As Uganda continues the inevitable path of debt acquisition for development, lessons can be drawn from utilization challenges leading to debt accumulation for future reflection. The rate of contracting new loans has over the years risen much faster than the rate of absorption. By end of June 2016, the total debt outstanding was at 52% of GDP, of which only 34% of GDP was disbursed. 
 The Auditor General validates this position in his report (December, 2016) for FY 2015/16 which indicated UGX 18 trillion remaining undisbursed attracting commitment fees of UGX 20billion. The same report notes that undisbursed loans attracted commitment fees worth USD18.8m between 2007/08 and 2015/16.  Also, the level of disbursed loans reduced from 63% of the total external debt to 51% in the same period. The report also highlights that out of 96 loans sampled for the period 2010 to June 2016 totaling to USD8.8 million, only 24.5% was disbursed. 

 

 
Uganda is one of the countries with the fastest population growth in the world. Estimates show that the population has grown to about 40 million in 2017 from just 5.1 million in 1950.  However, out of this population, children below the age of 15 account for about 48 percent, adults between 15 and 65 years of age account for 49 percent, and about 3 percent are more than 65 years old.  Moreover, the largest population resides in rural areas and their primary source of income is agriculture which is burdened by low productivity and low budget allocations.
It should be our concern whether the growing population is of importance to our economy. From the theoretical analyses, some authors clearly argue that high population growth creates pressures on limited natural resources, reduces private and public capital formation, and diverts additions to capital resources to maintaining rather than increasing the stock of capital per worker. This has already manifested its self in Uganda especially in many cases where citizens have encroached on reserved areas like forests, swamps among others. 
 In a different perspective, population growth is good for the economy to the extent that people are empowered economically enough to create demand for the produced commodities. Also high populations increase economies of scale, and allows for specialization at work.
In the Ugandan case the highest proportion of her population comprises of young people who are dependents. Most of these youths do not have adequate education and those who are fortunate to have an education lack appropriate employable skills. This clearly increases the burden on a few working population and on the scarce available resources.
With this state of affairs, it is important that authorities incorporate appropriate policies in Uganda’s development agenda to unlock the population dividend. This can be done by increasing budgetary expenditures in sectors with high multiplier effects, including but not limited to: agriculture; tourism; and science, technology and innovation which might absorb the seemingly growing and young population.
 
Richard Ssempala- Research Associate Uganda Debt Network.
 
 
Uganda’s economy promisingly grew on an average of 7% per annum for the last decades during 1990-2010.However, during years 2011 to date this rate has slowed down to an average of 5.5 % per annum. Current estimates indicate that the economy will underperform with growth expected at less than 4 percent due to prolonged drought, political instabilities in South Sudan, slow execution of externally-financed public investments, among other factors.
The slowdown in growth however is prevailing with the increased public debt figures which could have prompted the president to halt the approval of 11 loans worth US$ 914.79m by the Parliament. According the Bank of Uganda’s   State of Economy Report (March 2017), Uganda’s public debt is at stand of 32.45trillions.  Out of this, domestic debt contributes about Shs. 12.56 trillion and external debt Shs. 19.89 trillion.