in the first half of the current financial year was better than that registered during the entire Financial Year 2009/10, which was estimated at 5.2 per cent, as Uganda emerged from the global economic crisis. The economic performance is still substantially higher than global and regional economic growth prospects estimated at 2.5 per cent and 4.5 per cent respectively.
The Ugandan economy was expected to grow by 6.6 per cent for the whole of the Financial Year 2010/11, with forecast for future years exceeding 7 per cent per annum.
Madam Speaker, Uganda’s balance of payments with the external world continued to be constrained as a result of slower growth of exports, tourism receipts and remittances in the face of increased imports. This phenomenon is characteristic for exports given the on-going recovery from the global economic crisis by some of Uganda’s major trading partners. Imports on the other hand, are structurally dependent on domestic needs, such as oil and petroleum products.
Though export receipts increased in January 2011 to $211.6 million from $129 million in February 2010, imports were twice as much at $418.9 million, compared to export receipts of $328.8 million in February, 2010.
Formal non-coffee exports receipts that registered the largest increments include simsim, tea, cotton and fish. Uganda’s National Foreign Exchange Reserves amounted to $2.662 billion in January 2011 representing 4.6 months of import cover, compared to $2.812 billion and $2.498 billion in December and June 2010, respectively representing 5.2 and 4.9 months of import cover.
The Inter-Bank Foreign Exchange mid-rate in February 2011 was Shs2,341.9 per Dollar compared to Shs2,303.9 per Dollar in December 2010 and Shs2,257.3 per Dollar in June 2010. The continued depreciation of the Uganda shilling is in line with increased import demand in the face of weak export performance that has not fully recovered from the global economic crisis.
Weighted average interest rates have remained stable over the period under consideration. The lending rates in January 2011 were at 20.1 per cent compared to the same level in June 2010 and the savings rate remained at 2.4 per cent during January 2011.
Treasury Bill rates exhibited increases between June 2010 and January 2011 as Bank of Uganda sought to stem excess liquidity. Consequently, the interest rate on the 91-day Treasury Bill rate increased to 9.1 per cent compared to 4.3 per cent, the 182-day Treasury Bill interest rate rose to 9.4 per cent compared to 5.3 per cent; and the 364-day Treasury Bill increased to 9.8 per cent compared to 6.2 per cent.
Private Sector Credit continued to grow at 35.9 per cent between July, 2010 and January, 2011 amounting to an average of Shs689 billion per month, compared to Shs438 billion per month between July, 2009 and January,2010.
Revenue collections amounted to Shs3,281.2 billion against the target of Shs3,277.4 billion at the end of February 2011, representing growth of 20.1 per cent compared to the same period last financial year and a marginal surplus of Shs24 billion between July 2010 and March 2011.
The annual headline inflation rate (all items) for the year ending April, 2011 rose to 14.1 per cent from 11.1 per cent in March, 2011. The main driver of price increases remained food price inflation, which increased by 39.3 per cent. Fuel prices inflation stabilised remaining at 9.74 per cent in April, 2011. The recent increase in prices has been driven by a combination of domestic, regional and global factors, including poor rainfall and drought that affected food production and, consequently, food prices.
The loss of value (depreciation) of the Uganda shilling affected prices. The depreciation of the Uganda shilling in turn, has been caused by the following three factors:
* Speculative tendencies in the run-up to the 2011 General elections;
* Slower growth of exports, tourism receipts and remittances, even while imports kept increasing; and by
* Continued increase in imports that are necessities, such as oil and petroleum products.
The Uganda shilling however, has been strengthening over the last few weeks as speculative pressures that emerged during the election period subside, giving relief for prices of imported goods and petroleum products. Government is committed to ensuring the stability of the Uganda shilling, as was shown by the active intervention by Bank of Uganda to mitigate volatility in the foreign exchange market.
Madam Speaker and Hon Members of Parliament, the recent rise in prices can also be explained by imported global inflation. On the regional and international scene, Uganda’s major trading partners have recently been facing a surge in commodity prices, particularly for oil and food prices. Indeed, world food prices have risen by 36 per cent, according to the World Bank.
In comparison, within the Eastern African Region, Kenya registered increases in overall inflation of 9.9 per cent in March, 2011 with annual food and fuel-related inflation rising by 15.9 per cent and 15.89 per cent respectively.
This followed a 6.5 per cent annual inflation which Kenya registered in February, 2011. Tanzania registered an annual inflation rate of 7.5 per cent in February, 2011 rising from 6.4 per cent in January, 2011.
Ethiopia’s annual inflation rate dipped to 16.5 per cent in February from 17.7 per cent in the January, 2011 as food prices rose more slowly. Food prices in Ethiopia rose by 12.8 per cent during February, 2011, slightly down from an increase of 13.6 per cent in January, 2011.
Zambia’s annual rate of inflation increased to 9.2 per cent in March, 2011 on account of increases in prices of non-food items such as fuel and transportation, lighting and clothing, even though food prices declined as the harvest period commenced.
Government measures to deal with inflation
Madam Speaker, measures to mitigate current inflation trends are packaged into short-term, and medium- to- long term actions, including the provision of energy and road infrastructure. In addition, critical measures that have a dampening impact on the rapid rise in both food and fuel prices have been put in place. Furthermore, it must be recognised that the government does not impose any tax on food items produced and consumed in Uganda. The only taxes on food are taxes on rice and sugar. These are meant to protect local production and, consequently, jobs.
STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS - MUSEVENI TO OFFER OLD PROMISES
1 June 2010
Kampala — The President promised economic growth, fighting corruption and building the 250MW Bujagali Hydro-Power Station and the US$1 billion Karuma Hydro-Power Project.
Information from the Ministry of Energy shows work on the Bujagali Dam is three months behind schedule and financing for the Karuma project has not materialized.
