The executive director of Uganda Development Corporation (UDC), Dr. Patrick Birungi, has said that one of the lessons that government should learn from this Covid19 pandemic is that money that could have been used for travel abroad can be saved thanks to Zoom, a conferencing app.
Birungi noted that a lot of money is being spent as government officials travel to foreign countries to carry out international meetings and businesses yet this can be successfully done here by the use of Zoom.
He advised that during this period, there is need to rebalance the economy.
Birungi noted the country has been spending a lot of resources on infrastructure development therefore to stabilise the economy, there is need to invest more in the productive sector.
“We have also learnt that we can do business unusual. It clearly means that for example,we can save a lot of money by using zoom other than travelling to United Kingdom to do government businesses without necessary physically paying for allowances,”he said
Birungi made the remarks during e-conference on the transformation of Uganda’s real economy amidst Covid-19.
Next Media is one of the key sponsors of the event that started yesterday May 28 and ends today May 29.
He said it is very important for the public sector to come in and support the agenda of the private sector.
“Globalization is becoming a threat, countries are becoming more inward-looking. Countries are moving into producing things rather than specialisation, and relying on global values chains. There are areas which we didn’t take very seriously before as country like importing 70% of our pharmaceutical demands from India, China among others. It doesn’t make sustainable sense,”he said.
The minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Amelia Kyambadde, acknowledged that the government is aware of the impact of the pandemic on the economy as seen through the general reduction of labour supply.
“There has been reduced aggregate demand in the economy due to the reduced economic activities resulting from the restrictions on movement, curfew and other measures. There are reduced foreign exchange earnings and reduction in international commercial activities,”she said.
Kyambadde said during this period, the coffee prices have surprisingly risen in addition to the increased demand for horticulture and foodstuffs.
“There is need to promote local development strategies to promote partnership between the business sector and local government infrastructure. We should look at other forms of infrastructure like the railway because we have had a lot of problems with the truck drivers,”she said.
She said focus will also be put on agro industrialisation and agro-processing opportunities.
“There are opportunities for further processing of soya, simsim and sugarcane. Another opportunity is leather products and dairy products because of reduced exportation of these products,” she noted.