Home business The Crucial Role of Transport in Uganda’s Economic Development -Brian Muyomba

The Crucial Role of Transport in Uganda’s Economic Development -Brian Muyomba

Accountants attending the 12th Certified Public Accountants economic forum in Entebbe

Mr. Brian Muyomba, the National Treasurer of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) Uganda Chapter, delivered an insightful presentation on the critical role of transport infrastructure in economic development at the 12th CPA Economic Forum. He emphasised that economic development is fundamentally about providing equitable opportunities and ensuring the security of infrastructure users.

Mr Muyomba highlighted the importance of expanding conditions that contribute to societal progress by enabling individuals, firms, and communities to realise their potential, as cited by Feldman et al. (2015). He underscored Uganda’s notable advancements in multi-structural infrastructure developments and advocated for the sustainable utilisation of available resources, suggesting alternatives to road transport such as water transport and cable cars, particularly around Kampala’s hilly areas.

According to Mr Muyomba, economic development entails a sustained increase in prosperity and quality of life, achieved through innovation, lowered transaction costs, and the responsible production and distribution of goods and services. He echoed Phelps (2013), asserting that economic development occurs when individuals can actively engage and contribute to society, thus realising their potential. Effective institutions, grounded in openness, tolerance for risk, and appreciation for diversity, are crucial for fostering economic development.

Mr Muyomba stressed that economic development should not be measured merely by job counts or unemployment rates but by the quality of growth. Key indicators include changes in per capita personal income, the quality of employment (skills and wages), business practices, and social capital density. He cautioned that countries might experience economic growth without economic development, citing Moyo (2009) as an example where increased national income might co-exist with low life expectancy and high child mortality rates.

He delved into the direct and indirect impacts of transport infrastructure on economic development. Direct impacts, referred to as “user benefits” by Polyzos (2019), include cost, time, reliability, comfort, and security. Indirect impacts arise from improved transport infrastructure leading to lower transport costs, increased purchasing power, job creation, and better access to markets, education, health, and entertainment. Mr Muyomba also emphasised the redistributive impacts, highlighting how transport infrastructure can promote social equity by improving access to essential services and employment opportunities for marginalized communities.

Mr Muyomba outlined the goals of Uganda’s Integrated Transport Infrastructure and Services Programme (ITIS), which aims to establish a seamless, safe, inclusive, and sustainable multimodal transport system by 2025. The ITIS programme targets include reducing travel time and freight transportation costs, increasing the stock and lifespan of transport infrastructure, and reducing fatalities and casualties from transport accidents.

To optimise transport infrastructure and services investment, Mr. Muyomba recommended a multifaceted approach. This includes prioritising transport asset management to ensure the longevity and efficiency of existing infrastructure, and promoting integrated land use and transport planning to create cohesive, sustainable urban environments.

He highlighted the need to reduce infrastructure costs through innovative construction techniques and efficient project management. Strengthening policy, legal, regulatory, and institutional frameworks is also crucial to provide a stable and transparent environment for investments.

Mr. Muyomba further pointed out several significant challenges. Securing adequate funding remains a major hurdle, necessitating innovative financing solutions and public-private partnerships. Proper maintenance of infrastructure is essential to prevent deterioration and prolong service life. Combating corruption is vital to ensure funds are used effectively and projects are completed to high standards. Adhering to quality standards is necessary to build durable and reliable infrastructure.

Technological advancements should be embraced to improve efficiency and service delivery. Enhancing coordination among various stakeholders, including government agencies, private sector, and civil society, is crucial for cohesive planning and implementation. Policy harmonisation is needed to ensure consistency and integration across different regions and sectors. Additionally, addressing environmental concerns is imperative to create sustainable and resilient transport systems.

In conclusion, Mr Muyomba reiterated that economic development is about enhancing the quality of life. While growth without development is possible, transport infrastructure plays a pivotal role in fostering economic development. Uganda’s ITIS programme, despite facing challenges, is poised to achieve significant progress. He emphasised the need for increased investment and the adoption of new trends in transport infrastructure, asserting that development is an ongoing process with limitless potential.

The 12th  CPA Economic Forum is an annual event organised by the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda(ICPAU). It will be held from 3-5 July 2024, at the Imperial Resort Beach Hotel-Entebbe, with an option to attend online.

This annual event brings together experts from various sectors to reflect on, deliberate, and generate solutions for key economic issues. The goal is to produce policy recommendations for the government to help address significant economic challenges in the country.

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