At the beginning of 2019, the new administration at KCCA, headed by Eng Kitaka, pointed out key areas they wanted to focus on in the first 120 days in office.
As a resident, I am pleased with the visible changes brought, particularly in the areas of road infrastructure. I note that almost all major Kampala roads have traffic signs, marked lanes, walkways, closed drainage, and solar street lights.
Whereas I am also aware that KCCA has scored in other sectors like health, market construction, international collaborations and partnerships, political harmony at City Hall, among others, the speed at which our roads and drainages are being improved deserves recognition.
It is a fact that the beauty and sustainability of the cities worldwide are mainly dependent on the standards and quality of their road network. By putting emphasis on road infrastructure, the city authority seems to comprehend the fact that roads are the arteries through which the economy grows and hence road infrastructure is the most important of all public assets.
One particular road I wish to mention is Muganzi Awongererwa road popularly known as “Kikumi Kikumi” near Makerere University, which has greatly improved the ambience, traffic flow as well as security around Makerere University, Bwaise, Sir Apollo Kagwa road and Wandegeya areas.
Dangerous drainages like Kanywankoko in Nakawa division, Kitamanyangamba in Central division and Nabulagala in Lubaga division, have also been worked on, which will greatly improve water flow in the city. Therefore, I applaud Eng. Kitaka and his team for putting a lot of emphasis on improving road infrastructure.
Teachers are true patriots
On several occasions, teachers have threatened to lay down their tools on grounds that the government has not always fulfilled the promise of enhancing their salaries.
However, through negotiations with government, agreements have always been reached and positive results achieved, which havw seen teachers back in classes.
Teachers’ demands once again resurfaced a few days to the commencement of term two this year, which necessitated for an urgent meeting between His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and the teachers’ representatives. The meeting saw teachers cancel their strike and go back to their respective schools.
Given the high cost of living, there is really need for the enhancement of teachers’ salaries. At times such strikes occur as a result of other government institutions or agencies receiving salary enhancement without hustling, the most recent example being the members of parliament who increased their salaries unanimously.
Therefore, I call teachers ‘patriots of Uganda’ in that despite the little pay, they have continued to serve their country with love and loyalty.
Universal Primary Education is still relevant
Our government is doing the best to see it that our education levels improve. The argument that government was not prepared for UPE is clearly not true. The government did not start UPE out of the blue.
UPE was neither the brainchild of Museveni personally nor his government collectively. The idea was first introduced in 1962 by the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC).
But the National Resistance Movement ensured that it accomplished it. The minister of Education Janet K. Museveni notes that UPE had shown potential to brighten Uganda’s future.
She says UPE has opened up various paths to opportunities for pupils to acquire knowledge and skills that will make them self-reliant and contribute towards the socio-economic transformation of Uganda.
As a result, UPE enrolment has soared from about 3.06 million pupils in 1996 to about 8.84 pupils in 2017 with more girls going to school. With the increase in budget allocation towards the education sector, parents need to come in and work with government to ensure that the sector grows.
Uganda needs a car policy
As Uganda’s nascent automotive industry nears the take-off stage with the construction of the Kiira Motors vehicles production plant at the Jinja Industrial and Business park taking shape, there is an urgent need to put in place a policy and legal framework that will govern the sector.
A couple of things need to be done, including inter-alia the gazetting of Kiira Motors Corporation and any other industry players to ensure that domestic manufacturers remain competitive in the global automotive markets.
It is heartening to note that the government, through the ministry of Science Technology and Innovation, headed by Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye, takes coganizance of the fact that Uganda should focus on domestic value addition for manufacturing of quality products, including cars.
That’s why the need for a home-made Uganda Automotive Industry Development Policy should not be overlooked at this critical stage of the sector’s development. The policy and other relevant laws should essentially provide for a management framework of all interested key stakeholders.
These could include, but not limited to, the entire automotive value chain, car parts suppliers (a car has more than 30,000 different parts), manufacturers, products developers, dealers and service centers.
Other areas which should be considered while putting in place the Automotive Industry Development Policy are: quality of standards to ensure safety and protection of the environment, milestones against which industry players/automotive value chain actors are licensed and incentivized not only to contribute to the growth of the sector but also become industry champions.
The policy should also be employed to regulate the export and importation of vehicles as a whole. The benefits for a well-streamlined industry cannot be overstated.
Apart from stimulating the domestic car, auto-parts and components manufacturer, it can also be used as a tool to facilitate automotive market development with special focus on affordable and available end-user financing options, strategic hire purchase programs and support enterprise and human capacity development to enable more Ugandans participate in the domestic automotive industry value chain.
Further still, the policy should be crafted in such a way that it will kickstart automotive technology development and transfer across different institutions such as universities, research and technology incubation centers, enterprises and vocational institutions.
If well-nurtured, therefore, the automotive industry can become a major contributor to economic growth and structural transformation. This is particularly pertinent as Uganda strives to transition from subsistence to middle-income status where the rise in per-capita income is expected to boost demand for production and sale of new vehicles.