Ramathan Ggoobi is a man who likes speaking truth to power. During the recent NRM retreat in Kyankwanzi, the Makerere University Business School (MUBS) lecturer didn’t shy away from telling the 30-year old NRM government and the newly elected Members of Parliament that Uganda is at cross roads and needs to face up to the truth.
In a detailed presentation titled; Performance of Uganda’s Economy: Progress, Challenges and the Way Forward, Ggoobi argues that whereas the NRM has recorded tremendous achievements, we are not only far from attaining the goal of economic transformation, but our economic performance has lagged behind that of our neighbours.
Citing economic reforms carried by the NRM government in early 1990s, Ggoobi argues that Uganda has achieved unbalanced and unsustainable growth with a few rich people amid many jobless youth.
“These impressive outcomes arguably conceal more than they reveal. Empirical studies, for example, have found that Uganda‘s growth profile has remained jobless. The economy is growing without creating jobs. This may further be evidenced by the failure, by the economy, to undergo socio-economic structural transformation.”
Ggoobi plots the path to Uganda’s economic transformation through agricultural modernisation.
“To transform her economy and industrialise, it will require a strong, well-functioning agricultural sector. The country will have to find, first, ways of increasing the productivity of the peasant smallholder farmer.”
Whereas many senior officials have tended to liken Uganda to a country at take-off stage from a subsistence based to a middle-income country, Ggoobi takes the view that we’re still very backward and need to admit our circumstances if we want to advance.
He says: “It is my humble view that Uganda at the moment is where China was in 1978. Deng Xiaoping, on being confirmed as China‘s leader in December 1978, said, ?The basic point is: we must acknowledge that we are backward, that many of our ways of doing things are inappropriate, and that we need to change. Undoubtedly, this statement fits perfectly well in Uganda‘s prevailing situation.”
For more on Ramathan’s incisive analysis of our situation, please read the pdf version of his presentation in the following link; Paper to MPs pdf