Government has through the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, the country’s data collecting, processing, analysing and disseminating agency insisted that Uganda is in middle income status despite a recent report by the World Bank dismissing the same.
A few weeks ago, President Museveni and the Finance Minister Matia Kasaija said that with a GDP per capita of $1046, the country has already reached the middle income status.
Earlier this week, the World Bank in a report dismissed the claim saying Uganda is still a low income country with a Gross National Income (GNI) per person of about $840 .
The variations have since left many with tongues wagging .
Addressing journalists on Wednesday, UBOS Executive Director, Dr.Chris Mukiza blamed the variation on misinterpretation on World Bank’s side, noting that the international body had used old data to come up with their report.
“The estimates for GNI per capita which is the GDP adjusted for net primary income released by the World Bank are consistent with the government of Uganda estimates but the reference period in the two reports is difeent,” Dr.Mukiza said.
The UBOS chief explained 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.”
Dr.Mukiza explained that the World Bank used the UN population projections for Uganda for deriving the Gross National Income per capita indicating that the mid-year projection for financial year 2020/21 Uganda is 47.1 million which he said is far above the official estimates for government.
“The Uganda government official population projection for the same period is 42.4 million resulting into a difference of 4.7 million people. What is more striking is that the World Bank is giving Uganda more people than it has. The 47.1 million they say we have are 4.7 million people bigger than those in Kampala during day time and they are dividing incomes of non-existent people.”
He noted that government’s official estimates of GDP per capita for financial year 2021/22 is $1064 whereas the World Bank doesn’t at this point have any projection for GNI per capita for financial year 2021/22.
Mukiza insisted that governments, world over are the official sources of data used in computation of the economic status of countries and that it is this data that World Bank uses.
“The only agency responsible for official statistics is this office. It is not World Bank, United Nations or IMF. There is no other source of official statistics than UBOS. Anybody can produce numbers but the official source is here. The GDP per capital for Uganda at the end of June is $1064. The GNI statistics are not statistically significant. It is up to you to make inference,”Mukiza said.
Quoting UBOS statistics, President Museveni said there is something to rejoice about after the country entered the middle income status.
“This means that the GDP per capita is now $1046. You remember, the entrance points for the lower middle-income status, is USD 1036. We have now passed that figure. Congratulations,” Museveni said during the State of the Nation Address
Many have since disputed the figures insisting they are cooked by UBOS to please the president.
Others insisted that the reality on the ground indicates that more people have slid into poverty in the past two to three year, mostly owing to the effects of the Covid pandemic.
However, when tasked to explain the source of the figures that indicate growth of the economy, the UBOS Executive Director insisted that statistics don’t lie.
“We don’t grow or reduce figures but rather measure how you have performed. It is not my work to mislead the president. When GDP is slowing down, I tell them and when it is growing, I still tell them. It is the same thing when inflation is going up or down. I put the figures as they are. Even if it is 100% we say it without hiding,” Dr. Mukiza said.