The World Bank, UBOS disagree on the National Accounts Aggregate used to determine Uganda’s Economic Status

Mukami Kariuki, World Bank Country Manager for Uganda

The  Uganda Bureau of Statistics-UBOS and the World Bank have disagreed on the methodology used in determining the country’s economic status. They will however release a joint statement in the next 24 hours on Uganda’s status.

In his State of the Nation Address on June 7, President Yoweri Museveni said that Uganda would achieve the economic indicators putting it in the threshold for lower-middle-income status by the time of the budget reading a week later.

The president repeated the same on budget day and wondered why Finance, Planning and Economic Development minister Matia Kasaija had not mentioned it in his speech. He said the conclusion was based on the size of Uganda’s economy or GDP compared to the economy.

But on the last day of the financial year 2021/22, the World Bank released the 19th Uganda Economic Update, which showed that the country was yet to achieve the required figures to join the Middle-Income Countries, Middle Income Status. The report puts Uganda’s per capita income at USD 850, as opposed to the USD 1,045 dollars stated by President Museveni.

According to the Bank, the GDP, which is the total monetary or market value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country’s borders in a specific time period, is no longer used to determine the status of the economy, but the Gross National Income-GNI, which considers GDP plus economic activities undertaken outside the country by Uganda nationals, excluding activities of foreigners resident in the country.

It’s for this reason that the Uganda Bureau of Statistics-UBOS, the World Bank together with the Bank of Uganda met on Monday to harmonise their position following two opposing views on the economy. The meeting of the three institutions was sanctioned by the president to harmonise the positions, but it ended without agreement.

UBOS Executive Director, Chris Mukiza who described the meeting as cordial, said the only difference was in the choice of statistics to use.

“The World Bank is reporting using GNI, that we shall explain -GNI per Capita. We at the Bureau reported GDP Per Capita. These are two different national account aggregates. So the issue is the interpretation and the reference period by the two reports, “Mukiza said.

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