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Prof Mutebile to revive Makerere University private sector forum

Prof Tumusiime-Mutebile at Makerere university

On October 27, Makerere University launched the Prof Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile chair in monetary policy, banking and finance and the Mutebile centre of excellence for private sector development.

Below is the full acceptance speech of the Bank of Uganda governor, Prof Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today, and particularly this occasion, represents one of the happiest moments in my life. This is not because distinguished honours are being bestowed on me.

It is more an occasion to recognize and celebrate the many things that Makerere University, the Uganda government and the Makerere University Private Sector Forum have achieved over the last 45 years since I was a student at Makerere University.

It is also an occasion on which I must thank all those at Makerere University and in the Private Sector Forum for conceiving this new initiative of the Mutebile chair and Mutebile Centre of excellence.

This now opens another window of opportunity for serving Makerere University and the people of Uganda. To me, it is a new challenge and opportunity to rededicate myself to serve Makerere and the country.

Uganda has made impressive strides in both the economic and political areas during the last 30 years. We have overcome those painful days of our history and moved on. I am proud to have been associated with the policies that have brought about the restoration of the economy.

After serving briefly as a deputy Principal Private Secretary to the president at State House, Entebbe in 1980, I was privileged to have served as the acting undersecretary to the ministry of Planning and Economic Development in 1981.

In 1982, I was promoted to become the chief government planning economist in the ministry; and in 1985, I was promoted to the rank of permanent secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister.

After a change in government, I was transferred back as permanent secretary in the ministry of Planning and Economic Development in 1986. I was promoted in April 1992 to the rank of permanent secretary/secretary to the treasury in the newly-merged ministry of Planning and ministry of Finance, now called ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development. I held this post until the year 2000, when I became the governor of the Bank of Uganda.

I am grateful to His Excellency, the president, for entrusting me with those pivotal responsibilities and especially for granting me and the team that I worked with during that time, with a large degree of freedom to determine the best possible economic policy options.

I am glad to say, with some pride, that Uganda has consistently been recording among the best economic growth rates in east and central Africa. I must also record my appreciation to the international community, especially the World Bank and International Monetary Fund for the cooperation and trust extended to me, which enabled me to provide constructive leadership in policy formulation and implementation in Uganda.

During my time of service as governor of Bank of Uganda, I have had the honour of being awarded as African Central Bank governor for several years since 2011 by the African banker. I am grateful to the Bank of Uganda staff that made this honour possible.

Makerere University, too, has made impressive advances in the university academic ranking in Africa and the world, over the last ten years. Many problems remain at the University, but with united and determined efforts, we should be able to return to where we once were and go beyond.

One of the intractable problems is the achievement of financial independence. The Makerere University Private Sector Forum was established to help in finding solutions to this and other problems by linking Makerere and the private sector.

L-R Makerere vice chancellor John Ddumba-Ssentamu, Prime minister Ruhakana Rugunda and BOU governor Emmanuel Tumusime-Mutebile during the launch of the Mutebile projects at makerere last week. Photos: Nicholas Bamulanzeki

This linkage will ensure that Makerere’s research innovations and human resources are combined with financial, industrial, and entrepreneurial capacities in the private sector so as to enhance the social and economic development of the country.

The idea of establishing the forum was well thought out and with a noble vision. But as we all know, since its inception in 2006, it has failed to meet the expected goals. As its chairman, I am aware of these failures more than anybody else and I have found it most disappointing.

Failure to accomplish its tasks has been a result of the inability to achieve the desirable cooperation between Makerere University, on the one hand, and the private sector, on the other; ultimately resulting in falling short of securing adequate government support.

Thankfully, in the last year or so, I have seen more cooperation between the university and the private sector; and I am grateful to Makerere University and the administration for helping to forge a new spirit of cooperation and fuller participation in the activities of the Forum.

RAY OF HOPE

On the side of the Makerere University Private Sector Forum, we now have new high-profile persons who will be announced soon and who are determined to give the forum renewed support.

New plans to support the forum are being drawn up; and unlike in the past, the mobilization efforts to find resources are underway and some success can be seen already.

I must state that government has shown new willingness to become a full partner in all the forum’s endeavours. The launch of the Mutebile chair and the Mutebile centre of excellence is further indication of a renewed spirit and determination by all stakeholders to give their full support to the activities of the forum.

As well as conducting mobilization for the Mutebile chair and centre, it is in plan to revive efforts to move forward in implementing other professional centres of excellence in Makerere University.

I want to announce that I will soon be setting out plans for the establishment of a Tumusiime-Mutebile Foundation, which will be another move to compliment the aims and activities of the forum.

Before I come to the close of my remarks, I would like to highlight an initiative through which the Bank of Uganda will seek to harness the power of public-private partnerships.

It is patently evident that the financial sector in Uganda is progressing steadily towards the full realization of its role as an engine of private sector-led economic growth. Yet, the full potential of the financial sector as a system for mobilization and allocation of resources especially for efficient financing of investment, diversification of risks as well as promotion of competition, transparency and innovation, has not been actualized to date.

One way to stimulate financial sector development, is to bring together the key financial sector players so as to identify the gaps, propose, and implement the requisite interventions in a systematic manner; such as the attempt that was made under the erstwhile five-year Financial Markets Development Plan that run from 2008 to 2012.

Drawing on its convening power, the Bank of Uganda will, therefore, soon reconstitute the Financial Markets Development Committee comprising of representatives of the financial sector and the government.

The committee will outline plans to address the financial sector gaps and coordinate the sectoral activities. This will yet be further evidence of the successful public-private partnerships that will enhance the economic development of Uganda.

Finally, I wish to express my deepest appreciation; first, to the University, and second, to the Makerere University Private Sector Forum, for honouring me with the bestowal of these honours. These honours rarely get earned by many people in their lifetime and little did I know that my working career would be crowned in this manner.

I thank you again for the confidence that you have placed in me through these honours. On my part, I want to give you my best assurances that I will give my utmost to the work we are setting out to do and that your trust in me will not be in vain.

Thank you for listening to me.
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