Prime Minister Outlines Plans for Continued Economic Transformation

Hon. Patrick Amama Mbabazi, Prime Minister
Hon. Patrick Amama Mbabazi, Prime Minister

“The discovery of significant petroleum reserves gives us the opportunity for the long-term transformation of our country from a low-income to a mediumincome and ultimately to an industrialised country.”

Hon. Patrick Amama Mbabazi, Uganda’s 10th Prime Minister, was born in Uganda in 1949 and obtained a law degree from Makerere University in 1975. He served as an Advocate of the Courts of Judicature of Uganda and as State Attorney in the Attorney General’s Chambers and Secretary of the Uganda Law Council. Becoming involved in political affairs in the 1980s, he played a fundamental role in drafting Uganda’s 1995 Constitution. Before becoming Prime Minister last year, he served as Attorney General from 2004 to 2006 and as Minister of Defence from 2006 to May 2011. He is also the Member of Parliament for the Kinkiizi West constituency in Kanungu District, a position he has held since 2003.

Prime Minister Mbabazi often represents uganda in international meetings, including at the un security Council, and as uganda’s representative he signed the Lusaka Ceasefire agreement that ended the second Congo War in 2003. in recognition of his work, the
prime minister has been awarded the nalubale medal of honour and the Kagera medal of honour for distinguished service in the struggle against dictatorship in uganda.

Continuing to promote economic liberalisation

A member of the NRM party along with Uganda’s President, the Prime Minister has long been a strong supporter of uganda’s economic liberalisation and of programmes which promote macroeconomic stability and a better quality of life for ugandans. at a budgetary meeting in march this year, he outlined his goals for uganda over the next few years. he said, “twelve months ago, the people of uganda gave the NRM government a clear and commanding mandate to consolidate the achievements of the past 26 years, and to continue on the road to transformation of the country.” he noted that uganda was the fifth-fastest-growing economy in the world between 2005 and 2009, and that this has resulted in the country’s poverty levels being cut in half.

The Prime Minister believes that uganda’s government should not only continue to pursue its development goals but also upgrade its own performance. he says, “economic growth is only one aspect of development: another key dimension is the improvement in administrative capacity of the state in order to direct the course of development.”

Keeping up with growing energy demand

The Prime Minister’s budget priorities for the coming years include boosting uganda’s energy production. The country’s power-generation capacity has risen from 60mW in 1986 to 645mW this year, but this is still much too low for uganda’s needs. The Prime Minister aims to launch public-private partnerships in the energy sector along with continuing to invest state funds in energy projects and encouraging private investment in energy initiatives, not only in hydropower but also in natural-gas and nuclear-energy projects.

Concerning uganda’s recently discovered petroleum deposits, the prime minister says, “the discovery of significant petroleum reserves gives us the opportunity for the long-term transformation of our country from a low-income to a medium-income and ultimately
to an industrialised country.” he adds that uganda will begin to build its first oil refinery next year.

Transport infrastructure, agricultural productivity

Transport infrastructure is another priority for the Prime Minister. He highlights the need for more roads to support uganda’s economic growth and to alleviate traffic congestion. he also notes Uganda’s pressing need for an efficient rail network which provides an alternative to road transport and can offer rapid links to other regional markets.

Increasing the productivity of the agriculture sector is another focus of the prime minister’s budget for 2013. he says, “With one of the fastest-growing populations in the world, coupled with an increased local and regional market for food, we must urgently increase our agricultural production and productivity to counter the effects of high food prices.” He adds that uganda has significant potential not only to supply its own food needs but also to export food products.

Given uganda’s growing and youthful population, human-resource development is crucial for the country’s long-term success. The Prime Minister notes that Uganda now has around 150,000 students attending university in the country and that jobs must be created for these young graduates. The 2013 budget will focus on improving educational services in uganda while also supporting job creation.

Other priorities in the 2013 budget include upgrading healthcare services and improving the quality of public services. The Prime Minister concludes, “the development challenges i have spelt out require the government to be more effective and efficient in the execution of infrastructure projects and the delivery of social services. A lot of time is spent on processes and non-core activities such as workshops and seminars. This culture must stop. We must inculcate a culture that puts emphasis on results and outputs rather than inputs and processes.” He adds, “I am confident that we can realise our strategic vision for the development of this country for the good of all Ugandans.”