PARLIAMENT. Works and Transport docket will take a lion’s share of the next financial year budget, with more than Shs4 trillion, going towards major infrastructure development projects such as roads and the railway.
The new figures contained in the budget estimates for Financial Year 2017-2018 presented to Parliament’s Budget Committee show that Shs22.03 trillion will be allocated to the various sectors of the economy, with the Shs7 trillion earmarked for recurrent expenditure, debt financing (domestic and foreign) among others.
Energy and Mineral Development where key infrastructure projects such as hydropower dams fall will take more than Shs2.3 trillion, health Shs1.8 trillion while security will take Shs1.4 trillion. However, the agriculture budget has been cut from Shs209.7b in the current Financial Year (FY) to Shs195.3b in the next FY, recording a decrease of Shs14.4 billion.
The Education ministry has also remained one of the big earners with a Shs2.4 trillion budget. The allocation represents a 11.3 per cent share of the national budget. More than half of the ministry’s budget, Shs1, 455.86 trillion, will go to paying wages.
Despite the ministry’s budget growing by Shs26.58b up from Shs2.447 trillion, the ministry can’t still find Shs14b for menstrual pads for primary school- going girls in the villages.
As a solution, the ministry notes in its policy statement that, “there is a need to increase the unit cost for UPE capitation by Shs2,000 to cater for distribution of menstrual PADs to girls in primary schools totalling to an addition shs14.38b.”
While discussing the agriculture financing at a workshop organised by Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) on Tuesday, MPs, farmers and civil society organisations (CSOs) called for increased budget for agriculture sector and complained that the reduction in the budget would hamper economic growth in the coming financial year.
Mr Patrick Katabazi, CSBAG’s consultant, said the budget reductions would not only incapacitate sensitisation on good agriculture practices but also the quantity and quality of output is likely to be affected.
“The wage budget should be growing to the level of the staffing in the sector following the ongoing recruitment of the extension staff. The non-wage budget should be restored at least to the level of the FY 2016/17emphasising facilitation for extension staff,” Mr Katabazi said.
Presenting the estimated before the House’s budget committee yesterday, State minister for Planning, Mr David Bahati, however, announced a raft of tax measures starting in July this year as part of revenue measures.
The new taxes are expected to help government raise at least Shs452b.
Bahati said that although the new tax measures will leave government with a Shs105b hole in the budget— because of the tax exemptions— the new taxes will plug the gap in revenue collections. The key entity in tax exemptions is Bujagali Hydro Power Project which amounts to Shs80 billion. The power projects will, if Parliament approves, enjoy a 13- year tax breather. With that respite, Minister Bahatai said, government will “reduce the cost of power supplied by the project to the national grid.”
The minister also announced a Shs5m levy on the importation of firearms, regardless of the quantity. The government has however, kept the annual gun permit at Shs200,000.
As Parliament goes through the budgets from the different sectors, there is a cocktail of unfunded priorities that the ministries have presented for consideration by Parliament. The revenue shortfalls in the 2017/18 budget were mainly caused by President Museveni’s directive to cut sectoral allocations by at least 10 per cent so as to raise counterpart funding for oil roads.
Mr Museveni’s government has staked a Shs2 trillion infrastructure project to support oil production in the Albertine Graben. The President has promised to transform Uganda from a low income country and a middle income status by 2020.
Further scrutiny of the 2017/18 budget allocations revealed that the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development alone has unfunded activities to a tune of Shs138b. It’s not clear whether Parliament will close the funding gaps in the face of competing priorities in the upcoming budget.
The KCCA’s unfunded priorities are estimated at more than Shs206.5b among which is the budget for the compensation of Usafi market claimants and the rehabilitation of roads works in the city.
In the Water and Environment ministry, Shs90b for the construction of piped water supply systems in the rural areas has not been provided for. In the Public Administration sector, the Shs15b needed for onward transfer to political parties has not been provided.
Value Added Tax (VAT) on wheat is to be reinstated, from which government hopes to raise Shs30b revenue. In his justification for the reinstatement of VAT on wheat, Mr Bahati said the move will “minimise revenue leakage arising from VAT exemption of wheat grain and promote wheat growing in Uganda.”
Tax administration measures are to yield Shs228.46b through strengthening of debt recovery, implementation of the receipt utilisation campaign and revenue from the real estate sector, which will bring an additional Shs40b.
