Three years into the implementation of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) manifesto for the five-year term running from 2016 to 2021, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Co-operatives has implemented 70% of the activities under it. This is according to trade minister Amelia Kyambadde.
She says one of the major highlights of the three years implemented so far is the increase in Uganda’s exports that have registered a 31% increase from $2.68b (about sh10 trillion) in the financial year (FY) 2015/16 to $3.53b (about sh13.2trillion ) in FY2017/18. On the other hand, import earnings increased from $4.6b (in the FY2015/16 to $5.6b in FY2017/18, representing a lower increase of 19.7%, ministry statistics reveal. Uganda’s trade deficit has increased from $1.74b in FY2015/16 when the manifesto was first implemented, to $2.07b in FY2017/18.
The ministry attributes the persistent increase in the import earnings to a boost in the import of capital goods and equipment in the infrastructure projects in the energy, transport, oil and gas and industrial sectors. Though the balance of trade deficit has continued to surge, the ministry has in the three years undertaken different initiatives that are aimed at reducing the balance of trade deficit. CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON THIS STORY
UPDF ranked among best armies
Unlike previous armies, the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) has cultivated a relationship and respect for civilians, which is legendary. The national army’s professionalism is visible everywhere. “If one looks at the army that walked into Kampala in 1986 and the one the UPDF is today, there are improvements and realignments that have made it a better force.
We are not just a professional force, but a people’s army, too,” Felix Kulayigye, a Member of Parliament representing UPDF, says. In March, the UPDF General Court Martial sitting in Rwebisengo Town Council, Ntoroko district, presided over by Brig. Geoffrey Mujuni sentenced Opio Damazio to 30 years in prison and his two accomplices were jailed for five years each. Court heard that Opio, together with his accomplices, killed Robert Patrick Akugizibwe over a woman. Akuguzibwe was a resident of Hibale in Bweramule sub-county.
While delivering the judgment, Brig. Mujuni condemned the act and said the army cannot tolerate such acts of indiscipline by some of its officers. This conviction is just one example of the UPDF’s professionalism. “There was no relationship between the civilians and the army during the previous regimes, the army was violent as an institution, but it is a totally different story with the UPDF,” Tony Lukula, a resident of Mukono, says.
This year, the UPDF was ranked the 15th best army in Africa by renowned Global Fire Power group, a firm that ranks national armies throughout the world. The army has been hailed for its discipline, respect of human rights and professionalism. CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON THIS STORY