Professor Kamuntu should have reflected on his own admission that only 9% of Ugandans have electricity. If that is the case, how come the country is teaming with youth if only those with electricity are overdoing it?
Professor Kamuntu should be helping the government to come up with credible measures to curb the population explosion. Uganda will not come close to meeting its millennium goals if the population growth continues to grow at that rate. Similarly Uganda won’t be able to offer effective health care to the people with such numbers. It simply can’t even with plentiful oil money in the future.
Ugandans do not seem to appreciate the strong macroeconomic growth because the micro economic fundamentals are terrible. Very little attention has been paid to the household level which is both the victim and author of their own fate.
I understand the jist of Professor Kamuntu’s assertion: that lack of leisure and work activities forces Ugandans to engage in sexual activities. he should live that to undergraduate students of micro economics. As the the minister in charge of planning it was very timid. He should tell Ugandans the uncomfortable truth, which is that as long as they continue to produce many babies, their fate is doomed. Period. Done.
There is no magic bullet out of poverty at the household level. Needless to say, households with more children are likely to be poorer than households with fewer children. As the minister in charge of planning that is the message he should convey to Ugandans religiously. As they say he should stay on message over and over.
The big question is how to get there given the socially conservative environment in the country. Is the government of Uganda prepared to confront the elephant in the house and extend affordable, safe and accessible family planing services to those Ugandan women who want them? The minister can talk of natural methods if they want but the most effective method is well known.
Ugandans cannot have their cake and eat it too. No way. The best and yes more efficient method was the one suggested by Mr Onyango-Obbo in his Daily Nation column that to save Africa, time has come to levy a tax on babies. Incidentally land tax would also be the most efficient in the country but Ugandans are allergic to taxation (read the big men are the largest landholders). Yes, raise the cost of having babies without shifting the burden and cost on the poor Ugandan women. That could do the trick faster than this electricity angle.
The Minister as a respected economist should also help the state review the legacy of its policies. Are some govt policies contributing to the population explosion? For example could UPE and USE be having unintended consequences on population? How? Now that the barriers to education are no more even those Ugandans who may have sought of family planing/child spacing may not care anymore now that the burdens have been relieved.
You know Ugandans and their mentality “let us now produce the govt will educate” so they say. But wait a minute the govt won’t feed or dress those kids. Yes, it is proposing to treat them for free but not yet. Are the very policies aimed to hep Ugandans hurting them instead? That is for the govt to review and change course if necessary.
To be brunt, there is no political will to address the population explosion and its attendant poverty in Uganda. As a result the state is killing Ugandan women who have to produce until God relieves them of the burden.