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By Mulengera Reporter

During the Kyankwanzi retreat for newly elected NRM MPs, eminent personalities were invited to present papers sharing on their past lived experiences and perspectives all aimed at sharpening the new legislators’ alertness ahead of their inauguration as MPs for the 11th parliament. Many made excellent presentations leaving lasting impressions on the MPs including Prof Augustus Nuwagaba, ISO Deputy DG Lt. Emmy Katabazi, CDF Gen David Muhoozi, Prof Ramathan Gobi, Prof Tarsis Kabwegyere, GCW Ruth Nankabirwa, Daudi Migereko and others.

Whereas Katabazi addressed MPs on essentiality of living cautiously to avoid compromising their own personal security (reflecting on the circumstances of Ibrahim Abiriga’s death), Nankabirwa spoke about parliamentary etiquette and how to repeatedly catch the Speaker’s eye during parliamentary debates. Tarsis Kabwegyere struggled to get accepted by a youth-dominated audience which exhibited extreme hostility towards his presentation from the very start. Senior citizen and former Minister Daudi Migereko was among the lucky few speakers whose submissions were accepted as relevant and impressive by the larger majority inside the huge tent where the induction retreat was conducted for a whole 21 days.        

Below Mulengera News (which intends to publish all the Kyankwanzi presentations) reproduces an abridged version of ex-Minister (now an eminent private sector personality) Daudi Migereko’s presentation at Kyankwanzi which focused on social and economic transformation.


The Centrality of Uganda’s Service Sector in the Quest for Socio-Economic Transformation: Achievements and Challenges Explored.

Appreciation: I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate His Excellency President Museveni and National Chairman of NRM and all of you Hon. Members of Parliament upon your successful election on the NRM ticket to serve the People of Uganda.

At the same time, I want to commend the Chairman of NRM and the Secretariat for organizing this retreat for the NRM members at the start of your term of office. This is a highly strategic meeting, which is bound to bring a lot of dividends to the party.

It was therefore with great pleasure that I received an invitation to come and be the main discussant of the paper by Prof. Umar Kakumba, (PhD). On

“The Centrality of Uganda’s Service Sector in the Quest for Socio-economic transformation: Achievements and Challenges. I would like to thank the organizing committee headed by Secretary General Rt. Hon. J. Kasule Lumumba for reaching out to me to discuss this important paper. 

This paper by Prof. Umar Kakumba (PhD) is an excellent paper. It gives us an understanding of the perspectives of the centrality of the Service Sector in pursuit of our socio-economic transformation. The timing of the paper is also opportune in that the party is trying to find solutions to some of the issues arising out of the recently concluded elections.

I would like to approach this discussion by posing a few questions?

One; what do we mean by centrality and service sector in the context of this paper? Cambridge English dictionary refers to centrality as being “Most important part of something or being the main or quality of being essential.”

According to the paper Prof. Umar classified the service sector into;

  1. Trade, hotels and restaurants.
  2. Storage, communication and Knowledge based industry,
  3. Transport that includes roads and railways, airways and inland and overseas, water transport.
  4. Financial institutions, insurance, real estate and business services.
  5. Community, social and personal services such as health, education, etc.

One which is missing on this list and should have been included is electricity which is the major driver of any economy.

The services sector makes contribution to the economy through creation of employment opportunities, foreign exchange inflows, increased revenue generation, all of which enhance the Gross Domestic Product and National Aggregate Demand in the country. This is well captured in Professor’s paper

Two; In our situation is the centrality of the service sector real, apparent or emerging or persistent?

Given the background of our development path as a country I would like to submit that this centrality is just emerging;

Why? Our policy and program focus has been on agriculture, manufacturing and export of raw materials. However, the results have not been impressive, in that 68% of our people are still involved in subsistence agriculture. Climate change patterns in the near future are going to make it difficult for peasant agriculture which is not heavily supported and dominated by application of modern scientific technology. Besides, no country has been able to transform itself based on peasant agricultural production. Most importantly, we have no control over the terms of trade regarding what we are producing and trading in. NDP III is calling for transformation of Uganda from an agricultural based economy to a modern, industrial and knowledge based economy. This will bring out the centrality of the service sector. I call upon the honorable MPs to take off time to read the NDP III document and ensure its implementation.

