Presidential Aspirant Joseph Kiiza Kabuleta launched his presidential manifesto on Monday 9th November, in which he promised that his government would put the Uganda people first, in an expansive plan fronting a massive change in the taxation system.
Kabuleta, a former sports journalist and now Christian instructor, summarizes his plan with the acronym ROCK, which can be expanded to mean Reclaiming Our Country and Kin (ROCK). According to Kabuleta’s manifesto, Uganda can only become prestigious again if the people, the greatest resource, get to utilize all the resources at their disposal, hence the determination to break the ceiling that separates the privileged few at the apex of the income pyramid from everyone else, and include everyone in the benefits of the national cake.
According to the 2016/17 Uganda National Household Survey, Uganda’s population stood at 37.7 million. Close to 7 out of every 10 of these are of working age, energetic and vibrant young people.
With about only 4 million of 19 million people in gainful employment and average monthly income of UGX 168,000, this figure can not sustain the economy. Furthermore, those in employment can’t fully support their households. The fact that most of the farming done is for small scale consumption, without much focus on the commercial side of life is what inspires to lead his manifesto with improving Agriculture.
Originally, 17 million Ugandan are excluded from the tax bracket because of their earning atmosphere. With the expansive growth of the agricultural sector, these 17 million are brought into play to alleviate the tax burden on the original 4 million. With Uganda making up at least 50% of the arable land in East Africa, the turnaround is possible. With this in mind, Kabuleta says his government has broken this down in 4 steps:
- Economic regions will specialize in crops and businesses/economic activity where they have a comparative advantage, to ensure that we, as a nation, can optimize the resources.
- Operation Mayumba Kumi – Each household will be encouraged and incentivized to set aside at least 1 to 2 acres for commercial purposes depending on their total landholding. The government will then support each of the farmers to transform those acres into viable commercial enterprises in line with the economic zoning strategy.
This will be done at the village level where each of the Local Council 1 Chairmen will be required to mobilize their members to participate in this programme. This is why this programme has been dubbed “operation Mayumba Kumi” which means “Ten Households”. Each LC1 will be given a target of mobilizing at least 10 households to participate in this program. This is to ensure that no Ugandan is left behind.
- The re-establishment of co-operatives in areas with complex land tenure systems to mobilize the many small-holder farmers and small businesses into more integrated commercial enterprises.
- Lastly, to invest in food drying and storage technologies and facilities which can extend the shelf life of agricultural commodities for even up to 20 years to invest in food drying and storage technologies and facilities which can extend the shelf life of agricultural commodities for even up to 20 years.
Government productivity is next in Kabuleta’s manifesto to be addressed. With the government spending projected to be at 10 per cent more than revenue collected, Uganda needs to check her expenditure. With government tax revenue is just 12.5% of GDP. Public debt currently at UGX 53 Trillion (June 2020) from 42.4 Trillion two years earlier, Kabuleta, as president, aims to expand domestic revenue my government to move away from the reliance on annual haphazard changes in tax policy and instead focus on creating an environment that promotes business and investment. The solution to Uganda’s increasing government budget deficits, debt burden and perennial low tax base, according to Kabuleta, lies in prudent government expenditure: getting rid of the “deadwood” in government, i.e. the bloated cabinet, redundant government departments/authorities, excess local government units (districts), redundant and unproductive public officers (i.e. presidential advisors, Resident District Officers, District Intelligence Officers etc.…).
I will restructure the public service by merging Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that offer similar services. Unnecessary MDAs will be disbanded, and others downsized. By this, we will eliminate duplication and waste of taxpayer’s money. My government will divest power from the presidency and strengthen the Central Government and Local Government institutions to be able to make decisions and deliver services
Sports, one of the least disciplines in the national cake, see the proposal of an amalgamation with the Arts. Kabuleta argues that the ministry of education is already encumbered enough and can not dedicate appropriate time in developing the different avenues of the sector. In the same spirit, the Arts would get out from under the umbrella of the ministry of gender.
Since our core message is to liberate Ugandans financially, we must show the strength of the sports and entertainment economy and assign a team that is well conversant in this sector to garner strides which in five years will bring not only an upturn in revenue gains for the economy but also make Uganda an entertainment hub, not only in the region but also in Africa.
Facility construction and rehabilitation are on top of strategies that will help alleviate the industries of Arts and Sports. The budget for the sports and arts sectors will be increased to give the federations and governing bodies a substantial lift. This industry has the capacity to self-finance if the government gives it the right platform. That will make it easier for them to get sponsors and qualify for tournaments, organize concerts and so forth. The government would then play a supervisory role to make sure finances are adequately allocated, and policies met. The revenue they get in the long run can sustain them for as long as the right people well manage them.