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By Moses Kaketo
Senior citizen and businessman Gordon Wavamunno is of the view that with the current state of affairs in Uganda, the pearl of Africa will remain backward and underdeveloped.
Uganda seeks to attain middle income status by 2020, that is three years from now. Accordingly, all Ugandans including children who are not working on average should each be earning at least USD 1,033 (about Ugx.3.6 million) annually and USD 86 (about Ugx. 309,000) monthly.
However, Wavamunno, Chairperson Spear Motor’s Limited says some of the institutions responsible for governing and guiding the country towards this aspiration are occupied by incompetent, inexperienced and corrupt officials. He made the revelations recently while appearing on 97.3 Simba Radio talk show-Olutindo.
His views have been reflected elsewhere: ‘‘Good planning alone WILL NOT deliver Uganda to the middle income status. Despite the excellent strategic direction provided by the NDPII and Vision 2040, achieving a middle income status will require doing business unusual on the part of all stakeholders, particularly the implementing sectors, MDAs and Local governments under the political leadership of the respective sector Ministers.’’
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Wavamunno said: The president is doing everything. When do the so many ministers and State Ministers get to work? Are these ministers qualified? Are they really capable?’’
He added: in parliament, you find comedians, those who say yes on anything [good and bad], musicians and fresh graduates from the university. Can these people really deliver us to middle income status? These are the people in charge of making laws to govern and guide the country. Something must be wrong.
Regionally with 32 cabinet ministers and 49 state ministers, Uganda’s cabinet is the highest in the region. Kenya has 20 cabinet ministers, Rwanda has 19 full ministers 10 state ministers. While Tanzania has 19 cabinet ministers and 15 deputies.
It has been said before that middle income status can only be achieved when institutions are functioning well. Currently Uganda’s institutional synergies are lacking, even within sectors themselves, there is a lot of disorientation.
‘ ‘ Recently, I was reading Vision 2020/40. The document has good deliberations. However, the people writing these documents have done nothing for themselves. These are the people entrusted to guide us to middle income status.’’ Wavamunno said.
He called on government to set up a committee of very experienced Ugandans in various fields to act as a Think Tank to think for this country.
Asked to give his prediction on Uganda’s economy in next five years, Wavamunno said: ‘‘The economy will worsen if the government fails to plan better than they are doing today’’
He wondered why the government continues to allow in foreign petty traders and foreign workers to do jobs that do not require technical or specialized skills yet thousands of Ugandans remain unemployed.
‘ ‘ How do you allow foreigners to come here and sell used cars? This is only found in Uganda. You cannot do the same in their countries.’’ The passionate Wavamunno said.
‘ ‘ When I asked the responsible minister on why government continues to allow in foreign workers to do simple jobs, the minister said investors fear Ugandans are thieves. I asked him if that’s true, why is that we don’t have foreigners in the cabinet’’
He wondered why 20 years later, we continue to sing about counterfeit’s law.
‘ ‘ When shall we pass the counterfeit law? He challenged UNBS, a body responsible for enforcing standards, to come out and prove that they themselves have standards. Why can’t the government help Ugandans to improve on the quality of goods they produce so that we stop importing substandard goods’’ he said.
On taxes, the man who lost WBS tv, one of the pioneer TV stations in Uganda, decried the huge taxes levied on Ugandans
‘ ‘ Taxes are also too much. I am not saying we should not pay taxes, but taxes are too much. Government is taxing anything. At the end, you find you have been compounded by taxes- you can’t move, you lose your friends because of taxes, you basically begin to live in fear. ‘’ He said.
The URA took over management of WBStv after Wavamunno failed to pay seven billion Uganda shillings tax arrears. After failing to recover the money. URA sold the once mighty media house to recover her money.