I didn’t want to enter into this debate, but since I have already drafted this assessment, well here it is. First of all, I am one of those who wants leaders, the local media, and our economics professionals to make things simple for the ordinary Ugandan, especially when explaining policy matters that affect them.
The language doesn’t have to be confusing or “un-understandable” to the common man. And there is nothing happening in economics that the ordinary citizen doesn’t know about in an ordinary way.
As an economist, I am privy to the intellectual posturing that economists engage in to either impress listeners or confuse them, or both.
The term “Fiscal tools” is yet another empty bullet in their linguistics arsenal. I can guarantee you that 99 per cent of the people mocking MP Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, do not know what it means.
When asked, the majority fumble in economics linguistic gymnastics to either try to explain what they think it sounds like, while others will simply feign a more important issue to attend to and run.
Truth is, most of these terms mean simple things like reducing or hiking taxes on goods and/or services for a political or economic policy reason (that’s what “Fiscal tool” actually means), while other terms are outright nosense (Debt-to-GDP ratio for example). So MP Kyagulanyi says if elected president, he will remove OTT tax.
Removing that tax is a fiscal tool. A tool for what? A tool for increasing and spreading the use of Internet technology among Ugandans in this global digital era, and in my professional assessment that is a necessary policy endeavour in a country where mobile Internet use is expensive for the average citizen and, therefore, it is development restrained by the tax.
The latest news reports a few weeks ago indicated that more than four million Ugandans have opted out of the Internet since the tax was enacted last year.
Therefore, what Mr Kyagulanyi is proposing is a simple, but highly progressive policy that has a high potential for positive economic impact.
This is because the Internet is a great product for both global information and global communication. Whoever laughs at that is laughing at their own ignorance.
Interestingly, it seems to be those who want to be perceived as learnt who are the culprits in this.
I, however, urge the young legislator first to go slow, and also stay close to people who are knowledgeable about governance and public administration so as to acquire more technical substance, competence on policy matters, etc, more knowledge about runnings of an actual government.
Being in Parliament is one of the best places one can get a free crash course on most important aspects of public administration and public policy.
Hussein Lumumba Amin,