Parliament set March 28, 2018 to debate the controversial Shs 720bn. Part of this money was meant for rural electrification.
This has come at a after Uganda National Bureau of Standards carried out a standards-verification exercise in December last year and found that 6,000 of the 6,500 electricity meters were faulty.
More still, the use of dangerous chemicals to preserve meat in butcheries due to the high electricity tariffs is still fresh in people’s minds.
In urban areas where there is electricity, people cry because of the high tariffs, corruption and cheating meters. In rural areas, people pray for the day they will get electricity.
When the president starts speaking, he tells the country about how Uganda has excess electricity and that it is still constructing dams such as Karuma and Isimba.
What is up with electricity in Uganda?
Attend to basic needs of girl child
Nationwide, schools have opened for the beginning of the first term after a long holiday. This has, however, come amidst high scarcity of financial resources for most parents.
This is attributed to long spells of drought experienced last year, especially for agriculture-reliant parents in most parts of Uganda. As a way out, some parents might be prompted to send learners without some school requirements and some may substitute the requirements or, at worst, leave out the needs of girl children.
Results from Uganda National Examinations Board for primary leaving exams last year showed that although there were more girls registered to sit final exams than boys, the male candidates still performed better than their female counterparts.
This is in line with already available 2015 Unicef research findings which established that approximately 13 per cent of primary-school-aged girls and 30 per cent of secondary-school-aged girls drop out; a few who keep in schools perform poorly compared to boys.
A number of reasons have been pointed out including parents’ failure to meet learners’ basic needs, walking long distances to nearby schools, cultural constraints, early pregnancies, etc. In quest for scholastic materials and other necessary items, many adolescent girls may sometimes end up messing with men.
Yet research has shown that educating the girl child is educating the whole nation. In fact, Uganda’s National Strategy for Girls’ Education (2015-2019) explains that improving girls’ education leads to “higher family incomes, greater economic productivity, better nutrition, delayed marriage, improved maternal outcomes and infant survival rates, together with overall improvements in education outcomes for children.”
This finding is backed by the December 2017 World Bank report on accelerating Uganda’s development. It, for instance, noted that ending child marriage today through girl child education could generate $3 billion (about Shs 10.714 trillion) per year for Uganda by 2030.
These findings all back up the need to educate a girl child and providing her with the needed materials that can keep her in school and focused. Parents and guardians should provide counseling to their children before going to school and provide them with real examples of women who have made it in life to prompt their desire to keep in school.
Midwife at Kisubi general clinic.
Stop expensive politics
The astounding revelations that the age limit debate cost billions of shillings simply shows how unnecessarily expensive our brand of politics is.
Our leaders are ready to spend any amount of money to stay in power. This country would long have reached the middle income status had it not been for such bad politics.
We thought the NRM would address it but they seem to have learnt nothing. As long as we lack the morals and ethical values to conduct decent politics, middle income economy will remain a pipedream.
For instance, when shall we be able to support the biggest part of our budget? In a few years to come, will majority of our people be able to enjoy safe clean water, electricity, live in decent permanent houses or have sustainable food security? These are some indices for middle income status.
We need quality services, not districts
President Museveni has usually stated that civil servants should be reduced! But he yet again orders for creation of new districts, supposedly upon demand by voters!
The country needs at least Shs 139 billion to start a new district. How about we used this money to enhance service delivery?
We need to review the whole system of administration. In a district, for example, you will have the chief administrative officer, LC-V chairman, about four LC-III chairmen, about three constituency MPs, a district woman MP, councilors at various levels, parish chiefs, and many other technical personnel.
The question is: what do all these people do in making sure services are delivered?
We need to shift from political rewards to full service delivery commitments. If it were up to me, I would instead increase the number of teachers to reduce teacher-pupil ratios; increase the number of health workers, veterinary officers, agricultural officers, etc.
This is what they call bringing services closer to the people.
Thomas & Michael Advocates.