The current national budget framework paper is outdated as it focuses on problems that Uganda first encountered 30 years ago, Dr Ezra Suruma, a senior presidential advisor and former minister of Finance, has said.
Speaking during the 8th Annual High Level Policy Dialogue in Kampala last week, Dr Surma said the current macroeconomic stability budgeting does not help amid rising unemployment and poverty.
“Uganda’s current problem is employment. People need jobs. I don’t think the budget framework paper puts priority on employment. There is need to ensure that every household has sufficient income,” he said.
The budget framework paper is government’s overall strategy document that provides the link between policies and expenditure planning.
According to Dr Suruma, there are fundamental inconsistencies in national planning that are a mismatch with the current economic fundamentals.
“We need to have levels of planning that reach down to the people,” he said, highlighting government’s need to plan for the bottom-up approach that empowers people to earn and pay taxes for development.
Uganda is currently grappling with massive rates of unemployment. At least more than 80 per cent of youth have not jobs. Therefore, they have less or no contribution in regard to national development.
The Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (Acode)-organised dialogue, sought to discuss ways through which government can improve the effectiveness of the National Budget to attain middle income status and improve service delivery.
Dr Wilberforce Kisamba Mugerwa, the National Planning Authority chairperson, said there is need to focus on middle income status if Uganda is to achieve sustainable growth.
However, he showed concern for the slow implementation of development projects, saying that out of the 39 core projects, which are key in the middle income agenda, only two are on schedule.
Dr Arthur Bainomugisha, the Acode executive director, said stakeholders must engage Ugandans to participate in planning in order to improve the effectiveness of the budget.
“We are in the mode to become a middle income country, so improving transparency, accountability in the budget to reduce on the leakages and improve service delivery is what we are seeking through this annual National Budget dialogue,” he said.