By Ambrose Gahene
The National Resistance Movement (NRM) marked its 32nd Liberation Day on 26th January, at Boma Ground in Arua District. This year’s celebrations ran under the theme, “Uganda’s Liberation, a significant contribution to our present and future development”.
“We have been handling many of the strategic bottlenecks: ideological disorientation, a weak State, emancipating the private sector, the human resource development (education and health), modernizing the infrastructure, integrating the fragmented markets, etc, etc. Hence, we have got a better base than ever before.
We are, therefore, in a position to tackle, step by step, the residual problems and convert Uganda into a middle-income country by 2020 and an upper middle-income country by 2040.
I am a veteran of fighting poverty and working for socio-economic transformation in Uganda. I started this struggle, in earnest, in the Christmas of 1966 in the Butaka area (Rwakitura, Rushere, Naama, etc). That effort succeeded and, since 1995, I have been drawing the attention of the political class to that living example. Like the parable of the sower goes, much of the seeds fell on rocky ground and did not germinate”, said President Museveni.
ABCafrica revisits NRM 2016-2021 Manifesto to see some of the achievement made. These include:
1. Good Governance, Democracy and Security
With regard to governance, democracy and security, the NRM has made great strides in implementing what was promised years ago. Among them are:
Creating and maintaining the environment in which people have a say in National issues that directly affect them. Professionalizing and equipping both the army and the police to deal with the modern security threats of terrorism. Uganda is now secure and the situation will be maintained under the NRM leadership.
The NRM is determined to decisively fight corruption. “This is a war that we vow to fight to the end. We will continue pursuing the policy of zero tolerance to corruption through the various legal frameworks and institutions that we have put in place”, reads the manifesto in part. The recently passed Anti-Corruption Amendments Act 2013 that provides for the confiscation of the properties of those convicted of corruption has been implemented to the spirit and letter.
3. Growth and Development
Uganda has registered consistent economic progress in the last two decades averaging 6 per cent per year. As a result, there has been an increase in revenue collection from a paltry sh5b in 1986 to sh9.7 trillion in 2014/15, which has enabled Uganda to finance numerous Government projects.
“We have maintained macro-economic stability and contained inflation within the single-digit bracket.
Building on these achievements, we will work towards increasing the size of the economy and expand our revenue base. To achieve this, we will continue removing bottlenecks that affect doing
business for both large investments and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)”
“In addition, we will aggressively promote Uganda as an investment and tourist destination.
Furthermore, the NRM recognizes the contribution made by Ugandans living in the diaspora to the economy. We will provide incentives for them to invest at home and also encourage them to participate in technology transfer”, adds the manifesto.
4. Youth and Women
NRM has invested in training the youth to acquire skills required in the job market. Deliberate effort has been made to create an environment that offers opportunities to create jobs for the youth.
NRM Government has continued to fund the youth who are not in formal employment, to enable them create jobs for themselves and also employ others. A special fund has been created for women and gradually increase the coverage of the elderly persons; under the Social Assistance Grant for the Elderly (SAGE). Presently the scheme is being piloted in 35 districts where elderly persons (65 years and above) receive sh25, 000 per month.
Agriculture continues to play a key role in the economy by providing raw materials for the rapidly growing agro-processing sub-sector, food and
employing 72 per cent of the population.In order to increase agricultural production and productivity, the NRM Government has assisted farmers to get access to farm inputs particularly livestock, seeds, breeding and planting materials.
NRM has also provided agricultural infrastructure such as roads, agricultural machinery and water for production.
The NRM has also ensured adequate surveillance and control of animal diseases and crop pests.
NRM goal is to transform agriculture from subsistence to commercial farming through the Four-Acre Model, which apportions land use on the basis of activities. The first acre is used to grow cash crops such as coffee and tea, the second is for growing fruits, the third is for pasture for dairy cows and the fourth is set aside for food security at the household level.
Nrm Invested in; Value-addition,Mechanisation of agriculture,Animal breeding and seed production, Promotion of usage of fertilizers and manure, Water for production at individual and communal levels.
With regard to education, NRM made tremendous achievements in implementing the election promises made in 2011.
– Sustained UPE and USE programmes.
– Introduced free higher and technical education.
– Introduced the student loan scheme.
– Started a public university in West Nile.
– Rehabilitated and expanded some of the old schools.
– Constructed new technical institutes, schools and teachers’ houses
NRM continued with immunization and reproductive health programmes, in addition to taking health services nearer to the people. NRM has rehabilitated several health units, including referral hospitals such as Hoima and Arua. NRM started on rehabilitation of Mulago Hospital and constructed new general hospitals, namely:
– Kiruddu Hospital in Makindye Division
– Kawempe Hospital in Kawempe Division and
– Buliisa Hospital in Buliisa District.
The various referral and general hospitals rehabilitated or newly built will help in decongesting
Emphasis has been put on developing infrastructure
with a view to reducing the cost of production.
Paved (tarmac) roads — These have increased from 3,000km to 4,000km from 2011 to 2015.
Ferry crossings — They have also increased from two to nine, which has contributed to improvement of transport to areas accessed on water.Some of the crossings are shorter detours to some areas, meaning a reduction in travel time. Other projects include; modernizing Port Bell (in Kampala) and Jinja Pier, constructing a new port
at Bukasa and launching six new ferries.All these will go a long way in improving water transport and also opening up new routes. For instance, the modernization of Port Bell and the Jinja
Pier will present the opportunity of passenger and cargo service on water
between Jinja and Kampala.Regarding energy, NRM completed Bujagali hydropower project and several other small ones, which increased the power generation from 300MW to over 850MW. Construction of new power dams at Karuma
(600MW) and Isimba (183MW) on the River Nile was started.NRM extended the national grid power distribution to households from 11 per cent
to 15 per cent and expanded the coverage by over 5,000km. Power generation will increase upon completion of Karuma and Isimba hydropower plants, construction of additional hydropower and geo-thermal stations, invest in transmission and improvement of the distribution network. These
Interventions will not only provide sufficient power for the country, but also bring down the cost of electricity to consumers.