We are in tough economic times maybe caused by the Russia-Ukraine war and COVID-19 pandemic effect. However, if we do not find immediate reasonable solutions to reduce this challenge, we shall continue tormenting as a country.
My concern is on the common man who struggles every day to earn a living but his government continues to spend carelessly and imposes new taxes for revenue moreover without creating for him a favorable working environment and better service delivery.
Previously, Mr. Museveni while at Kololo Ceremonial Ground for World Labor Day celebrations, he told Ugandans that he does not eat bread. He advised us to eat cassava instead of bread. Museveni forgot that cassava is more expensive than bread.
Museveni’s statement reminded me of the 1789 French Revolution when, Marie Antoinette was told that her starving peasant subjects had no bread and her response was that, let them eat cake. This was obliviousness to the conditions and daily lives of ordinary people.
At times you flop to identify those critical moments when government came to rescue the ordinary man from economic constraints other than making lamentations and jokes like those that Museveni and his Prime Minister have always cracked.
I admit that government cannot do much to control this bad economic situation because its priorities are individual based. Other governments are busy finding possible solutions to reduce on government expenditures and sensitizing the population on the need to spend carefully like on things that matter most because we do not know where the Russia-Ukraine war is taking us.
The other day, China hinted on locking down Shanghai because of the COVID-19 scare, so taking in consideration of this especially that the pandemic came from China; we have a lot to worry about especially us the poor country if we do not find solutions to this.
Soon Kenya is going for National elections, but we all understand that Kenya plays a great role in our importation transactions because we are a land locked country. Suppose Kenya suffers from political unrests like before, what shall we do given that we do not have fuel reserves?
The President’s Office has about 826 employees with 760 working as administrative support for the President and the rest staff assigned to the Office of Vice President. Apart from the Secretary to the Presidency and several officials, including Undersecretaries and Commissioners, the Office of the President also oversee ESO, ISO and facilitates 163 presidential advisors and assistants, who earn between Shs2.2m and Shs7m.
According to the Policy statement for the Presidency for the FY 2017/2018, their annual wage bill stood at Shs29b. The advisors and assistants, whose number first rose from four in 1994 to 71 in 2003, are also entitled to vehicles, mostly Mitsubishi Pajeros.
The unit cost of a Pajero 2017 model is around Shs147.5m, meaning government spends at least Shs24b on their vehicles alone. They are also provided with security and drivers. Museveni set up a three-man secretariat to coordinate RDCs, who number about 147 and 163 deputy RDCs. An RDC earns a basic salary of Shs2.2m and Shs1.6m in allowances, consuming at least Shs8.5b a year.
Each RDC is also entitled to a double-cabin pick-up truck, which costs at least Shs60m, meaning at least Shs7.3b is spent on their cars. The presence of RDCs distorts the working of decentralization system.
You have the RDC in the district representing the President, but you have an elected chairperson. Who takes precedence? The RDC chairs the security committee at the district, but there is a DPC, how does it work? Museveni and wife move with lavish motorcades about 40, no matter how poor the country is.
This is unbelievable. Uganda is still a third world country with poverty and corruption, but Museveni feels okay to move with this kind of convoy, however much we are being troubled with economic challenges. Its high time Museveni reduced his State House Budget and fleet vehicles if anyway he thinks we are in tough economic times.
This money would be invested in human capital development or projects such that it helps to develop the economy by expanding the knowledge and skills of Ugandans.