On corruption, Parliament passed the Whistle Blower's Bill but no action has been taken on the Public Accounts Committee report on CHOGM which pins Vice President and Ministers Sam Kuteesa, (Foreign Affairs), Amama Mbabazi (Security), John Nasasira (Works), Hope Mwesigye (Agriculture), Khiddu Makubuya (Justice/Attorney General), John Byabagambi (Works), Isaac Musumba (Regional Cooperation), Mwesigwa Rukutana (Gender). They are accused of abuse of office and misuse of funds meant for the organisation of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2007.
On the economy, Museveni said the economy which grew by 7 percent in 2008/9 would remain robust. However, the IMF's latest Regional Economic Outlook indicated that the economy grew at 5.6% this year with a projected growth of 6.4% in 2011.
Government Chief Whip Daudi Migereko, says Museveni will focus on investment priorities and core projects like human resource development and, again, the development of power stations.
The old development of greater Metropolitan Kampala plan and the implementation of a Rapid Transport System contained in the Shs54 trillion National Development Plan will be presented as new.
A COMMENT ON PRESIDENT MUSEVENI'S STATE OF THE NATION SPEECH ON JUNE 2009
Museveni's State of the Nation address was hollow
Tuesday, 16 June 2009 22:26 By Bob Roberts Katende
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Last week President Yoweri Museveni delivered the state of the nation address to the country. In his address, he provided impressive figures on how the country had improved in various sectors of the economy. The president reminded the country of how the economy has stayed insulated from the world economic shock and actually still growing at a robust rate of 7.0 percent.
The mixed reactions that followed notwithstanding, many people are questioning not the rhetoric with which he delivers his speeches but the extent to which he goes in implementing what he says.
Though the President was upbeat on most of the issues he talked about as most pressing to Ugandans, a survey done by the Afrobarometer, an independent, non-partisan research instrument that surveys 20 African countries, which recently released their fourth survey on Uganda, found major discontent on a broad range of issues, like democracy which the president hardly talked about.
According to the survey, priorities differed with regions. But 43 percent of the respondents listed poverty as the most pressing issue. Although the President was happy about general performance of the economy, the study found out that 47 percent feel that the country's economic conditions today are 'worse' or'much worse' than they were one year ago.
In the President's speech, on the agricultural sector which employs the biggest percentage of Ugandans, he said it had only 'shown signs of activation.' Erute South Member of Parliament, Odit John, who is an agricultural economist, says the President's speech especially about agriculture had nothing new. 'Families haven't received any money from the cooperative societies. The prosperity for all message that has metamorphosed from Plan for Modernisation of Agriculture (PMA) in 2001 and to Naads programme, is just a political message and has so far delivered no tangible results on the ground.'He adds that, 'the six demonstration homes identified in every parish have received virtually nothing.'
The President also noted how cotton ginning had registered a remarkable recovery with an annual increase of 245 percent. But MP Odit disagrees with the President saying, there was a reduction from 250,000 bales to 65,000 bales last year.
Although the President said he will stop at nothing in implementing his programmes in the energy sector to spur industrialisation, the industrial sector only contributes 24.7 percent to the country's gross domestic product (GDP) while the agriculture sector contributes 30.2 percent to the economy with rest coming from the services sector like tourism.
The real issues that many Ugandans feel should be addressed by the government according to the Afrobarometer include poverty, unemployment, and closely behind them is health. On health, the President seemed happy about the progress in that sector especially about the construction of Health centre III and IVs. With respect to national referral hospitals, funds are now being disbursed directly to those hospitals to draw their priorities with guidance from the ministry of health.
However, the situation on the ground is far from what the President painted in those hospitals. For example, facilities at Mulago National Referral Hospital have not improved either. The hospital accommodates over 3000 beds though it was built to accommodate 1500 beds. An entry-level doctor earns about Shs 560,000 a month. Health practitioners say this partly explains why there is increased flight of doctors from Uganda to neighbouring countries where there is better pay. The little medicine available expires in stores. For example, between 2005 and 2007 drugs worth $2.4 million (Shs 4.8 billion) were simply thrown out as they had passed their expiry date.
According to the Afrobarometer study, 49 percent of respondents in northern Uganda listed food shortage/famine as the most important problem, followed by poverty/destitution with 45 percent. The Peace Recovery Development Plan (PRDP) meant to help the affected families remains a mystery as many people are still questioning what it is all about, as Bishop John Baptist Odama acknowledged in an interview with The Independent. Is it going on (PRDP) or stopping, is it suspended, what is it about?
It is fine the president mentioned the 100 billion set aside for the program, but we can only count on this if it has made its way in the ministry in charge. Money hasn't been the only problem about the recovery programs in northern Uganda but failure to implement the said programs effectively without a big chunk of it ending up in the pockets of officials.
The President reiterated his earlier claim to fight corruption. On New Year's Eve, he said: ""I am directing that emphasis on value-for-money must be strengthened, to ensure that available resources are spent well and high return public investments are given high priority. This time in parliament he said: "the position of the movement government as stated in NRM manifesto of 2006 is zero tolerance to corruption. That remains our position." Despite the presence of measures to fight corruption like the enactment of anti corruption laws, many people remain skeptical about the government's will to finally root it out. The office of the IGG which has somehow managed point a finger at corrupt officials remains in a mess but the president chose not to mention anything about it..
The national coordinator for Anti Corruption Coalition Uganda, Jasper Tumuhimbise, says the President's speech about fighting corruption was hollow. "We need something beyond rhetoric. Institutions like the court have to be facilitated by political will."
Generally, many people in the know say the President's speech offered little or nothing new as many of the issues he raised have been heard more than once. Indeed according to them, this state of the nation address will be the same as next year's.