By Innocent Anguyo
THE Government is drafting two policies to manage migration within and outside Uganda to spur economic transformation.
David Apollo Kazungu, the commissioner for refugees in the Office of the Prime Minister said the development of the National Migration Policy (NMP) and the National Diaspora (ND) Policy were in advanced stages.
The NMP is expected to comprehensively respond to migration issues that have bearing on the socio-economic, cultural and political development of the country.
The policy is aimed at providing an enabling, predictable and secure environment for the legal and orderly movement of persons from, to and within Uganda.
According to the 2002 Uganda Population and Housing Census Analytical Report, 1,349,400 Ugandans migrated internally.
Makerere University don Paul Bukuluki attributes the internal migrations to a variety of reasons including search of better economic opportunities.
“For the Karimojong, a primarily agro-pastoralist population and who inhabit the remote sub-region of Karamoja, migration is an integral and critical element of their livelihood. Faced with acute environmental, political and economic shocks, many Karimojong, particularly those of Bokora ethnicity including children, have migrated to urban centres,” says Bukuluki.
Meanwhile, the National Diaspora (ND) Policy is expected to provide a framework that will mobilise Ugandans in the Diaspora to actively participate in the transformation of Uganda.
The overall objective of this policy is to “unbind constraints that affect the dignity and full participation of Ugandans in the Diaspora in national development”.
The World Bank notes that remittances from diaspora have drastically increased in the last five years.
The World Bank 2011 statistics established that, in 1999, only $200m (about sh502b) remittances were received in Uganda, however by 2011; an estimate of $900m (about sh2.2trillion) was registered within the country.
The policy also aims to pro- mote and enhance measures that will improve economic interests of Ugandans in the Diaspora, including protection of their business and properties, and education qualification verification.
In recent years Ugandans in the Diaspora have lost money in botched business deals and have lost property to their relatives and fraudsters.
The policy is further expected to promote resource mobilisation for national development and enhance necessary coordination and administrative mechanisms for diaspora issues in Uganda.
Developing Ugandan consulates as one stop centres for diaspora services in their host countries is another critical objective of the policy.
There is still a large information gap between Ugandans abroad and the country.
The recently released Uganda Migration Profile reveals that 628,845 Ugandans lived outside the country in 2013.
The Uganda migration profile, the first of its kind was published by the International Organisation of Migration (IOM).
IOM provides support in meeting the operational challenges of migration.