MPs task UBOS to clear confusion over middle income status

MPs on the committee on Human Rights have tasked the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) to explain how they concluded that Uganda had attained a middle-income status.

UBOS officials led by James Muwonge, the director of Methodology and Statistics was on Wednesday, 10 August 2022 appearing before the committee to answer to considerations of the Human Rights Annual Report for 2018 to 2021.

Muwonge was however, tasked by members to explain why their declaration of middle-income status was not accepted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank.

Dodoth West MP, Ben Koryang tasked UBOS to explain why they misled the president and how they arrived at declaring the country as having attained middle income.

"IMF says Uganda has not attained middle-income status based on their statistical information, and UBOS says Uganda has attained, my question is who is right?" Koryang questioned.

Milton Muwuma, the acting chairperson of the committee questioned if it was not an exaggeration to declare Uganda as being in middle income, or as nearing middle income and yet people are still starving to death while others still survive on less than a dollar a day.

"People cannot afford a meal; just the other day they were dying of starvation then you say we are getting there. Don’t you think that using that general word puts us in a tricky situation?" he asked.

Muwonge however, said that they did not mislead the president, but used the Gross Domestic Product (GNP) to arrive at the declaration, while the IMF and World Bank used Gross National Product (GNP).

“Gross Domestic Product looks at all people in Uganda irrespective of whether they are nationals or not and yet Gross National Product looks at only income earned by nationals. We are in discussions with the UN on these issues, we want to see the areas of divergence," he said.

UBOS executive director, Dr Chris Mukiza explained earlier this year that whereas government quoted data for the financial year 2021/22, the World Bank on the other side based on data from the financial year 2020/21.

"Thus, the per capita income in the two reports refers to two different periods, the government of Uganda report being the most up to date," he said.

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