At the climax of the historic book launch held on Tuesday 23rd September 2014, the audience comprising people with different political ideologies, public, business and private sectors, development partners, the academia, students and the media applauded the author-Professor Ezra Sabiti Suruma for presenting to Ugandans and the world at large, a well written and researched political history and economic evolution of Uganda.
This audience that filled the renowned Makerere University Main Hall and Gallery to capacity was nothing short of spectacular. They upheld the author’s point of view that there was a strong correlation between political stability and the rate of economic growth. They agreed with the author that foreign aid would never lead to the development of Uganda; appreciated the author for reiterating the need to involve the communities in the implementation of the rural development strategy; thanked the author for giving direction on a reformed pension and social security sector; and together with the author wished for a well managed oil sector that would lead to job creation and prosperity for all.
In his book, Advancing the Ugandan Economy: A Personal Account published by Brookings Institution Press, Washington, D.C,2014, Professor Ezra Sabiti Suruma, an accomplished academician who served government diligently, highlights that it is because of the transformed political environment that Uganda has experienced stability and growth. He also shares very difficult times in Uganda’s history and the reforms that followed, identifies problems in various sectors and proposes viable solutions given his research background and wealth of experience. Professor Suruma remains optimistic that as the democratic environment evolves, Uganda will become more stable; and emphasizes that good governance is critical in a country’s social and economic transformation.
In his 197-page book, Professor Ezra Sabiti Suruma, a former Senior Lecturer of Economics at Makerere University; former Director of Research in Bank of Uganda; Minister of Finance from 2005 to 2009; and Senior Presidential Adviser on Finance and Planning in Uganda-not only provides an insider’s account of dramatic policy shifts in Uganda leading to stability and growth, but also expresses hope for a better Uganda. This distinguished son of Africa was also a visiting fellow at Brookings with the Africa Growth Initiative from 2010 to 2011.
In the foreword, Henry Krabbendam, a Professor Emeritus, Covenant College Georgia and Founder, Africa Christian Training Institute-Uganda states that the book gives Professor Suruma’s account of the remarkable policy changes that occurred in Uganda from 1986-2012 as well as his vision for the future of his country. He notes that the primary purpose of the book is to demonstrate that African countries can achieve economic stability and sustain rapid growth when they meet at least two interdependent conditions. He however emphasizes that they must establish a stable and secure political framework, rooted in moral integrity, as well as unleash the entrepreneurialism of the populace, facilitated by a free and democratic society.
Focusing on a better Uganda, the hopeful Professor Ezra Sabiti Suruma, a respected economist and academician who served the government diligently decries the growing unemployment levels, but envisions Uganda at full employment. His philosophy of full employment is premised on a well managed oil sector and its correlation with job creation and socio-economic transformation.
“…I continue to believe that the country cannot and should not try to sweep the problem of unemployment under the carpet. With the impending oil wealth, I believe that the country really can afford to pursue full employment. Uganda needs to address the needs of its expanding youth population for adequate housing and decent jobs,” further reads the extract on page 194.
Officiating at the launch of this admirably well-written and researched book, the Vice President of the Republic of Uganda, H.E Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi congratulated Prof. Ezra Sabiti Suruma upon extending the boundaries of knowledge in economics and politics, and equally commended him for not only awakening Ugandans to social, political and economic issues of our time but also providing solutions these problems.
“I have the pleasure to officially launch Prof. Ezra Sabiti Suruma’s book-Advancing the Ugandan Economy: A Personal Account. I commend it to all Ugandans as a prescription that will save Uganda and take it to greater heights,” said the Vice President of Uganda, H.E Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi amidst applause from a captivated audience.
At the memorable book launch Pastor Laban Jjumba who was invited to say a prayer thanked the Almighty God for blessing the author with the gift of life and wisdom. He also gave God the glory for His Servant’s book launch as hosted by Makerere University.
