In almost all his speeches, President Yoweri Museveni keeps reminding Listeners about 1986; “In 1986, this and that was like this and this…in 1986 we found a collapsed this and that and we did this and this.” However he never risks to make reference to 1985 because that is a period that reflected a forward moving country, that required an strong nationalist to maintain.
In 1984/1985, Uganda recorded the highest GDP(7582 Billion) since independence. Five Months before Museveni became President, the foreign exchange rate was at USD $1=600 Ugandan Shillings. Uganda had suspended taxes on cement and iron bars, there was no excise duty on locally manufactured sugar, there were no taxes on materials for making bicycle tyres, taxes on motor vehicles were just 15%.
Government’s Emphasis was on Massive Agricultural Production in order to grow the economy and Ugandans were supported to grow more Coffee, Cotton, Tea, Tobacco and Maize. The Central Government was financing Agricultural Cooperative Unions to pay Farmers across the Country. There was a Credit Guarantee scheme and Development Finance Fund to extend loans to Farmers, Uganda Commercial Bank had USD$ 70,000,000 dedicated towards agricultural Rehabilitation. Uganda Commercial Bank had another USD$ 5,000,000 to loan out to small Scale Industries. The economy was growing at a rate of 5.2%
30 Years later under Museveni’s rule Uganda Commercial Bank was dead, Cooperative Bank was dead, almost all Cooperative Unions were dead, GDP growth rate had dropped to 4.7%, taxes on vehicle had soared to 50+%, Foreign Exchange Rate had sky rocketed to $1 = 2996/=, His proposed economic alternatives like Entandikwa, Bona Bagagawale, NAADS, SACCO, were all Dead. Emphasis in now on driving economic growth by the Insutry and Service Sectors.
What the figures are concluding
Ugandans were better off in 1985 under Milton Obote’s Agro-Driven Economy than under Yoweri Museveni’s Industry and Service Sector Driven economy. Museveni’s Industrial Sector employs just 4.4% of the population while his service sector employs 20.2%. His Industries are owned by the Madhvanis, Mehtas, Abdi Alams, Lalans, SAAB Millers and his Service sector is mainly foreign owned with entities like MTN, Airtel, Stambic, Serena, Sheraton, Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, G4S, Nation Media etc. Ugandans are too detached from it. Obote’s Agro-driven economy had almost the entire participation of all the Citizens through their Cooperative Unions and public entities. The Service sector had the likes of Uganda Airlines, Uganda Commercial Bank, Uganda Transport Company, UEB, etc. It was a Uganda for all Ugandans.