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Potential Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile replacement revealed

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Lobbyists have started mentioning names of who should become next Bank of Uganda boss after the January 23 passing on of Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, the former Governor who had held the juicy position since 2001.  Before that, the late Tumusiime-Mutebile served among others, as Finance Ministry’s Permanent Secretary and Secretary to the Treasury (PSST).

The late Tumusiime-Mutebile’s reign at BoU was a success according to local economists and politicians, even though the closure of seven commercial banks, some before his reign, tainted the image of BoU and that of Tumusiime-Mutebile, as the chief executive of that institution that regulates the banking sector in the country.

The Tumusiime-Mutebile leaves behind his deputy Dr Michael Etingi-Ego who was only appointed recently after the unceremonious departure of Dr Louis Kasekende, whose contract could not be renewed by President Yoweri Museveni, following a series of controversies and infighting at BoU.

The late Tumusiime-Mutebile, who once clashed with MPs, is credited for taming inflation in Uganda over the years by running a robust monetary policy that has seen inflation maintained at a single digit for most of the years of his reign, notwithstanding the stability of the Ugandan shilling. The country awaits if the late Tumusiime-Mutebile will accorded a state funeral, given his star contribution to the country.

That aside, this news website has obtained names of Ugandans who analysts and seconders say could succeed the late Tumusiime-Mutebile as Governor BoU. Some are outsiders while others have worked at BoU before:

Richard Byarugaba

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.

Dr Michael Etingi-Ego

Deputy Governor, Dr Michael Atingo-Ego

Holding a PhD in economics, Dr. Michael Etingi-Ego is the current Deputy Governor at BoU. He assumed that post on April 23, 2020 after being appointed by President Museveni. Insiders at BoU say so far so good for him. Analysts say he could be elevated to BoU Acting Governor as the search for the right person to replace Tumusiime-Mutebile goes on. “We hope he will be elevated to the helm of BoU,” said a top manager at the central bank. However, another staffer at BoU said it will be very difficult for Ego to become BoU Governor.

“He only came here recently, he cannot be promoted so soon,” she said, adding that Kasekende could have been promoted but for political reasons, he was not. “Ego will face the same challenge and he will remain Deputy Governor,” she said.

Etingi-Ego has worked with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Management Institute of Eastern Southern Africa (MEFMI). However, the same source says Etingi-Ego undoing is that he isn’t a team player as he minds less about the great goals of the institutions.

Keith Muhakanizi

Keith Muhakanizi

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

Renowned economics scholar 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.

Ramathan Ggoobi

Ramathan Ggoobi, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance

Ramathan Ggoobi, who taught economics at Makerere University Business School is the current Ministry of Finance Permanent Secretary and Secretary to the Treasury, having replaced Keith Muhakanizi on July 15, 2021. A policy analyst, Ggoobi has presented papers on how Uganda can transform from low income to middle income status.

He 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 production and consumption of Ugandan goods and services, is implemented across the country.

Prof. Wasswa Balunywa

Prof. Wasswa-Balunywa

A scholar in management, leadership and entrepreneurship, Juma Wasswa Balunywa is credited for contributing to the development of Uganda’s commerce as an educator and manager. He is credited for developing Uganda College of Business Studies, Nakawa before it transformed into Makerere University Business School (MUBS) where he is the Principal, even though his efforts to keep MUBS independent of Makerere University were fruitless.

On many occasions, Balunywa has been tipped as ideal replacement for Tumusiime-Mutebile, even though he swerved on the board of BoU. 

Maria Kiwanuka

Ms Maria Kiwanuka

A as well as a businesswoman, Maria Kiwanuka, is a former Finance Minister serving between May 27, 2011 to March 1, 2015. She also worked with the World Bank. Gender enthusiasts say Kiwanuka should be appointed 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 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.

Patricia Ojangole

CEO of Uganda Development Bank, Patricia Ojangole.

An accountant and bank executive, Patricia Ojangole is the current CEO of Uganda Development Bank, the country’s only development finance institution. She joined the Bank as head of internal audit. Her supporters say she can manage the job of BoU Governor, as her work involves connecting with BoU as she provides cheap development loans to Ugandan enterprises.

Prof. Ezra Suruma

Makerere University Chancellor, Dr. Ezra Suruma

An economist, banker and an academic, former Finance Minister Prof. Ezra Suruma 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. They 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, that 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.

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