In the same spirit, the Vice Chair, Uganda Debt Network, Ms. Christine Nantongo said that the organisation was proud to be associated with the Prof. Suruma’s publication. “We are aware of the compelling content in this publication and its potential to contribute to Uganda and Africa’s social and economic transformation.”
The Acting Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, Associate Professor Ernest Okello Ogwang welcomed the audience to Makerere University and commended them for filling up the Main Hall and the Gallery to capacity as Professor Ezra Sabiti Suruma, a distinguished leader and a former Senior Lecturer of Economics at Makerere University (1973-75 and 1979-81) launched his publication.
“Makerere University is indeed proud that you chose this Hall as the venue for the launch of your book Advancing the Ugandan Economy – A Personal Account for if its walls would speak, it would tell many a tale. We are also proud that the narrative of this book had its origins in Makerere University, during your tenure as Senior Lecturer at Makerere University. We warmly congratulate you and take great pride in your achievement, and commend you for literally bringing it home,” remarked Associate Prof. Okello Ogwang.
Assoc. Prof. Okello Ogwang, who is also the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs) informed the audience that sometimes, those in the know (the insiders) are not bold enough to share what they know. He noted that the insiders often share their experience through other people, and in most cases, especially, here in Uganda; often wait for authors from other countries to write about their own country.
He applauded the author, Professor Ezra Sabiti Suruma (an insider) for taking a bold step to dedicate time and resources to share with Ugandans and the world at large an insider’s account of dramatic policy shifts in Uganda that led to stability. He then encouraged other insiders who were in attendance to share their own accounts with Ugandans and the world at large.
The Ag. Vice Chancellor also thanked the discussants namely Hon. Dr. Mary Mugyenyi, Gen. Salim Saleh Akandwanaho, Mr. Andrew Rugasira, Hon. Nandala Mafabi, and Mr. Edward Gaamuwa for accepting to be part of the intellectual discourse so that the current political and economic reforms in the quest for economic independence seek to build upon the demands in an interrelated, interconnected and global environment.
At 2:30pm, the author- Professor Ezra Sabiti Suruma took to the podium to address eagerly expectant audience comprising several dignitaries, Senior citizens, Ministers, Members of Parliament, intellectuals – both young and old, students and the media.
“The Financial Sector Reform: Negotiating with the Bretton Woods Institutions, I believe is one of the most interesting chapters for students and professors. As the Vice Chancellor said, I am speaking from firsthand experience,” remarked Prof. Suruma in reference to chapter nine of his book.
With nostalgia, Prof. Suruma thanked Makerere University for welcoming him, and allowing him to launch his book, in the very institution where the journey started in 1979 when he was Senior Lecturer in the then Department of Economics. He informed the audience that the organizers had proposed to launch his book in a different location, but by God’s providence, he was equally happy that they were all gathered in the Makerere University Main Hall.
Makerere University, he soon learnt that what he was lecturing was soon to become irrelevant and could not easily be heard amidst the turbulent times. It was also very unfortunate that during the Amin Era, most intellectuals lost their lives. At Makerere University, he met the late Joshua Baitwa Mugyenyi, whose words of wisdom and vision for the future in one of the lectures that Suruma attended marked a turning point in his life. He pointed out that it was his first time to see someone such as Joshua Baitwa Mugyenyi openly stating that the political parties could no longer take the country forward, and that there was need for the 3rd force in Uganda to intervene. Later on, Suruma then a Senior Lecturer of Economics joined Joshua Baitwa Mugyenyi-the political scientist to form that 3rd force – the Uganda National Movement at Makerere University.In his presentation, Professor Suruma highlighted the journey through Uganda’s turbulent times. While at
Recalling their boldness and how their decision to form a 3rd force impacted on the transformation of Uganda, Professor Suruma advised the youths and students to remain focused and determined.
“Then we were young people and a laughing stock. People said that they had dominant political parties, and that we as young people could not do anything. One of the main points, I want to put forward is that when we entered politics, we were responding to a difficult environment. Although they considered us hopeless, we had remarkable achievements. I encourage you, young people to know that ideas are powerful,” he said.
