Persuading investors to the key growth sectors, which shall spur industrialisation and development
By Florence Kiremerwa
The past two-and-half years during the execution of the assignment as Special Presidential Assistant on Diaspora Issues, I have demystified the perception that government services cannot be accessed without either being duped or fleeced.
For quite a while, a number of Ugandans working and living in the diaspora had lost hope and trust in the Government. To many, attainment of services such as passports, visa, work permits for their counterparts, national IDs, drivers’ licences and investing in treasury bills and bonds at the Bank of Uganda was a far-fetched dream.
However, this myth and misconceptions among the Ugandan diaspora have been allayed. The different workshops held abroad and in Kampala each December of every year, offered a platform to extend these services and have been a great success.
The programmes rolled-out and in such a short period of time, have registered positive results that we know have and shall have a spiral effect in the diverse sectors. In the two and half years a record over 15,000 Ugandans in the diaspora, who have satisfactorily applied and been granted Dual Citizenship Certificates by the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control (DCIC) at Ministry of Internal Affairs (MOIAs) in the space of a day.
For the majority of Ugandans who at a given time had been fleeced at the ministry head offices by masqueraders or fraudsters, they couldn’t believe such a service could be easily accessed and their fears have been found to be unfounded. The programme has exposed the actors and enhanced their capacity to extend their services abroad.
To-date, a number of Ugandan embassies like South Africa, the United Kingdom and in the United States of America, do now have an official from Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control (MOIA) to receive dual citizenship and passport applications attached to our embassies/High Commission’s offices to handle this service. Consequently, the exercise generated $400 from each applicant, which is a contribution to our treasury.
Today, I am certain the liaison programmes have yielded results and whereas this has been executed in the shortest time, our efforts now shall address other facets of the assignment. Meanwhile, whereas some of the civil servants have been a stumbling block in executing the programme, it has at last come to pass.
Apparently, as the SPA-D I am gratified for implementing a government programme that has yielded positive result along with the concerns of the entities we have liaised with.
My office shall now change its concerns and concentrate on efforts towards motivating Ugandans in the Diaspora and their colleagues as employers or partners in businesses abroad, to realign interests and seek for partnership ventures in the priority sectors of tourism, Investing in Bonds, agriculture, ICT and education sectors back home. The paradigm shift from hosting the numerous DUAWs, which were successful, is a pointer that now we divert our efforts, in collaboration with MDAs, and address other demanding areas as a lot needs to be done.
Persuading investors to the key growth sectors, which shall spur industrialization and development, whether by our indigenous Ugandans working and living abroad or their business partners, is ultimately the most strategic move we should endeavour to undertake as a team.
Achieving the Presidential Initiative on improving service delivery to the Diaspora in the past 2 ½ years, has not only been of benefit to Ugandan Diaspora but equally, to crediting that government can offer the necessary service when it gets committed and has a dedicated team to execute the task.
Kudos to everyone I worked with from among the various different MDAs for making my dream and the presidents wish and pledge come true!
The writer is a Special Presidential Assistant on diaspora issues