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Bank of Uganda Governor Emmanuel Mutebile dies at 72

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Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile has died.

Kampala, Uganda The Governor of the Bank of Uganda Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile is dead. Mutebile died this morning at Nairobi Hospital, according to an announcement made by Deputy Governor Micheal Atingi-Ego. He was 72.

Mutebile was admitted to Nairobi Hospital after he collapsed due to complications related to diabetes. He had been in and out of the hospital in recent years mainly in Uganda and India, with sources at the bank pointing to diabetic-related sicknesses, which have led to failing kidneys recently.

Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, a seasoned professional economist has served as Governor and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Bank of Uganda since 2001 and had just started a new term of office for which he was reappointed in 2021. He served as secretary to the treasury from 1992 to 2001, when he was appointed governor.

By virtue of being BOU’s chief executive, Mutebile was the chief monetary, fiscal and economic advisor to the government, introducing several policies like monetary policy, inflation targeting, and many others. He will be remembered for speaking out against the government’s high appetite for debt, frustrating the development of cryptocurrency in the country among others.

WORKED CLOSELY: Finance chief Matia Kasaija and BOU chief Mutebile

He is also remembered for spearheading the design and implementation of the Economic Reform program that restored Uganda from the economic crises of the 1970s and 1980s to sound economic performance during his service as the Permanent Secretary/Secretary to the Treasury in the ministry of finance, planning, and economic development.

“Saddened to learn the passing of Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, one of the grandfathers of Uganda’s modern economy. We are better off today because of the reforms he spearheaded and the service he rendered. My sincere sympathies to his family and BOU,” Ramadhan Ggoobi, the Secretary to the Treasury said this morning.

Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah added that “saddened by the demise of Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile. We salute him for meritorious service as Governor of the Bank of Uganda and superintending economic recovery and stability. Commiserations to his family, banking fraternity, and the nation at large.”

His tenure has also been characterized by the closure of financial institutions deemed underperforming or mismanaged. While he maintained that this was done to maintain the integrity of the sector and protect customer deposits, it has recently been highly criticised as mishandled, with limited transparency. A parliamentary probe in 2018 and 2019 into the closure of banks threatened his career, but while it revealed several flops, Mutebile was not directly implicated.

Mutebile attended Kigezi College Butobere and Makerere College School in Kampala, before joining Makerere University in 1971, where he was a Guild President, and the institute will remember him as a pillar. He however completed his undergraduate studies at Durham University in England, after fleeing Uganda having made a scathing attack on the then government decision to expel Asians from the country.

While there, he began his post-graduate studies at Balliol College, Oxford in 1974, but went to the University of Dar es Salaam to lecture and conduct research while pursuing his doctorate in economics.

“I am saddened by the news of the passing on of our gallant alumnus Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile who has also been the Governor of the Bank of Uganda. While at Makerere, Professor Mutebile served as Guild President,” said Vice-Chancellor Prof Nawangwe.

Mutebile also worked as a consultant for multilateral and regional organizations including the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Macroeconomic and Financial Management Institute of East and Central Africa, UK Department for International Development, the North-South Institute in Canada, and for the governments of Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Eritrea, and Nepal.

In 1979 and 1984, he briefly served as Deputy Principal Secretary to the President, Undersecretary, and later Chief Economist in the Ministry of Planning. In 1992, he was appointed Permanent Secretary to the merged Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development.

Since 2006, he has been a visiting professor in the Department of Economics at Makerere University and has been the Chancellor of the International University of East Africa.

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