The author pointed out that he escaped death narrowly when soldiers came looking for him, but surprisingly a voice responded that he was not in the area, and by God’s grace the soldiers did not bother to check. Professor Suruma will remain eternally grateful to the person who chose to inform the soldiers that he was not in the area, although the person has never revealed his identity to date.
“To the young people, If God determines that you will live, you will live. Do not fear to organize,” he emphasized amidst applause from the audience.
In his hypothesis, it is because of the transformed political environment that Uganda has experienced stability and growth. In the last 27 years, the country has been going forward because there is a remarkable correlation between the type of government and the rate of economic growth. Although the history of economic growth is attributed to macro-economic principles, Professor Suruma argues that more attention should be given to political stability. The transformation in political stability made it possible to pursue major financial reforms in Uganda.
“Looking at the data on page 22, with Uganda’s economic growth rate rising to 3.6%, there is no doubt in my mind that the increase in economic growth is correlated with good governance,” he emphasized.
Being a key figure in the economic and political transformation of Uganda, Professor Suruma is delighted with the reforms that resulted into the liberalization of the foreign exchange sector. He also encountered serious challenges during his tenure at Bank of Uganda including lack of capacity and accountability as well as independence of the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance. He also shared a scenario where some key government officials wondered why the Bank of Uganda would require a budget! Professor Suruma is equally glad that they took bold decisions that resulted into a reformed banking sector and an independent Bank of Uganda.
He highlighted the struggle for the Uganda Commercial Bank. He referred to it as a bank without money, with the most pressing problem being illiquidity of the bank. Realising that the people would deposit money, but encountered a lot of difficulty in withdrawing, Professor Suruma considered the problem and tried to find out where the money was going.
“I found out that branch managers were lending independently of the centre. Top managers did not know what the branch managers were doing, the latter were practically autonomous. Worse still, the branch managers were lending money but not recovering much of it. That was the ultimate source of the disaster, “he said.
Professor Suruma made an incredible decision, and the bank was liquid within a week, a milestone that his colleagues referred to as the “Suruma Effect.” Listening to his presentation, it was crystal clear that Professor Suruma who had ensured that the Uganda Commercial Bank was profitable as of 1996, did not support the World Bank position of privatizing the bank, but he later realized that he could not win.
The author received around of applause from the audience when he pointed out that the pension and social security reforms are a societal obligation. “I appeal to our citizens to struggle for a time when every Ugandan citizen will afford basic needs and be respected regardless of their economic status,” he said.
In his book, the optimistic Professor Suruma tackles the promising oil sector and its effect on job creation and the social and economic wellbeing of Ugandans. “Chapter 21: Job Creation and Housing Demand in Uganda-An Innovative Synergy is my small contribution to the debate on creating employment,” remarked the author.
The author dedicated the book to his father, Sulumani Barilanwa who made sure that he went to school-even though their village had no school to go to; his mother Esiteri Keiganiza whose unflinching disciplinary rigor set him on the straight path toward good; and to the martyrs and fighters for human freedom and justice everywhere.
To the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, Professor John Ddumba-Ssentamu who was out of the country on official duty, the author, Professor Ezra Sabiti Suruma presented an autographed complimentary book with a special message.
“ To Prof. and Vice Chancellor, Dr. Ddumba Ssentamu, in remembrance of our time together at Makerere University, 1979 -1981.Thank you for your friendship.”
Hon. Mary Mugyenyi, Patron, Joshua Mugyenyi Foundation said that she could identify with what the author had written especially the history and economics of this country. She however pointed out that although decentralization had taken services to the people, it had shortfalls which should be addressed. She also observed that privatization though good had shortfalls such as the prioritization of foreign firms over local ones. She also noted although SACCOs are good, there is an urgent need to regulate them so as to guarantee the safety of their members’ savings. She emphasized that corruption in Uganda is not caused by poverty and appealed to Makerere University to conduct an informed study on who is corrupt and why they are corrupt.
