Kasaija asks for greater involvement by all Ugandans in implementing new budget
Finance Minister, Matia Kasaija has urged all Ugandans to roll up their sleeves and make a contribution towards the smooth implementation of the Shs 29 trillion budget for financial year 2017/18.
He said in future, the Ministry of Finance will involve the tax payers and key stakeholders before the budget is read, as it will better inform decisions and ensure public support during implementation.
Kasaija also stressed that URA should be explain the policy decisions in the budget to tax payers even in his absence. He warned that technocrats at his ministry should not be making decisions without consulting tax policy experts at URA.
Kasaija was speaking during a breakfast budget meeting organised by Uganda Revenue Authority at Hotel Africana on June 12. There were similar events held in Mbarara, Mbale and Gulu.
He said: “This is our country; let us not look like as if we are mercenaries; nobody will come to develop us except ourselves.”
Kasaija said in reference to reports that a growing number of population especially the youth are involved in unproductive ventures such as sports betting, badaboda business instead of going into agriculture, the mother sector of the country.
“I hear people are importing street children to Kampala from Karamoja….those children should remain in school,” he said.
He added that the new budget was carefully planned to meet interests of all people – women, men, youth and others. Kasaija allocated Shs 13 bn for innovation fund for youth in ICT, Shs 39.6 bn allocated towards agriculture extension services, Shs 40.6 bn to support women groups.
About 30% (about Shs 7 trillion) of the budget would be consumed by sectors – energy and mineral development and works and transport which are connected to almost the entire population involved in economic activities.
Kasaija said the underlying theme of the budget was an effort to connect agriculture to industry for the mutual benefit of both, and the economy.
URA have a new target
A total of Shs 15 trillion is set as domestic revenue of which Shs 14.6 trillion will be collected by URA as tax revenue and Shs 376 billion as non tax revenue.
Under the new budget, external financing for projects will amount to Shs7 trillion of which Shs 5.4 trillion will be in form of loans and Shs 1.5trillion will be grants. The other amounts will come in as budget support and from domestic borrowing.
Commissioner General, Doris Akol said the purpose of the breakfast meeting that attracted over 500 people was to enlighten tax payers on the implications of the new tax measures but also to cement the tax body’s relationship with the public.
“We will continue to organise these sensitisation programmes as we build our country,” Akol said during the meeting.