On Tuesday, legislators presented the 2020/21 Budget Framework Paper to Parliament without the third National Development Plan (NDPIII), contravening Section 9(3) of the Public Finance Management Act 2015.
The 2020/21 Budget estimated at Shs39.6 trillion indicates a 2 per cent drop from this financial year’s budget of Shs40.5 trillion.
The annual Budget is supposed to be aligned to the National Development Plan. But the NDP II mid-term review showed that the annual budget did not fully align with NDP II priorities, and it has not been translated into sector specific interventions to deliver the NDPII target. According to the 2019 National Planning Authority assessment report, the National Budget is only 60 per cent aligned to NDP.
According to government’s new five-year growth plan – NDP III, which has replaced NDP II, Uganda is on its way to meeting several development targets such as attaining middle income status, which has been deferred from 2020 to 2025. NDP II (2015-2020) was designed to drive the country towards a lower middle income status by 2020. But that has not been achieved due to slowed economic growth and delayed projects, among other factors.
NDPII did not achieve the expected outcomes due to some implementation challenges such as failure to attain middle income status by 2020, 68.9 per cent of households are still in the subsistence economy and insufficient creation of quality jobs. And more Ugandans are also slipping into poverty.
Although the new growth plan aims at “achieving competitiveness for sustainable wealth creation, employment and inclusive growth,” development plans in Uganda are “habitually delayed,” hence affecting the country’s growth. But what exactly explains the low level of implementing key development projects in Uganda?
According to a 2019 research titled: ‘From paper to practice: Implementation of Uganda’s Industrialisation Agenda,’ authored by Mr Ramathan Ggoobi, a policy analyst, poor planning and budget indiscipline, corruption, weak oversight, weak leadership and low motivation are some of the factors that delay implementation in Uganda.
Unless we work towards achieving real results from national development plans by improving our execution ability, the plans will merely remain on paper.
When plans such as NDP III are laid, we should actually make sure that they are executed. This cannot be done without considering the costs and time required to execute them.
For Uganda to become a modern and prosperous country by 2040, there should be inclusive growth that translates into job creation, poverty reduction and substantial wealth creation for Ugandans.