Taking stock of 34 years of NRM Achievements and Challenges
On January26, 2020 the National Resistance Movement (NRM) marks 34 years since it came to power after fighting a five – year protracted war in Luwero bushes against Uganda Peoples’ Congress (UPC) government of President Apollo Milton Obote..
The NRM government under the leadership of General Yoweri Kaguta Museveni took over power on January 26, 1986 and has remained in charge of the country to date.
It is time for Ugandans and NRM party leaders to take stock of what has been achieved in 34 years, the challenges encountered, steps undertaken to overcome impediments, and a road map to accomplish unfinished tasks.
Government Spokesperson Ofwono Opondo said by 1986, all social service sectors, including health, were beginning to look more like an immense pile of filth due to neglect, political instability and bankruptcy.
He said the country is now stable, and citizens are engaged in gainful employment. "Ugandans are enjoying a relatively better quality of life," he said. Mr Opondo said there are improved living conditions; and provision for safe drinking water has improved from 10% and 17% in 1986, to 95% and 71% in urban and rural areas, respectively. The Infant mortality rate has reduced to 54 deaths per 1,000 live births from 137 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1986. HIV prevalence is currently at 7.3%, from 36% in 1986. More than 75% of Ugandans live within 5km of medical services, “The aggregate result of all these and many more efforts in the health sector is that life expectancy stands at 56 years up from 48 years in 1986.
"Given all the development projects in this sector, it is small wonder that Uganda Vision 2040 envisages life expectancy for Ugandans to rise to 80 years in the next few decades,” said Mr Opondo. He said: ‘’An improving human resource, enhanced physical infrastructure and continued peace and security means that the next decades will see a transformation of Uganda from a producer of raw materials to an industrial hub." The ruling National Resistance Movement government boasts of achieving 62% implementation of its 2016 - 2021 manifesto under the theme "Taking Uganda to Modernity through Job Creation and Inclusive Development". Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda also leader of government business said the NRM party is on course, making steady progress, to achieve the targets set together with the people of Uganda.
He said despite steady progress of 62% attainment on the set targets some few challenges abound in the implementation including delays in land acquisition and corruption among others, remain impediments. Dr Rugunda notes that some of the successes so far achieved include commissioning of Isimba Dam, revival of Uganda Airlines, commissioning of the neonatal and women specialized hospital, commissioning of the Nile Bridge and Entebbe Express high way. Others are industrialization, where the party Chairman Yoweri Museveni launched and opened several other factories that produce goods ranging from food products to agricultural inputs and other essentials.
‘’President Yoweri Museveni is gratified with the magnitude and zeal that the people of Uganda have placed in manufacturing local products that had been stifled in the past through importation syndrome of goods that could be easily manufactured locally’,’ he said. The Prime Minister said besides producing goods and services, the industries employ many Ugandans, utilize local raw materials under " Buy Uganda and Build Uganda" business strategy, and pay taxes into our national treasury. In the education sector, Rugunda said money was mobilized and policy of establishing government aided secondary school for each sub county is on target. The NRM is also continuing to prioritize investments in agriculture as the backbone of the economy with provision of pesticides, seedlings and extension services to farmers.
“The recruitment of extension workers in particular will provide farmers with the knowledge and skills to handle their activities professionally and with a business mind. Through Operation Wealth Creation, seedlings of cocoa, citrus, tea, mangoes, oranges and apples have been distributed to farmers,” he said.
“Good work is also being undertaken on increasing coffee production. For example, coffee exports have grown from 3.5 million bags in 2018 to 4.1 million bags in 2019, bringing in $ 490 million, “he added. Electricity generation will boost industrialization, as an indicator of potential development power generation or access to power is one of the best. The Karuma power dam, which will bring 600MW, is expected to come on line in 2023 and 183MW Isimba line is already operational.. An additional 210MW from smaller dams are in various stages of development. Currently, the installed capacity is about 800MW and there is an estimated 2,000MW of untapped potential on the river Nile alone. Expectations are that oil production will begin by the end of the decade with an initial 20,000 barrels per day, before scaling it up to peak production of 220,000 barrels a day. Education sector boosts of improvement in literacy levels
It is hard to talk about the economy without making reference to the literacy rates that have jumped to 75% today, from 43% in 1986. This comes on the back of a government drive towards increased school enrolment that started in 1997. Primary school enrolment jumped to 8.4 million in 2013, from 2.2 million in 1986. The NRM government empowered the youth to participate in decision-making through Local Government Councils, Youth Councils and representation in Parliament and cabinet. Through Universal Primary Education (UPE) , Universal Secondary Education (USE), free Higher Education and the Student Loan Scheme, the NRM is empowering the youth to effectively participate in the country’s economic development for a better future. Today, over 40,000 youth graduate from universities annually which is a big achievement in human resource manpower development..
A five-year Ush265b Youth Livelihood Program was introduced to provide startup capital for the youth to create jobs for themselves and employ others. So far, Ush54.4b has been disbursed to 70,000 youth across the country.. Over 2.5 million casual, temporary and permanent jobs have been created majority of which engage the youth. This was achieved through the implementation of infrastructure and other Government and private sector projects over the last five years A massive investment in roads around the country should ease access to markets for goods and services. The Uganda National Road Authority plans to lay down 1,000km of tarmac roads annually■