A 10 per cent import duty tax on Crude Palm oil will be reinstated, from which government hopes to realise additional revenue of Shs50b.
According to the document, government plans to bolster the resource envelope with increased collection in domestic revenue from Shs12.9 trillion in Financial Year 2016/2017 to Shs15 trillion in 2017-2018.
The government hopes to raise Shs954b through domestic borrowing; Shs125b will be come from the Petroleum Fund while budget support will bring in an additional Shs35b. Project external financing will bring Shs7 trillion, appropriation in aid, Shs7 trillion and domestic debt financing, Shs4.9 trillion.
Government’s strategy for revenue enhancement will be achieved, reads the document, “through enhancing the efficiency of tax administration by providing Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) with additional budget to invest in the identified tax compliance initiatives.”
The House’s Budget Committee chairperson, Mr Amos Lugoloobi and other committee members, however, criticised the Finance ministry over failure to factor in recommendations of changes to the Budget Framework Paper made by Parliament. They instructed ministry officials to bring the explanation next week.
“The question is whether the minister recognises the role of Parliament on the Budget Framework paper because nothing was picked from Parliament,” Mr Lugoloobi said.
Mr Muwanga Kivumbi, (DP, Butambala), also criticised Mr Bahati for “deviating from the Budget Framework Paper approved by Parliament.”
Mr Bahati however, defended the Finance Ministry from the attacks, telling MPs “there are some recommendations that we have addressed in the BFP and there are some that we have failed to address [due to unavoidable circumstances]… we shall bring a matrix of what we have adopted.”
Works ministry (4.631.2 Trillion)
1. Works ministry Shs528.942b
2. UNRA Shs3.8trillion
3. Road Fund Shs417.413b
4. KCCA Shs95.605b
5.Local Governments Shs22.840b
EDUCATION MINISTRY (Shs2.475T)
1. Education Shs538.157b
2.Busitema University Shs25.585b
4. Muni University Shs11.329b
5. UNEB Shs29.819b
6. Education SC Shs5.720b
7. Makerere University Shs134.242b
8.Mbarara University Shs31.366b
10. Kyambogo University Shs40.988b
11.Uganda Man. Institute Shs3.521b
12. Gulu University Shs24.864b
13.Lira University Shs7.816b
14. NCDC Shs6.699b
15. Kabale University Shs8.101b
16. Soroti University Shs10.912b
17. Local Govts Shs1.384.906T
ENERGY MINISTRY (SHS2,379.2 t)
1. Energy Shs2.519.140T
2.Rural Elect Agency Shs480.507b
HEALTH MINISTRY (sHS1.821 t)
1. Health Shs468.324b
2.Uganda AIDS Commission Shs7.315b
3. Uganda Cancer Institute Shs45.443b
4. Uganda Heart Institute Shs 11.796b
5. National Medical Stores Shs237.964b
6. KCCA Shs5.806b
7. Health Service Commission Shs4.512b
8. UBTS Shs8.877b
9. Mulago Hospital Complex Shs61.437b
10. Butabika Hospital Shs10.879b
11. Arua Referral Hospital Shs5.641b
12. Fort Portal Hospital Shs6.025b
13. Gulu Hospital Shs5.466b
14. Hoima Hospital Shs6.595b
15. Jinja Hospital Shs7.123b
16. Kabale Hospital Shs5.194b
17. Masaka Hospital Shs7.037b
18. Mbale Hospital Shs11.484b
19. Soroti Hospital Shs5.201b
20. Lira Hospital Shs5.669b
21. Mbarara Hospital Shs6.219b
22. Mubende Hospital Shs5.426b
23. Moroto Hospital Shs4.781b
24. Naguru Hospital Shs6.293b
25. UVRI Shs1.661b
26. Local Governments Shs337.570b
Security (Shs1.463.5 t)
1. Office of the President Shs59.2b
2.Ministry of Defence Shs1.8trillion
3. ESO Shs26.565b
Public Sector (Shs1.440.5t)
1. Office of the Prime Minister Shs213.187b
2.Ministry of Public Service Shs22.504b
3. Local Govt ministry Shs285.658b
4. East African Community Shs28.657b
5.National Planning Authority Shs21.340b
6. KCCA Shs35.825b
7. Public Service Commission Shs5.878b
8. Local Govt Fin Commission Shs4.993b
9. Local Governments Shs555.486b