Gen. Salim Saleh Akandwanaho, Presidential Advisor on Security, and formerly, Minister of State for Microfinance thanked the author for according
him the honour of discussing his rural development strategy and its impact on Uganda, which he; Gen. Salim Saleh has been implementing as a loyal officer. He noted that community information systems and access to finances were crucial in advancing the rural development strategy and also saluted H.E President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni for re-enforcing the military in the rural development strategy. Gen. Salim Saleh appreciated the title of the book, especially its faith in the future. He nevertheless drew applause from the audience when he emphasized that his dealings in the privatization of the Uganda Commercial Bank were only influenced by the desire to “Ugandanise” the bank. He asked that authors to publish more books on the economy, politics, and environment so that Uganda continues to move forward.
Mr. Edward Gaamuwa, Chief Executive Director-ACLAIM Africa Limited congratulated Dr. Suruma for his incisive and sometimes blunt book and for being bold to call a spade a spade. He appreciated the author for pointing out that Ministers and people in high places had succumbed to corruption. He however disagreed with the author that corruption was a result of income insecurity but was rather convinced that corruption is a result of greed. The discussant decried the “short termism” in managing pension funds and emphasized the need for a long term approach. He added that social security is not a luxury, but a key factor in sustainable development.
Hon. Nandala Mafabi, formerly Leader of Opposition in Parliament reminded the audience that during his tenure, privatization had indeed put the President and Parliament on a collision course as Dr. Suruma correctly pointed out in his book on page 73. Hon. Nandala recalled that he moved the motion in the House not to sell the then Uganda Commercial Bank. He commended the author for taking wisdom and courage to come up with an insightful book especially as member of the ruling party! With regard to the discussion on corruption, the discussant argued that the people that tended to already have wealth turned out to be the most corrupt. He agreed with the author that unemployment in Uganda was a serious matter and that a well managed oil resource would lead to creation of jobs. Focusing on the management of the oil resources, he emphasized the need for transparency and accountability as well as the need for the Opposition and Government of Uganda to work together for a thriving oil sector. He also agreed with the view that oil presents us with an opportunity to uplift the standards of Ugandans. Hon. Nandala Mafabi however critiqued the author for remaining silent on the role of international agencies in the oil sector. “The international agencies and donors always ignore the local voices, but claim to pursue democracy,” he said.
Mr. Andrew Rugasira, Chief Executive Officer, Good African Coffee Ltd appealed to the youth and students to read the book and fashion their ideologies around it. He detested the high rate of borrowing and its adverse effects on investment and development. He noted that access to capital was a major problem whereby young people have ideas, but very few have access to capital. He stressed that our hope in economic transformation was within our midst, and further encouraged young people to come up with innovative strategies.
In his address, the Vice President of the Republic of Uganda, H.E Ssekandi said: “You will appreciate that books are the principle repository of knowledge. Books of this nature help us to link with reality in our environment and communities. We should use the ideas to bring about transformation in our communities. This is a great inspiration to all of us here to put our ideas in writing and share them with humanity.”
Wrapping up, Professor Suruma thanked the congregation for sparing their valuable time to participate in the book launch. “I have been humbled by your presence and contributions.”
Professor Augustus Nuwagaba, who moderated the discussion, thanked Makerere University for producing Professor Suruma – a wonderful son of Africa. He equally congratulated the Vice Chancellor and staff of Makerere University for producing products that can effect change the world over.
The Uganda Debt Network, which envisions a prosperous Uganda with sustainable, equitable development and high quality of life of the people, sponsored the book launch.
Written by: Ritah Namisango, Makerere University
Government Sponsorship Admission Lists 2022/23 Verified by Districts
The Office of the Academic Registrar Makerere University is pleased to announce that the following candidates have been verified by their respective Districts for admission to the programmes indicated against their names under the District Quota Scheme.
