KAMPALA — As Uganda continues to battle with the effects of COVID-19 crisis, experts say that the answer to revamp the struggling economy lies in urgent reforms.
“Our economy was flourishing until we were hit by the coronavirus. This means that government has to quickly institute urgent reforms such as the education system which is urgent now more than ever. The challenge before us is the youth and unemployment. This is a result of the education system since it’s not practical. Education in Uganda is about cramming and passing for exams which deprive a student of the skill to propel intellectual thinking,” Mr. Walter Atiko a Ugandan Economist based in the UK told PML Daily on Friday.
He said that Ugandan economy depended on three key aspects namely; coffee, tourism and remittances from diaspora.
Previously every year, coffee fetched Uganda 1.3 billion dollars, with tourism at 1.5 billion dollars and diaspora remittance stood at 1.9 billion dollars. All these are key components of Uganda’s economy before we were hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
He added that one thing that African governments ought to know is the fact that the Western World will never come to change their countries they only do if they have an interest and the interest is not for the benefit of an African government.
For instance, he says if the economy of an African country is in shambles, they will not offer any help but just watch in silence as things go bad.
According to him, there is need for government to come up with a stimulus package to save the country as this will enable the population to contribute to the revival of the economy instead of leaving all the responsibility to only government.
“Currently, Ugandans don’t have money in their pockets because the impact of the pandemic has really hit them hard and they have been unemployed so they have no money to spend at their own leisure like travelling, shopping, hanging out etc. The other thing that government can also is to stimulate the economy the aggregate demand especially at the lower end of the economy. When the people have money they are able to apportion it into different sectors and hence contributing to the economy,” he notes.
“Recently I heard from one gentleman called Mukiibi who was advising government to give a 10 year tax holiday but this is very dangerous because how do you guarantee that an investor may not run away and never return to pay the accrued taxes,” he noted adding that Ugandans should stop panicking and start working to help restore the economy. Such advice is not valid because if taxes are not paid then how will government provide services to the people and where will Uganda Revenue Authority realize its revenue as they may be rendered redundant,” said Atiko.