Uganda's economy is among the few in the world that has continued to grow positively despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The state minister for finance, David Bahati, said Uganda's economy has continued to grow at a positive growth rate of 3% against a target of 7%.
Bahati said many economies in the world were growing negatively such as the USA.
In an interview, he said the major sectors that have been affected are the vulnerable sectors such as tourism. Adding that sectors like agriculture have continued to grow despite the pandemic.
"We have invested sh1trillion in areas like the Uganda Development Bank to lend cheaply, sh100b in Uganda Development Corporation to grow various sectors of the economy," Bahati said.
He added that companies that borrow from the Uganda Development Bank will be given a grace period of about a year before they start paying the loans, which are at low interest rates.
He said many Ugandans were still in the subsistence sector earning little money and need to be supported to get into a cash economy.
Bahati said the Uganda Bureau of Statistics needs to produce administrative statistics that can help politicians know what is happening in their constituencies.
"Such information can include the number of children growing to school, the income levels which politicians can use to lobby the government for support," he stated.
He said that Members of Parliament can use data that matters for the development of the country.
Experts stress the importance of data driven evidence in formulating policies, laws and regulations.
They note that evidence based policies do not guarantee effective implementation of policies hence the need for continuous government follow-up for uptake, the need for functioning institutions, the political will and commitment to implement policies and programs.
Dr Sarah Ssewanyana, the Executive Director of Economic Policy Research Centre while commenting on the role of data in a separate interview noted that Micro Small and Medium size Enterprises (MSMEs) in Uganda account for 90% of the employment, growth and poverty reduction and have suffered most in the COVID 19 pandemic.
Ssewanyana said that given that most women are predominantly employed in these informal enterprises, this is likely to worsen the gender inequalities in the country
She said the national statistical system has no data on these MSMEs hence investing in expansion data collection system on MSMEs is a worthwhile and timely investment.
She stressed that although a stimulus package has been rolled out by the government, this support was likely to benefit a few medium and large scale enterprises at the expense of small enterprises.
Accordingly, providing evidence will assess the effects of the interventions on the MSMEs, particularly on how MSME operations are being impacted by the stimulus packages.