Govt defends key budget priorities

This photo taken on April 12 shows the changing face of Queen’s way / Clock Tower as the construction of the Kampala - Jinja flyover takes shape. Infrastructure is a key priority in the next budget. PHOTO/ABUBAKER LUBOWA 

What you need to know:

  • Top on the list are enhancement of security, the rule of law, sustaining economic recovery and implementation of the Parish Development Model.

Finance minister Matia Kasaija yesterday delivered Uganda’s 2022/2023 National Budget, highlighting major priorities on which it will be premised so as to drive the country’s development agenda.

In this, the government indicated enhancement of security, the rule of law, fighting corruption, sustaining economic recovery, implementation of the Parish Development Model (PDM) to create wealth, jobs and for promotion of agro-industrialisation, standards and market entry as the priority areas. 

The priority list also includes commercialisation of oil and gas, enhancement of transport, energy and ICT infrastructure and enhancing public sector effectiveness and efficiency.

The above priority list reaffirms the government’s already outlined major areas. Last month, as Parliament approved the Shs48 trillion budget, it emerged that the human capital development programme, which includes education, health and gender sectors, had been accorded the biggest share of Shs8.7 trillion.

This was followed by security and governance at Shs7 trillion, reflecting an 18 percent and 14 percent share of the Budget, respectively.

During the State-of-the-Nation address delivered on Tuesday last week, government provided no tangible remedy to uplift the citizenry from the Covid-19 induced shocks worsened by the declining economic state but insisted that major focus will be placed on ensuring that Ugandans have adequate peace and security as major players in development.

“Peace, security and stability as well as rule of law are the bedrock of this social economic transformation…and still this must remain the government’s key priority,” Minister Kasaija stated yesterday.

Relatedly, the Finance ministry has since scaled up the budgets of the Judiciary and other law enforcement bodies. In so doing, more funds will be committed towards completion of the ongoing construction of the appellate court building and erection of other court buildings in other stations across the country as well as scaling up the uptake of digital systems in court.

In defence of this, Minister Kasaija reasoned that this is meant to, among others, slash on the persistent case backlog and expedite the processes that Ugandans undergo to get justice on matters they report.
Running under the theme, ‘Full Monetisation of Uganda’s Economy through Commercial Agriculture, Industrialisation, Expanding and Broadening Services, Digital Transformation and Market Access,’ the incoming financial year’s budget is purposed to lead the government towards realising major targets outlined in the Third National Development Plan (NDPIII). NDPIII, which is a five-year-long stretch, has a goal of increasing household incomes and improving the quality of life of Ugandans.

Considering that the country is working on a shoe-string budget, the Speaker of Parliament, Ms Anita Among, rallied Members of Parliament (MPs) to return to their respective constituencies and ensure their proper utilisation of resources.

Solution to high prices

To save the economy from the current economic distress, government pledged to support farmers to grow fast-maturing foods, maintain a market based determination of process to support constant supply of goods and improve fuel import routes.

Government also intends to construct additional fuel storage infrastructure as one of the ways in which the populace will be cushioned from further distress stemming from the soaring fuel prices.