Three: “Who should be central in ensuring centrality of the service sector in Uganda?

  1. The NRM party through prioritizing the service sector in the party manifesto.
  2. The ruling party by delegating its technical functions to government develops National Development Plans to operationalize the manifesto priorities and mainstreaming the same in the budgetary process/allocations.
  3. The key Ministries in the service sector; Transport, Tourism, Health, Education, Information and ICT, Finance and Economic development etc.; should position the service sectors as being crucial by giving the sectors priority in their Policy Statements based on the priorities of the manifesto and the NDP III.
  4. Cabinet by ensuring that priorities from the Ministries in the service sector are given appropriate budgets to support implementation of their plans.
  5. Members of Parliament by carrying out their key functions:
    • In legislation to ensure all the necessary policies and legal framework for promoting this service sector are in place,
    • In carrying out budgetary allocations they should ensure that funds are allocated to the services sector,
    • In oversight function to ensure they supervise and monitor implementation of programs that promote the service sector.
    • In providing leadership in the discussions to mainstream service sector programs and ensure returns are realized from the same by the country, constituency and households.
    • In acting as facilitators and not inhibitors to promote this centrality. The NRM caucus and committees create an opportunity for in-depth analysis of issues, consultations, harmonization of positions and generation of consensus. Take advantage of this to improve your understanding of critical matters to advance the right arguments and to support the party positions and desired projects.
    • To ensure that the local people you represent get the opportunity to fully participate and benefit from the legislation and emerging centrality of the service sector. In other words, you need to be at the forefront of promoting local content matters to ensure that Ugandans and the country attain self-sufficiency.
  6. Public administration; This is critical. It is this team that should ensure smooth, quality and timely implementation of service sector programs and projects. The best people should be recruited for the MDAs on merit, retained and be well remunerated to perform to their best. Those who don’t perform or are corrupt should be penalized or sanctioned. Public administrators should ensure strict monitoring of projects in their locality for  quality and timely  implementation such as;
    1. Transport related projects; railways, public transport in Cities and metropolitan and areas, tourism roads, regional and international airlines connection, Transport connections to hospitals and schools.
    2. Ideological and or mindset re-orientation and development of the public servants will be very crucial in positioning the service sector as being central to socio-economic development of the country.
  • Leadership should be pragmatic and ready to undertake timely interventions as and when the need arises. This renders the services sector relevant. For instance we have Districts which urgently need Geologists due to a lot of mining activities taking The District establishments don’t have these positions.  We need flexibility and pragmatism to create these positions and provide the districts with the required vital technical service in the mining sector. Similarly, why should Government continue budgeting and installing manual boreholes instead of solar powered boreholes which can serve a much bigger area and population more efficiently and economically. The issue here is the need to be innovative, adoption of acceptable technology and way of delivering services today. Hence the need to be pragmatic.
  1. Government should emphasize investments in knowledge economy; develop human capital on ICT, big data analysis, intellectual capital in addressing agricultural challenges using ICT, leveraging market opportunities through digital messages and taking advantage of social media to advertise Uganda services in Tourism, skilled human resources, entertainment, Trade and investment opportunities etc. These underlie the new and modern approach to solving problems and publicizing solutions.


