Government has not empowered enough its agencies to turn the reforms happening
around the country into actual benefits to the ordinary people. This is
according to Gideon Badagawa, the Executive Director of Private Sector
Badagawa, said on the sidelines of the Budget week exhibitions for government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) at Kololo in Kampala, that government is spending billions putting up roads, power dams, and other infrastructure but all could go to waste if government agencies can’t guide and help the population benefit from them.
He said some people were totally uninformed about some of the reforms going on. The MDAs are supposed to provide information, enforce rules and lead sensitization crusades to make the general population appreciate what is going on.
He said that such weak institutions were the reason Uganda was slipping on the competitiveness ranking from 115 in 2018 to 127 in 2019 doing business report by the World Bank.
According to the Brookings Institute, a US-based research group, weak institutions come when developing countries like Uganda create anti-corruption commissions with no intention of identifying or recovering public funds that are stolen.
They pass legislation that criminalizes say human trafficking but fail to investigate or prosecute the most egregious violations of the law; create “one-stop shops” to simplify the process of legally registering a business without addressing more significant challenges to operating a business.
The other is establishing courts and appoint judges that are nominally independent while tacitly endorsing interference in the affairs of the judiciary.
Badagawa also said the private sector is worried that the cost of electricity will remain high because there is no infrastructure to deliver it to the people despite increased generation.
Entrepreneurs in Uganda still find it extremely hard to formally start a business because of the tedious processes they go through.
According to the World Bank, an entrepreneur in Uganda spends nearly a month and undertakes 13 procedures to set up a new company. The entrepreneur will then be required to manage another 18 interactions with different agencies and wait an additional four months to obtain a building permit.
Once the construction of the warehouse is completed, the entrepreneur will need to wait another two months and cash out 7,513.6% of income per capita to obtain a connection to the electrical grid.
With such an environment, Badagawa argues, an ordinary citizen still hasn’t been helped.