KAMPALA, UGANDA: Fallen Bank of Uganda Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile will be greatly remembered as an iconic figure in the Ugandan economy, who in the last 20 years at the helm of Bank of Uganda orchestrated the revival of the country’s economic structure and financial independence leaving behind a legacy as a top economic and financial technocrat of the government of Uganda.
During his tenure as Central Bank Chief Executive Officer and board chairman, Mutebile won several local and international awards, including the 2011 African Central Bank Governor of the Year award, at the annual World Bank/International Monetary Fund meetings. Mutebile also served among others, as Finance Ministry’s Permanent Secretary and Secretary to the Treasury (PSST). before his appointment as BOU boss in 2001.
At the beginning of his tenure as governor, the born of Kigezi threatened to resign if President Museveni agreed to bail out businessman Hassan Basajjabalaba with 21 billion shilling to revive his business. However, after mediated negotiations between him and the president, Mutebile agreed to release the money after the businessman deposited his land titles with the bank.
In 2012, under pressure from parliament, a cabinet sub-committee grilled him over the Basajjabalaba deal which was now 141 billion but he convinced them that he was acting under instructions.
The following day, journalists reminded him about his vows to resign.
“I can assure you I am here for the long haul. There’s is nothing that can take me out of this seat except God. Therefore, the market shouldn’t worry about the rumblings in Parliament. Nothing can take me out of this seat. The Constitution gives only one person the right to take me out of this position, and that is the President. It gives him only three reasons: insanity, dishonesty and incompetence. As you can see, I am not insane, and I am an honest man”.
With his burial slated for next week on Monday, January 31, lobbyists have already started mentioning names of who should become the next Bank of Uganda Governor, to replace such an iconic figure as the head of the Central Bank.
Although it would be one of the hardest jobs guessing who the president will choose as the next governor because there is a host of persons of financial and banking experience and integrity in Uganda.
Some names of prominent economists and financial experts have been mentioned though as the public starts to speculate the next Bank of Uganda Governor.
Dr Michael Atingi Ego
Dr Michael Atingi Ego is currently the Deputy Bank of Uganda Governor since March 2020 and is now Acting Governor. Before becoming Deputy Governor, the Ugandan economist served as the Executive Director of the Macroeconomics and Financial Management Institute of Eastern and Southern Africa (MEFMI), based in Harare, Zimbabwe.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Makerere University and a Master of Arts in Economics from the Cardiff Business School in the UK, as well as a Ph.D. in Economics from University of Liverpool, UK. He started his carrier at the BOU in the early 1990s and rose to become the Executive Director of Research.
In 2008, he was appointed Deputy Director of the African Department at the IMF in Washington, until 2018 when he became executive director at MEFMI. Ordinarily, the 57-year old should take up the top job, however, the appointing authority likes surprises.
A governor should be one who commands the respect and confidence of the financial sector, is able to stand up to defend the independence of the central bank, and stand by their professional view.
Dr Louis A. Kasekende
Dr. Louis Kasekene, 63, served as Deputy Governor twice, from 1999 to 2002 and 2010 to 2020. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Makerere University, Master of Arts degree, and Doctorate of Philosophy, both in Economics, from the University of Manchester, UK.
Kasekende started as a part-time lecturer at Makerere University and joined the Bank of Uganda in 1986, rising to the post of Executive Director of Research and Policy, before becoming Deputy Governor.
However, between 2002 and 2004, the decorated economist served as the Executive Director at the World Bank, representing twenty-two African countries, and as Chief Economist at the African Development Bank. He maintains indifference when asked about the possibility of taking the role.
Prof. Ezra Suruma
An economist, banker, and academic professional, former Finance Minister Prof. Ezra Suruma, 76, who is the Head of Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit still commands respect in some circles and they think he should be given the chance to run BoU despite his advanced age. Lobbyists say Suruma not only knows the economics of the country but that he has been in the NRM system for a long time.
“Suruma knows what Museveni wants and he can deliver since he served at BoU as director of research as well as deputy governor,” said a politician from Ankole, adding that Suruma has contributed to the development of many pro-development policies and strategies in Uganda.
The next BoU Governor is expected to redeem the image of that institution but also may work under new guidelines that have been suggested. For instance, the governor and his deputy should not appear on the BoU Board, if the principle of checks and balances is to be applicable in that institution.
Ex-Minister Maria Kiwanuka
Former Minister of Finance and Economic Planning Hon. Maria Kiwanuka has vast experience as an economist has also worked at the World Bank. Gender enthusiasts say Kiwanuka should be appointed the new BoU Governor. They say no woman has held that position since Uganda got independence in 1962. “As a woman, I would like women like Maria Kiwanuka to become BoU Governor,” a gender specialist told this reporter, adding that Kiwanuka dedicated worker who can set standards at BoU. Kiwanuka is a Senior Presidential Advisor.
Prof. Wasswa Balunywa
In 2019 information widely circulated how Balunywa was tipped to become the next governor, with Mutebile’s contract expected not to be renewed after 2021. Some media outlets even stated how he was “leading the race ahead of (then Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Finance) Keith Muhakanizi and Deputy Governor Louis Kasekende.