Follow the link below for the list:
Student Registration for Semester I 2022/2023
(a) First Years
Every new student admitted to a programme of study of Makerere University was issued a provisional admission letter with fees structure for payment of requisite fees. This enables privately sponsored first year students pay at least 60% tuition and all functional fees before issuance of original admission letters which should be collected from the respective Colleges/Schools.
For a candidate to qualify to be a bonafide student of the University, he/she MUST be
registered. Registration is a mandatory requirement of the University which must be
done within the specified time at the beginning of the semester. Failure to do so will
automatically lead to your place being forfeited to another candidate. Official
Registration/Verification of documents is on going using the Academic Information
Management System (ACMIS) used by Makerere University.
Ensure that you complete all the required registration formalities within the prescribed
time as per the Fees Payment Policy and registration programmes provided by your
respective Colleges. The system cycle will be closed on 3Qth November, 2022.
For registration purposes all first year students MUST produce their Original documents
as indicated on their admission letters for validation and verification purposes. At the end
of the online registration exercise, new students will be required to submit 3 photocopies
of their academic documents which will be dully signed and stamped by their Registrars
for record purposes.
(b) Continuing Students
Continuing students also use the Academic Information Management System (ACMIS) for
registration for Academic Year 2022/2023. Continuing students should register online by
accessing the registration Menu in the Student Portal and selecting the first option labeled
“Self Registration” and click the REGISTRATION NOW option.
The Cycle for online registration for the Academic year 2022/2023, Semester One is open
for all continuing students. The system cycle will be closed on 30th November, 2023.
(c) Students who belong to the under listed categories are advised to contact their College/School Registrars before they can register.
(i) Retakes Cases
(ii) Stay Put Cases
(iii) Withdrawal cases
(iv) Audited Courses
(v) Extension Cases
N. B. Each student should pay National Council for Higher Education fee of 20,000/ = per year and UNSA Subscription of 2,000/= per year before registration.
(d) In case of any problem, consult your College/School Registrar. College Accountants are responsible for providing the financial status to all students and generating lists of paid up students to the Deans. They will also clear paid up students to be issued the examination permits before sitting University examinations for Semester One, 2022/2023 Academic year.
Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi
Download the Communication from Academic Registrar here
A Delegation from Netherlands Visits Makerere University
On Monday 14th November 2022, a delegation from the Royal Kingdom of the Netherlands visited Makerere University to discuss capacity building, scholarships, research and approaches to developing the Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) and Higher Education programme.
The visiting delegation consisted of Mr Siemen Tuinstra, Deputy Director, Department of Social Development; Mr Theodore Klouvasa, Coordination Policy Officer, Education & Youth Responsible for the development of the new TVET & Higher Education Programme; Ms Hilde de Bruijn – Senior Policy Officer and Ms Joy Acom-Okello, the Policy Officer Humanitarian Affairs and Migration at the Netherlands Embassy in Kampala.
Discussion with the Vice Chancellor
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe welcomed the visitors to Makerere University and briefed them about the history of the University that started as a technical college in 1922 with 14 students. In 1949, it became a University College affiliated to the University College of London, offering courses leading to the general degrees of its then mother institution. With the establishment of the University of East Africa in June 29, 1963, the special relationship with the University of London came to a close and degrees of the University of East Africa were instituted. On July 1, 1970, Makerere became an independent national university of the Republic of Uganda, offering undergraduate and postgraduate courses leading to its own awards. In 1990, there was liberalization of university education after the World Bank and IMF decided that there should be less spending on university education and introduced structural adjustment programmes. The Government pays a lump sum to the university to sponsor some students and the rest are private students.
