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Economic growth is about forcing people to work, say expert

By Julius Businge

Lawrence Bategeka, the acting principle at the Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) at Makerere University has urged government to force Ugandans to participate in productive ventures, if poverty levels are to reduce. Bategeka says the move will also see economic growth in a positive direction.

Uganda’s economy grew somewhat positively in 2012/2013 at 5.1% up from 3.2% a year earlier. The improved growth was attributed to the positive growth recorded in manufacturing, services and construction sectors.


“The state should do its role,” he told The Independent on July 30 on the sidelines of the release of Bank of Uganda’s Business Tendency Survey report.

“We do not want to see the youth riding bodabodas or gambling. They should be in agriculture and other productive activities.”

Government should also ensure that it puts in place supportive infrastructure like good roads and other infrastructure to support economic activities carried out by the people. There should also be a favorable political environment, access to cheap credit, market for agriculture products among other enabling factors.

One of the issues raised in the report was that businesses in Uganda are failing to flourish due to the weak demand for goods and services.

“If you do not work you will not earn anything and you won’t buy anything and you will remain poor,” Bategeka said.

The 2012 expenditure review report released by the Directorate of Social Protection in the gender ministry says about 67% of Ugandans are either poor or highly vulnerable to poverty. The two-year study sampled 1,496 households in the districts of Moroto, Dokolo and Masindi. It was funded by the International Development Research Centre.

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