Saturday, February 28, 2009

How do you rate a Finance Minister?

Finance Minster Dr Ezra Suruma has been honoured as the best finance minister in Africa for the year 2008 by The Banker magazine.

The Banker, established in 1926, is a UK based global intelligence financial magazine that investigates, exposes and passes expert comment on critical developments in the global banking sector. The Banker is published monthly and its ninth Year of the Awards were sponsored by Qatar Financial Centre.

An article in the January edition of the magazine described Dr Suruma as a minister who has overseen a year of strong growth in the face of a series of economic head winds....

Acting Secretary to the treasury Keith Muhakanizi said - at the award giving ceremony on February 9 at Serena Hotel - that Uganda had a consistent economic growth but came out to perform strongly in 2007/08.
“Our real market GDP shot to a record 9.8 per cent fuelled by a robust expansion in the construction, telecom and services sector,” he said...

Mr Muhakanizi said this had been complimented with cautious micro-economic policies rated the best in the world and opting for a private sector led economy that granted Uganda a global B+ placing it among the best economies in Africa...

The criterion for the assessment of the Bank of the Year Awards is conducted among 148 countries and the result is built around detailed questionnaires provided by banks.

This year 740 banks from 150 countries submitted questionnaires to Financial Times Magazine. Peter said their global judging team reflects not only on the latest results, growth rates and performance data over the period contained in the questionnaires but also analyses all available material examining technology, acquisitions and key strategic developments.

According to the Magazine, Uganda scored highly having kept inflation under 7 per cent from 6.8 per cent in 2007. Banks remained well capitalised with an average ratio of liquid assets to deposits of 51 per cent - which saw foreign banks flock into the market - and deposits increased by 26 per cent.

-Suruma named Africa’s finance minister

via IMF's PFM blog.

For Discussion: How do you rate a finance minister? By GDP growth, fiscal space, public debt? I say have a look at the budget speech.

From Suruma's latest budget speech;

Mr. Speaker, I have now come to the end of this year's budget speech. I have put on record Uganda's rate of economic growth which averaged 8.9 percent in real terms in the last three years (10.3 percent in Financial Year 2005/06, 7.4 percent in Financial Year 2006/07 and 8.9 percent in Financial Year 2007/08). I am sure that you Mr. Speaker and honorable members deserve to be congratulated that during your tenure of office our country registered the highest rate of economic growth ever recorded in our history….

Mr. Speaker, the world has marveled for long at the achievements of the Asian tigers.. I hope you will permit me Mr. Speaker to express the hope that the world will soon recognize that there are also .African tigers. and Uganda is certainly one of them....

Mr. Speaker, I would have wished to do better. Indeed during the past several months I have had to bear and absorb attacks and angry protests of many Members of Parliament, Ministers and Heads of Departments who wanted and deserved more money than they got. I am sure we all recognize and understand that this is not a personal matter. These are the real sacrifices we must collectively bear to transform Uganda from poverty to prosperity. I therefore want to ask for forgiveness and understanding from so many people whose requests I have not been able to address adequately in this budget. I ask you to be patient and remember that even in our homes we cannot provide for every single need and desire that our families may want.

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