By Edwin Muhumuza
The Minister of Finance Matia Kasaija has officially launched the National Strategy For Private Sector Development .In his passionate speech he stressed the need to industrialize agriculture owing to concerns of low exports and persistent poverty at household level.
The 66-page document is premised under the theme of boosting investor confidence for enterprise development and industrialization.Dubbed the 8TH National Competitiveness Forum, In attendance were economists, businessmen, and the academia, who expressed strong views as to how the agricultural sector could be Uganda’s engine for economic development as how to fill the gaps along its value chain for maximum efficiency.
Members attending expressed concern as to why government continues to under fund the Agricultural sector yet it is the largest component of the private sector .
The Finance Minister remarked the need for farmers to specialize, know what grows best in each part of the country so as to easily modernize and industrialize agriculture further calling on the private sector to embrace Science, innovation and Technology, while alluding to what he observed on his recent trip to Korea.
Senior Financial Sector Specialist, World Bank Group, Henry Bagazonzya, in his key note address noted that the difference between the private sector and the public sector was the level of motivation that in the end yields results. In addition he outlined key drivers of economic transformation as internet infrastructure, electronic government (e-Gov) to enable government departments link with each other, creation of digital platforms to allow transactions and lastly the need for the land registrar to help women access titled land for agri-business.
While on the panel of discussants, NSSF, Managing Director, Richard Byarugaba noted that government should consider rejuvenating health (Mulago hospital),education (Makerere University) ;which used to be Uganda’s beacon of glory as comparative advantage for health and education tourism respectively coupled with wildlife and nature tourism. He also hailed the Tanzanian government for recently adopting a policy to have all telecom companies allow nationals buy shares so that revenue made remains within the economy.
However, renown academician, Professor Samuel Sejaaka was quick to note that Uganda has no cooperative advantage and should instead ensure effective governance through adopting result oriented approaches such as ;jobs created by government per quarter, consolidate all monies to pay civil servants a proper wage i.e. dealing with rent seeking through rationalizing how money is distributed.
Other present were, Chairman Steel Rolling Mills Limited,Abid Alam,Founder Great Lakes Safaris,Amos Wekesa, and Development Policy Analyst,Dr.Fred Muhumuza.