TOURISM, agriculture and the extractive sectors will enjoy the lion’s share of public investments in the next five years, in a new development plan that seeks to drive Uganda to middle-income status by 2020
By John Odyek, Francis Kagolo and Pearl Agasha
TOURISM, agriculture and the extractive sectors will enjoy the lion’s share of public investments in the next five years, in a new development plan that seeks to drive Uganda to middle-income status by 2020.
The National Planning Authority (NPA) estimates that the key projects in these sectors require sh185 trillion over the next five years. Of this, sh100 trillion is expected to come from the public sector and the balance from the private sector in form of partnerships.
The draft development plan awaits the approval of Cabinet and Parliament ahead of implementation in the new financial year starting in July.
NPA chairperson Dr. Kisamba Mugerwa warned that the plan will only be successful if the Government aligns the annual national budgets with the plan. Mugerwa and the NPA team were addressing journalists about the completion the new development plan (NDPII) last week at their offices.
Mugerwa said it is essential that the Government focuses on particluar priority areas instead of scattering the limited resources by trying to do everything at once.
“While we don’t want to undermine the essence of decentralisation, we believe that some services can best be delivered by a cluster of districts instead of them working individually,” he said.
The mid-term review of NDPI conducted last year revealed that the limited funds to finance projects and the ineffective public sector management, corruption and bureaucracy hampered private investments and delivery of public services.
Dr. Patrick Birungi, the NPA director of development planning, explained that tourism, agriculture and minerals, oil and gas have been prioritised because they are revenue-generating sectors which, if developed, can increase the country’s resource envelope.
Agriculture employs about 72% of Ugandans and investments in the sector will boost food security and exports, according to Birungi.
Tourism, Birungi said, can provide high returns with little investment. Tourism accounts for 19.6% of Uganda's total exports.
Birungi noted that the sector has a high potential to generate more revenue and employment. Improving the road network, diversifying the tourism products beyond wildlife and investing in aggressive marketing will boost tourism, Birungi said.
NPA executive director, Dr. Joseph Muvawala called for creative approaches.
“We need a new financing mechanism for technical institutions. Technical education is very expensive,” he said.
National development plan needs sh185 trillion