Former URA Boss Doris Akol Appointed As New IMF Senior Economist

 

 Doris Akol

Ms Doris Akol, the former Commissioner General of Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), has been appointed as the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s senior economist in the Fiscal Affairs Department. This promotion comes as a step up from her previous position as a technical assistance advisor, a role she assumed in December 2021.

Ms Akol, who led URA from 2014 to 2020, will now play a pivotal role in analyzing and designing a strategic blend of fiscal, monetary, and exchange rate policies aimed at promoting and sustaining macroeconomic stability. Her responsibilities also include examining macro-financial linkages in an increasingly globalized world, addressing issues of good economic governance, and evaluating fiscal and external debt sustainability.

The news of Ms Akol’s elevation was disclosed by the League of East African Directors (LEAD), of which she is a member, through their official platform. LEAD congratulated Ms Akol on her new role, recognizing the significance of her appointment within the IMF’s Fiscal Department.

Economists have welcomed this move, acknowledging the potential benefits it brings to Uganda. Mr. Julius Mukunda, the executive director of the Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG), emphasized the positive impact of Uganda’s active participation in international organizations like the IMF. He highlighted the access to crucial policy advice, global research, and best practices, empowering policymakers to make informed decisions based on global experiences.

The presence of Ugandan experts in influential international institutions enhances the country’s international reputation, attracting foreign investments, promoting tourism, and fostering positive diplomatic relations, according to Mr. Mukunda.

Mr. Richard Sempala, an economist and lecturer at Makerere School of Economics, emphasized the importance of having a contact in the IMF, especially given its role as one of the biggest lenders to Uganda’s development programs. He noted that Ms Akol’s position could assist the government in navigating political economy issues surrounding loans from the IMF.

Ms Akol’s appointment coincides with challenges faced by Uganda, such as the World Bank Group’s suspension of funding for development projects in response to the Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2023. The IMF’s outstanding purchases and loans to Uganda stood at $902.5 million (Shs3.4 trillion) by September 2023.

Mr. Enock Twinoburyo, a senior advisor on fiscal reform for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the Kigali-based SDG Centre for Africa, offered a nuanced perspective, stating that while Ms Akol’s appointment might not create a significant difference alone, collectively, the remittances from Ugandan nationals in such global positions could contribute to foreign currency inflows, addressing recent pressures on the exchange rate.

Ms Akol’s track record at URA is seen as a valuable asset, and her new role is anticipated to further strengthen Uganda’s position on the global economic stage.


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