Weeks back, Uganda passed its 2016/17 annual budget. The UGX 26 Trillion budget has attracted mixed reactions. During the National Budget debate organized by the Uganda Economics Association (UEA) and Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC), a number of deliberations were made.
According to the Executive Director of National Planning Authority, Dr. Joseph Muvawala; “at the national level, the objectives of the budget and the allocation of the budget are very much aligned. However the devil is in the details.” He further elaborates that; “at the sectoral level, the budget has serious challenges of alignment. Sectoral alignment for some of sectors couldn’t even hit 40%. Yet at National Level, last measurement was at over 70%.”
In his submission, Dr. Muvawala made it clear how the ambition to achieve middle income status was still far-fetched. “Growth figures presented are not adequate to achieve the NDP. We should be growing at 7% constantly if we are to achieve middle income status,” he explained.
The chairman and Founder of Good African Coffee, Andrew Rugasira called upon government to take up the role of a venture capitalist if any results are to be realized. “In every country that has been rapidly grown and was in the same situation as we are now, the government has become the venture capitalist. I don’t know why we are ashamed of that,” he questioned.
In the take home points, most of the panelists agreed that Uganda’s debt was not sustainable and there was still need for the budget interventions to address the entire value chains in different industries. There was also a question of impact in the human development industry such as in health where there were hospitals without drugs. In education, many agreed that it was worth more for the government to focus on primary education which covered the biggest percentage of the population than focusing on the tertiary level.
Whether the budget really had the future generations at heart as regards allocations and financing is a question that many tried to answer.
To follow the rest of the discussion; join the debate on #UEABudget2016 and #UEABudget16.