Gedanken (Thought Experiment)

By Andrew M. Mwenda

In 2005, I wrote to then commissioner general of Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Allen Kagina, asking how many motor vehicles they register on average per month. She replied giving me a figure of 2800.

Last year (2016), the average number of motor vehicles being registered was 12,000 per month – an increase of 330%. Meanwhile the population in 2005 was 29m. Now it is 38m, a growth of 33%.

This means the rate of registration of motor vehicles has grown ten times faster than the growth of the population. If Ugandans are growing poorer as some people claim, what explains increasing purchases of motor vehicles? Let me hear your insights.

Gedanken (Thought Experiment) 2

Let us continue to explore the claim that Ugandans are growing poorer. One way to measure people’s incomes is looking at their savings. The national pension fund is the NSSF.

In 2010, the fund was collecting Shs 24.5 billion per month and its total assets were worth Shs 1.7 trillion (when adjusted to inflation it comes to Shs 2.9 trillion in 2017 prices).

In 2016, it collected Shs 72 billion per month and its total assets are now worth Shs 7.2 trillion.

In 2016 alone, 3014 new businesses registered with NSSF bringing in 120,000 new subscribers compared to 30,000 new subscribers in 2010. If Ugandans are growing poorer, why is NSSF getting more subscribers and collecting more savings?

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