By Rogers Wanambwa
KIU, Main Campus - This week, the Minister of Finance, Hon. Matia Kasaija, tabled to Parliament a budget proposal of UGX 41.2 trillion for the financial year 2021/2022. As it is, the proposed budget is UGX 4.3 trillion less than last year's budget.
In the proposed budget tabled before parliament’s budget committee, governance and security will still take the lion's share with UGX 7.7 trillion.
This will be followed by human capital development, which covers education and high-level training at UGX 6.8 trillion. Integrated transport infrastructure and services will take UGX 3.9 trillion, agro industrialization will take UGX 1.4 trillion, and regional development UGX 1.2 trillion.
The budget also indicates that domestic refinancing will take UGX 8.5 trillion, domestic arrears UGX 400 billion interest and amortization will take UGX 6.7 trillion.
Kasaija says that in the next financial year, they plan to promote inclusive and sustainable growth, accelerate industrialization, and maintain peace and security and human capital development.
Additionally, government plans to provide UGX 490 billion to promote the parish model in which the government intends to spend UGX 39 million at every parish to promote inclusive and sustainable growth.
According to Kasaija, the model is aimed at strengthening the delivery of social services, and the parish will become the planning and implementation unit.
According to the minister, they have agreed on bringing together all the current funds for development like the Youth Livelihood Fund, Operation Wealth Creation, the Women Entrepreneurship program among others and created a parish model which they will use to assist Ugandans to develop. Only the Emyooga, a new poverty alleviation program will not be affected.
“That system of the parish model…it is also meant to cater for value addition. 2-3 parishes if they are producing the same product, then we need to create a unit that will process what they are producing. Unbalance development in the country; this you’re touching my heart. I don’t want to see Uganda of those who have and those who don’t have. It is dangerous, it is very dangerous,” said Kasaija.
Besides, Muwanga Kivumbi, Butambala MP asserted that too much money is going into domestic refinancing and amortization. He added that government needs to rethink this, as budgets are read and passed every other financial year. According to Kivumbi, UGX 6 trillion will be going towards interest and amortization.
In addition, the Vice-chairperson of the committee, Patrick Isiagi Opolot, said that it is not right to assign funds to be handed over to citizens, when people don’t have clean water and access to health services.
“You’re allocating climate change, natural resources and environment - water 1.1% of the budget. These parishes you want to give Emyooga and so on to make people rich, [but] if I get money and am drinking bad water, it means I must get medicine. Hon. Minister, a country where we can’t give our people clean and safe water, it means we’re joking,” said Opolot.
Opolot said that there are loopholes in Kasaija's presentation, adding that the parish model presented is not well researched. He also says that the UGX 39 million per parish is not sustainable. He concluded that they will wait to see what the ministry brings on the table next time, but as it stands, the proposal is premature.