Middle income status still achievable

By Catherine Ageno

Government is optimistic the country will achieve its middle income status target by 2020 despite some challenges.

It comes at a time many economists are expressing skepticism about realization of this target.

Speaking on the sidelines of the 2018 Independence Day celebrations, the minister for finance Matia Kasaijja said that government was still hopeful that this target would be achieved as planned.

He said that some of the challenges threatening this target are rapid population growth and ineffective implementation of government projects.

Also cited as one of the impediments to Uganda’s economic growth is the entrenched problem of poverty. A recent study by Twaweza’s Sauti za Wananchi indicates that the 5% economic growth rate recorded in the recent years has not reached everyone.

The study also points to the citizens’ ability to send and receive money simply and securely as one on the ways that they can improve the lives of the poor and help to address some of their short-term needs and challenges. It says 2 out 3 citizens use mobile money services.

However, a section of the civil society has expressed pessimism about the minister’s pronouncements because Ugandans will now dig deeper into their pockets after Parliament early this month passed the contentious Excise Duty Amendment Bill 2018 No 2, approving a 0.5 per cent tax on mobile money transactions.

The levy that took immediate effect has since left many Ugandans especially the mobile money operators lamenting, some of whom have been pushed out of business and rendered jobless.