Experts and other leaders have described as deceptive claims by President Museveni that Uganda has attained middle income status.
During the annual State of National Address last week, President Museveni declared that Uganda has already hit middle income status.
But according to Ddungu Adrian, an economist, it is a laughable that anybody can claim that Uganda has attained a middle-income status at a time when many Ugandans are just recovering from the vagaries of Covid-19 inspired lockdowns.
“We are no longer in bad situation; we are in a worse situation as a country in the last two years,” Ddungu said. “We have a global crisis but unlike other countries that have done something for their people, for us we are doing nothing. It is true that the figures might suggest that we have attained the middle income but that has not been translated into improved people’s welfare.”
According to the World Bank, lower middle-income countries are those with a Gross National Income [GNI] per capita which is between $1,036 and $4,045 and upper middle-income countries are those with a GNI per capita which is between $4,046 and $12,535. Gross National Income is arrived at after adding the incomes of all Ugandans at home and abroad
But Ddungu says that even the income inequality in Uganda blunts the impact of growth in GDP as most of the income belongs to a few people.
“Government institutions such as NSSF, Bank of Uganda, Ubos are releasing figures that show how poverty stricken we are and then the president is telling us we are a middle income; they don’t tally up,” says Ddungu. “By the way, even if the figures are indeed correct and that we are a middle income status, remember our debt is almost 50 percent of the GDP it means that half of the economy belongs to somebody else.”
“Government institutions such as NSSF, Bank of Uganda, Ubos are releasing figures that show how poverty stricken we are and then the president is telling us we are a middle income; they don’t tally up. By the way, even if the figures are indeed correct and that we are a middle income status, remember our debt is almost 50 percent of the GDP it means that half of the economy belongs to somebody else.”
DDUNGU ADRIAN, ECONOMIST,
Leader of Opposition Matthias Mpuuga believes it was too early for President Museveni to announce that Uganda has already attained middle-income status since several Ugandans cannot afford three meals a day.
“Museveni and his group must stop thinking that for a country to ascend into Middle-income status is like waking up and driving to Omoro district and coming back, no, there must be strategic plans that must be done selflessly which I don’t see in his government which is full of corruption starting from his own house,” he said.
Mpuuga also noted that for a country trying to ascend into a class of middle-income status; at least 80 Per cent of citizens must be with jobs and are able to feed well, improve standards of living right from rural areas to the urban centres, and improve an education system that earnestly benefits the poor and rich ad well as presence of improved health facilities fully operating (availability of drugs and standard services by qualified medical officials) starting from health centre II.
“Driving an economy into Middle income status is a journey that must be strategically planned, unfortunately, our friends from the NRM think it’s a word that is just mastered, maybe for Mr Museveni and his colleagues who came when they are totally poor, their statuses have indeed changed but Uganda as a country is still having a very long way to reach there.”
Gawaya Tegulle, a lawyer, says: “I understand Museveni is desperate to say he has taken Uganda to the middle-income status, but development takes time. This was the most embarrassing State of the Nation Address I have ever heard. The truth is Uganda is not middle income yet.”