The minister of Finance, Dr Maria Kiwanuka has said Government in the next financial year intends to increase teachers’ salaries with specific interest to primary school teachers.
Ms Kiwanuka while reading the 2014/15 budget on Thursaday at Serena International Conference Centre said government had allocated Shs1, 699.4 billion to the education sector in the next financial year to enhance the quality of education.
“Priorities to be implemented include the enhancement of Teachers’ salaries, with emphasis on Primary School Teachers. Shs215bn has been allocated for this purpose. I have also provided Shs5 billion towards supporting Teachers’ SACCOs, in addition to the Shs2.5 billion provided during this year,” said Ms Kiwanuka.
Ms Kiwanuka further noted that Shs68.7 billion had been allocated for the implementation of the Skilling Uganda programme.
“Workshops will be constructed at technical schools at Kihanda in Kanugu; Namasale in Amolator; Namisindwa in Manafwa, Bukoli in Bugiri, and St. Joseph Kyalubingo in Kamwenge,” she added.
She also noted that Government will operationalize and expand the Student Loan Scheme with emphasis on science and vocational training. The Loan Scheme will be rolled out starting with undergraduate students in both Public and Chartered Private Universities.
The minister also said Government has in the next financial increased its funding in the infrastructure development, with emphasis on roads, railways and electricity to foster fast economic growth and development.
The Works and Transport sector, according to Ms Kiwanuka has been increased to Shs2, 575bn from Shs2, 510.66bn in this financial year.
“Government has targeted the upgrading from gravel to bitumen of 200km of roads, the reconstruction of 178 km of roads, the construction of 10 new bridges, and the rehabilitation of 7 bridges. In addition, 12,875 km of unpaved roads are scheduled for re-grading,” said Ms Kiwanuka.
The roads to be worked on according to Ms Kiwanuka include Vura-Arua-Oraba upgrade; Buteraniro - Ntungamo – Rwentobo; Ntungamo-Kabale –Katuna; Hoima–Kaiso–Tonya; Kampala - Mukono – Jinja; Gulu-Atiak-Nimule upgrade; Ishaka-Kagamba; Kampala-Entebbe Expressway; Moroto–Nakapiripirit; Kafu – Kiryandongo; Luuku – Kalangala upgrade and Fort Portal-Kamwenge.
Other roads to be worked on include Mbarara Bypass; Mukono-Kyetume-Katosi/Kisoga – Nyenga; Mpigi-Maddu-Ssembabule; Kiryandongo - Kamdini; Kamdini – Gulu; Pakwach – Nebbi; Ntungamo-Mirama Hills; Kampala Northern Bypass upgrade; Masaka – Bukakata; Kigumba – Bulima- Kabwoya; Olwiyo-Gulu-Kitgum - Musingo Road; Villa Maria – Sembabule; Musita-Lumino-Busia/Majanji; Mubende - Kakumiro – Kagadi; and Mukono - Kayunga – Njeru.
“I have allocated an additional shs75bn to the Uganda Road Fund to facilitate the maintenance and rehabilitation of approximately 10,000km of national, district, urban (including Kampala City) roads and community access roads across the country. Government will also continue the construction and several strategic bridges including the Mitaano Bridge in Kanungu distict as well as the bridges destroyed by the recent floods in Kasese and other parts of the country,” she added.
According to Ms Kiwanuka, Government, in collaboration with other Partner States within the East African region, is scaling up efforts to revitalize the railway transport system.
“Government is to upgrade to Standard Gauge Rail of the Tororo - Kasese and Mirama Hills to link with Kigali in Rwanda. During FY 2014/15, the construction of an Inland Container Depot at Mukono, and the redevelopment and upgrading of facilities at Port Bell and Jinja piers will commence,” she said.
According to Dr Kiwanuka real GDP growth is projected at 6.1 per cent for the next financial year with cash crops production, manufacturing, mining and quarrying, increased electricity production, and transport and communication being projected to be the major drivers of growth.
“Government’s medium term objective is to restore real GDP growth to 7 percent per annum. Government long term objective is to boost domestic savings to provide long term development finance,” she said.
Ms Kiwanuka also stressed that total resource inflows are projected to amount to Shs15,44 billion next financial year, with Shs12,299 billion(81.8% of the total budget) being contribution from domestic sources while the others will be from the Uganda Revenue Authority(URA)tax collections amounting to Shs9,577 billion; and Non-Tax Revenues of Shs206billion.
“Total external financing of the Budget will amount to Ushs 2,733 billion, equivalent to 18.2 per cent of the total budget resources,” noted Ms Kiwanuka.
Ms Kiwanuka further noted that Government is making progress in reforming the retirement benefits sector to improve savings in the economy, protect savings of workers, and restore trust in the retirement benefits system. According to her, the framework for regulating and providing oversight of the sector is now fully operational.
“Government has liberalised the pension sector to allow workers have a choice in the pension schemes they contribute to, the form of benefit payments in terms of annuity or lump sum while ensuring maximum safety of their savings,” she said.