The Coordination Policy Officer, Mr Theodore Klouvasa informed the Vice Chancellor about the new programme on TVET and Higher Education that their government was developing. The purpose of their visit was to consult other stakeholders in higher education such as universities, ministries of Education and Sports, Agriculture, Gender and Youth and technical institutions to learn more about the existing collaborations between them and see where the Netherlands government can assist in developing a beneficial programme. How exactly do universities relate with Vocational Institutes and what is the education system in Uganda ad how do donors communicate with the major actors in the education system? How do universities relate with the private sector? If government sponsors some students, how can the scholarships be more inclusive and target the marginalized? Research is very important for all universities. How can they bring more research in the university and what can they add on the PhD infrastructure? Makerere University is strategic partner with the Netherlands having trained many PhDs at Wageningen University, Maastricht University, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam; University of Groningen; Radboud University Nijmegen; Delft University of Technology.
Makerere University has many collaborations globally and has over the years increased partnerships with the government. The College of Health Sciences has done extensive research with the Military in the area of HIV/AIDS; with the Ministry of Water & Mineral Development in the area of water qualities and management; with UNRA with joint research and use of technologies for materials and road construction; with Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Industry and Fisheries in the area of cross boundary animal diseases; with Food processing industries with our School of Food Nutrition and Biotechnology; the Horticulture industries in controlling quality of products for export; the IT companies with our College of Computing and Information Sciences and also the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology. The University relates well with the Uganda Society of Architects and our architecture students are exposed to the new products on the market such as the new design of roofing tiles. The students share simple technologies learnt in class with the manufacturing companies which have helped in boosting production.
Uganda is affected by a high population growth and many graduates cannot find jobs. The education system needs to be geared towards problem solving techniques to be taught to learners/students at all levels. There is a need to change the mindset of the teachers/professors and the students as well. A mindset programme is to be introduced in the first year of studies for all programmes. Makerere University is also in the process of establishing an incubation hub where the good ideas of students can be developed to start a business. If you want to change the country, you engage the students to do more innovations and encourage production of their ideas. He informed the delegation that during Covid-19, the government of Uganda provided funds to Makerere University, which were used to equip laboratories and do more research and produce a vaccine. The University also operationalized the online learning by use of technology to minimize the effects of the pandemic.
The Vice Chancellor disclosed that there is an urgent need to re-tool the teachers in the Vocational institutes to upgrade their practical skills with the trends on the market. Therefore, the training and scholarship by Netherlands for vocational teachers to upgrade skills with latest technologies in universities would be appropriate.
Discussion with the College of Education and External Studies
The Deputy Principal, Dr. Ronald Bisaso received and welcomed the delegation. He represented the College Principal, Prof. Anthony Mugagga. The Deputy Principal highlighted that regarding the education system in Uganda, some areas have changed and others improved. He noted that many graduates lack the required skills for the job market. It would therefore be better if Makerere University also benefits from vocational studies and practice. Dr. Bisaso pointed out that the Department of Science, Technology and Vocation Education at the College of Education and External Studies offers a course on vocational studies and they expect to produce 1,500 graduates by 2025. The level of the vocational course offered is gauged by UBTEB (Uganda Business and Technical Examinations Board) that administers examinations and awards National Diplomas. The investment in the education sector by government is quite minimal with just 11.5% (Higher education getting 6.4% and TVET getting 5.1%). Capacity of the sector needs to be enhanced through training. Professors must acquire entrepreneurial skills before they occupy leadership positions instead of doing so when they are already in the positions. At the College of Education and External Studies (CEES) with a population of 4,000 students, there only 30 doctoral students. CEES partners with the Ministry of Education and Sports through projects such as the Early childhood and development projects. Individual staff are seconded to projects to train and even share experiences.
The Deputy Principal called upon the Netherlands to support knowledge and capacity building of early career academics and partnering with the TVET ecosystem. This includes interventions, trainings and exchanges at various levels and cooperation with different stakeholders such as the government, the private sector, civil society and the Vocational institutes. He advocated for strengthening of existing vocational institutes, establishment of vocational institutes were they do not exist and development of research infrastructure and adoption of TVET across the education system.
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