He was again mentioned in 2020 as “leading the race” to succeed Dr Kasekende as Deputy as the latter’s contract came to an end. All these ended up as mere rumours as the president extended Mutebile’s tenure, having brought in Atingi-Ego as Deputy.
Balunywa holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree and Master of Business Administration from the University of Delhi, India, as well as a PhD in Entrepreneurship from the University of Sterling, UK awarded in 2009. He started as a lecturer in Department of Commerce at Makerere University, and later in the Department of Accounting, Banking and Finance, before becoming Dean Faculty of Commerce, Makerere University. He spearheaded the creation of Makerere University Business School (MUBS), of which he was named Principal.
“The president might this time appoint a pure academic person,” says an official at the Capital Markets Authority on condition of anonymity. He has previously served as a member of the Central Bank board.
Richard Patrick Byarugaba, a professional accountant and banker, is the current Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of East Africa’s biggest retirement pension fund, National Social Security Fund (NSSF). Since August 2010 when he was first appointed, Byarugaba has steered NSSF to greater heights as the Fund is the envy of similar organisations in the region.
NSSF has more than US $4 billion in assets under his management. His supporters say Byarugaba knows Uganda’s economy well and that if appointed BoU boss he will introduce new changes especially aimed at ensuring that the banking sector is well regulated, given that the stability of commercial banks a key component that attracts foreign investment. He formally worked with the defunct Nile Bank as Managing Director.
His reign at NSSF has seen the Fund invest in real estate and stock markets. While interest payments to members has gone up, notwithstanding efforts to recruit new contributors to the Fund. His supporters say Byarugaba is an NRM cadre who has worked with banks such as defunct Global Trust Bank, Barclays Bank and Standard Chartered Bank. Among other boards, he served on the board of Uganda Institute of Banking and Financial Services.
The former Ministry of Finance Permanent Secretary and Secretary to the Treasury, Keith Muhakanizi, according to some economists is another ideal person to replace the late Tumusiime-Mutebile. Muhakanizi had been working hand in hand with Tumusiime-Mutebile on the economic matters of the country. Muhakanizi comes from Kigezi region just as the late Tumusiime-Mutebile. This could slightly favour him, according to analysts well versed with Museveni’s appointing of senior government officials.
Muhakanizi is credited for being strict on allocation and usage of public funds by officials. He always advocated spending according to available resources. He always clashed with politicians over expenditure.
His supporter, a politician from Kigezi, says Muhakanizi can do the job. “Muhakanizi succeeded the late Mutebile at the Finance Ministry and did wonders. He could as well replace him at the Bank of Uganda,” said Muhakanizi’s supporter, adding that Muhakanizi is an astound economists who can push BoU to greater heights. However, his only undoing will be his health as he is in and out of the hospital in recent times.
Prof Augustus Nuwagaba
Prof. Augustus Nuwagaba is an international consultant on economic transformation and senior lecturer at Makerere University. He has written many papers showing how Uganda can transform from a pleasantly to a modern society. His supporters think Museveni has not utilized the knowledge this professor possesses. Nuwagaba, who also hails from Kigezi is passionate about wealth creation, through fighting poverty amongst the masses.
Nuwagaba has always castigated government officials who are corrupt. He would like to see Uganda fully commercialized. He is a wealth creation expert and he is qualified in application of Central Bank monetary policy on commercial bank competitiveness, says Wikipedia.
A Certified Public Accountant, Ojangole is the current Chief Executive of Uganda Development Bank, since 2012. She joined Uganda Development Bank as Head Internal Audit in 2011 after stints in several African countries.
The 45-year old holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Makerere University, Kampala, and a Master of Business Administration from the Eastern and Southern African Management Institute, Tanzania. She is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, UK and a member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda.
Lugollobi is the current State Minister for Finance, Planning and Economic Development and MP for Ntenjeru North, Kayunga District. Born in 1961, Lugoloobi holds a Bachelor of Science degree in economics from Makerere University, Kampala, and a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the Eastern and Southern African Management Institute (ESAMI).
In parliament, he has chaired the Budget Committee and has been influential regarding legislation on economic and financial matters. There are many others who would qualify, and this gives the president a big basket from which to choose. The President is also known to bring into the system ‘outsiders’ or those hardly thought of, like what happened with the current cabinet.
Finance PS Ramathan Ggoobi
Ramathan Ggoobi, a senior economist and currently the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Finance has often presented papers on how Uganda can transform from low income to middle-income status, presenting him as a viable candidate for this task of heading the country’s central bank. Ggoobi also cries of corruption in the country and is an advocate of having resources put into productive sectors of the economy so that the country exports to earn foreign exchange but also limits on imports to have a favorable balance of payments (BoP). Alongside other government officials, he is working to ensure that the BUBU Policy aimed at stimulating the production and consumption of Ugandan goods and services, is implemented across the country.
Other recent surprises are BOU’s head of Research Dr. Adam Mugume, and the Uganda Revenue Authority Commissioner General, John Musinguzi Rujoki, who took top positions ahead of veterans of the organisations.
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