The panelists of the monthly Economic Forum of Makerere University Business School (MUBS), this week, disagreed on the Government’s claim that the population will attain the middle income status by 2020.
Addressing the Forum, Dr. Joseph Muvawala, the Executive Director of the National Planning Authority (NPA), averred that, “We are unlikely to achieve the middle income status by 2020, because the assumptions on which the plan depends on that have been missed.” Unlike Muwavala, the research fellow of the EPRC, Dr. Madina Guloba, countered that to achieve it, “You only need a few very rich people, you don’t need everyone to reach the middle income status.”
This was on the basis of the presentation made by Vincent Barenga, from Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) on the 2016/2017 “Key findings of the Uganda National Household Survey on the Implications for Middle Income Status Aspirations.”
The UBOS survey there is now a high level of inequalities in the population. For, instance, the poverty levels show increase from 19% inn 2012/13 to 27%. A third of the population of close to 40 million people has an “unacceptable level of food consumption”, in essence saying that they are starving, which also represents a low level of dietary diversity.
UBOS statistics also show that as there is a poor money saving culture, it rests on a population where 94% of the households using firewood for cooking. Moreover, a high 14% of the population is children labourers where only 5% have access to extension work as opposed to 21% previously. This is against a background of wages as low as 30,000/= paid to house-help workers.
Also addressing, the Forum, a brainchild of Economics Lecturer, Ramathan Ggoobi, was the Deputy Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee of on National Economy, Lawrence Bategeka, said that the problem in the economy is not addressing the distribution of income. “At the end of the day, you will not address the redistribution channels where the middle income status is supposed to address the levels in the economy,” he said.