  • In my view Kakumba has articulated very well the centrality of the services sector in addressing some of the challenges that confront us as a country. Some of these like unemployment, service delivery, corruption, etc were critical in the recently concluded elections. He has also ably presented the achievements and challenges to the service sector in section 4.1 on a case by case analysis. He has also come up with some good recommendations. Our challenge, though is that these good ideas and recommendations are rarely pursued for implementation.
  • # Nevertheless, I would like to raise the following:
  • pointed out that the telecommunications and financial service sectors have performed very well and are lucrative. These sectors are foreign dominated and regularly repatriate profits. The question is;
  1. What is it that can be done to ensure participation of the local people and utilization of local products in these sectors?
  2. how do we reduce on the repatriation of proceeds so that we can use the same to support the country’s transformative agenda?
  3. It is several years since we carried out reforms and liberalized our economy; don’t you think it would be prudent to consider new regulatory arrangements to address the new emerging pressures in the economy and country ?
  • I will however want to argue that there is a symbiotic and complementary relationship involved even as we pursue the centrality of the services sector as compared to other sectors. Indeed, the best thing to do often times, is to look at the several options that can be pursued and using a cost benefit analysis to determine the priorities. Prioritization is critical whenever we are dealing with limited resources.
  • I want to give the example of the security and tourism sectors to help me drive the above points home.
  • In the early 2000s there was the Lord’s Resistance Army Kony-insurgence and insecurity in Northern Uganda. The impression was created that the whole of Uganda was insecure. Therefore very few visitors/tourists could risk coming to Uganda.
  • In 2003 Cabinet under the Chair of H E the President took a decision to prioritize peace and security by committing 30% of the national budget to the security sector. This made it possible to avail funding and resources to the army to pacify the North and the entire country. The resulting peace and tranquility made it easy for Uganda to once again capitalize on tourism by attracting both domestic and international tourists.
  • In 2007 Uganda was able to host the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. Uganda emerged as a major conference Tourism country. The visitors were also able to see and enjoy the gifts of nature Uganda has. The success of CHOGM and the attendant publicity which followed catapulted Uganda’s Tourism to a new position.
  • As of 2020 Tourism has been the leading forex earner for the country bringing in US$1.6 billion, creating about 700,000 jobs and contributing about 8% to our GDP. The opportunities for Ugandans to be involved in tourism along the value chain are immense. Indeed as MPs you need to take interest in this in order to benefit your people and country. You can consult UTB on this or successful entrepreneurs like Patrick Bitature, Amos Wekesa, Farouk Busulwa, Wilberforce Begumisa or Eddy Kirya.
  • Government and UTB are now investing more resources in publicity and marketing, trying to ensure that sites are well planned, designed and developed to internationally acceptable standards in order to render Destination to Uganda to be more competitive.
  • This will bring in more revenue, more foreign exchange, more jobs and greater contribution to GDP.
  • .
  • The other example is Education service: UPE, USE and abundant tertiary and university education opportunities have produced many young people who are looking for employment but are not prepared to pursue agriculture let alone work from the rural areas. Opportunities must be created for them in the services sector. Incidentally, those who have been lucky to study and pursue careers in Information Technology and set up their own businesses or secure employment outside the country are doing very well. Indeed, the new class of young millionaires are coming from this group. Government can benchmark the Indian model where Indians who are based in the Western countries are incentivized to invest back at home. This program has given India very good returns and the impact is phenomenal.
  • Lastly is the Transport sector; Government is investing heavily in improving the country`s road network. This is good. However, to have a more efficient and economic transport service sector; government needs to urgently review the capacity of the major highways and other transport modes, that serve Kampala and other metropolitan areas. Secondly, investment in railway network/SGR and water transport is on the critical path. Any  further delay is hurting the economy badly. This is because we are a landlocked country with a lot of export and import cargo which must be transported efficiently and competitively. Our mining sector and the entire economy stand to benefit from the revitalized railway transport services.


By way of conclusion and in addition to the issues raised by Prof. Kakumba, government and you the leaders need to pay attention to the following;

  • The major issue still facing the country is the low pace of implementation or failure to implement what is agreed upon, needed and or is desirable to attain the centrality of the services sector in our social economic transformation. Government needs to pay greater attention to this.
  • The mindset of the citizens who do not support transformation to modernity.
  • The need for re-inventing and retooling decision makers, civil servants and managers in the public sector to act in conformity with the changing world.
  • The need to avert the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on the economy and provide stimulus package to the sectors that will spur the economy.
  • Improve on budgetary allocation to key service sectors that have the potential to induce higher economy-wide returns.
  • Enhance the monitoring and evaluation of service delivery in the country with a view to improving the quality and timeliness of service delivery.
  • The above will help attend to some of the pressures which emerged during elections and reinvigorate NRM.

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