World Bank (WB) has faulted the Uganda government for inadequately financing the agricultural sector despite its pivotal role to the country’s economy.
Addressing officials from the World Bank, government and the private sector at the launch of the ‘Agriculture Public Sector Expenditure Review’ done by the World Bank in Kampala yesterday, Mr Ladisy Chengula, the lead researcher observed that underfunding the agricultural sector was a big mistake.
“It [underfunding the agricultural sector] is doing a disservice to the sector which is productive and contributes 25 per cent of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) yet it gets only 2.5 per cent of the agricultural GDP,” Mr Chengula said.
“If I am talking of the national GDP, it may be 0.001 per cent and that is really not good.”
Being the backbone of the country’s economy, the sector yields an average of 25 per cent of the earnings that form Uganda’s GDP per year.
The report’s findings were premised on data collected from budgets and expenditures from domestic resources and external sources, which were channelled through the Ministry of Finance.
“The first response from the Ministry of Finance was that even if we give them additional resources, their capacity to execute the budget is low. So we don’t want to overload them with more resources,” Mr Chengula said.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), Mr Pius Wakabi Kasajja, said his ministry was going to work closely with the Finance ministry.
“MAAIF is now strongly partnering with the Ministry of Finance. Just last week, we [MAAIF] sat with the Finance ministry and committed that every time they are going to plan, our input should play a leading role in the budgeting process,” Mr Kasajja said.
He added: “Whatever you have been recommending here, we promise that we are going to put it into practice. We need to see money being put to proper use.”
Mr Kasajja acknowledged the findings and said his ministry would premise on the draft plans to feed into the third National Development Plan (NDPIII).
“Most of this information is spot on and we are really going to use most of it in the formulation of the NDPIII,” he said.
The agriculture sector is a potential source of job creation for the growing number of Ugandans.
It is one of the sectors in Uganda that employs the biggest percentage of people.
According to the World Bank, Uganda’s agriculture sector plays a critical role in the economy.
It accounts for 70 per cent of the country’s employment and about one quarter of GDP.
In the 2018/2019 financial year, the budget for the agriculture sector increased by about Shs27 billion, from the 865.2b to 892b.