Budget out of touch with current realties, experts say

Finance Minister Matia Kasaija arrives at Kololo ceremonial grounds in Kampala for national budget reading on June 14, 2022. PHOTO | DAVID LUBOWA

The Shs48.1 trillion 2022/23 Budget is out of touch with the current realities, experts have said.  

Speaking after Finance Minister Matia Kasaija had delivered the Budget Speech in Kampala yesterday, Mr Muwanga Kivumbi, an economist, MP Butambala County and shadow finance minister, said for government to behave as if times are normal is extremely abnormal, noting that the Budget demonstrates that government is nolonger concerned about people’s needs. 

A number of Ugandans have, since November last year, asked government to reign in on commodity and service prices, many of which have risen above Bank of Uganda 5 percept targeted inflation. 

Mr Muwanga said that the essence of annualising the budget is to draw projections that deal with current and long term challenges, adding that most government projects have become so predictable thus diminishing the need to read the budget every year. 

 On his part, Mr Stephen Kaboyo, a forex expert and managing director of Alpha Capital, said under the prevailing circumstances, government must recognise that there is very limited headroom to act decisively at the pace required to move the economy forward. 

Thus, he challenged government to re-look at its consumptive expenditure, which does not compare well with capital investment.  

“The ratio of 70:30 is not the most appropriate at this time of economic hardship,” he said, noting that the key test Uganda face is adapting to shocks yet government has not put in place policies that improve resilience and capability to sustain economic growth. 

Prof Augustus Nuwagaba, an economics, said government must widen the tax base, which currently relies on a limited number of people to generate revenue. 

“The tax regime is constrained by a very narrow tax base. Very few pay taxes to fund a lot of people,” he said. 

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