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Poverty, income inequality top Ugandans’ household level problems

Poverty in Uganda is an important issue as an appreciable number of people in Uganda, specifically rural people are below the poverty line. (FILE PHOTO)

KAMPALA – Poverty remains an entrenched problem in Uganda even when economic growth has held steady at around 5% in recent years, a new report has said.

The report entitled Twaweza’s; New Sauti za Wanainchi survey says the growth has not reached everyone confirming Uganda Bureau of Statistics that people living in poverty now stands at 10 million up from 6.6 million.

This comes at the time a government report by Uganda National Household Survey 2016/17 released in September 2017 showed that poverty has gone up by about eight percent(8%), increasing the rate of helplessness in the country.

The report says poverty and economic concerns are also high on citizens’ list of problems facing their households and that one out of five households say their income is sufficient to cover their daily needs and the three most cited household level problems all revolve around poverty.

The Twaweza’s; New Sauti za Wananchi survey further confirms that there is still a wide income inequality between men and women with the latter earning lesser and that with widening inequality, the women are concentrated in the lower quintiles of the poor.

“This means continued marginalization and limited decision-making process,”.

The report produced in June says there is a considerable variation in experiences of food security across Uganda to the level that a number of people going without food for a whole day remain high across groups.

“In both urban (45%) and rural (51%) areas, and in wealthier households (39%) as well as poorer ones (60%), Ugandans often go hungry,” says the report in part.

According to the report, one out of four citizens (26%) say the most serious problem facing their own household is poverty/inequality, while one out of eight mention hunger/drought (15%) or the high cost of living (14%).

“And the public services are the next problem with water standing at 13%, health at 10% and education at 9%,” adds the report.

“There are also high levels of dissatisfaction with the country’s trends on corruption (80%) and employment (71%) but the majority of the people (62%) are satisfied with the country’s progress on improving security,” says the report by Twaweza.

This comes at the time the results of the Uganda National Household Survey 2016/17 also indicated that the national poverty level has increased from 19.7 per cent in the financial year 2012/13 to 21.4 per cent in 2016/2017.

According to UBOS statistics, this puts the total number of poor Ugandans who cannot afford three meals a day to eight million.

The report is a product of Twaweza’s new Sauti za Wananchi survey, a nationally-representative, high-frequency mobile phone panel survey collected from 1,925 respondents in the first round of calls to the Sauti za Wananchi panel, conducted between 6 and 13 October 2017.

Uganda is retrogressing in the empowerment of women because women in influential positions especially in “parliament and cabinet are only serving power and their own interests rather standing up for the needs of the peers.”

Other findings

The report indicates that the most serious problems facing Ugandan households today are financial and that five out six Ugandans are dissatisfied with how the national economy is being managed.

One out of 6 citizens have a bank account, one out of three citizens in Uganda have borrowed money from a financial institution in the past five years and that two out of three citizens use mobile money services and have satisfaction with mobile money services is high.

However, Mr David Bahati, the state minister of Planning, while launching the report said government has many plans for fighting poverty amongst Ugandans.

“And this time we don’t want to just to be doing planning. We want to implement the plans and those criticizing us should just join us and show us how to better implement our plans,” he said

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