The construction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) and institution of modern irrigation to curtail climate change and its devastating effects are among key government priorities in the 2023/24 national budget.
Modern irrigation using solar powered equipment will be put at the forefront as a mitigation strategy to curtail climate change and its disastrous impacts as a measure to ensure food security in the country.
Government will also put all its efforts on kick-starting the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) from Maraba border with Kenya and also refurbishing the derailed Meter Gauge Railway (MGR).
Besides, government will immensely forcus on constructing more power stations and electric power lines which will be so pivotal in rural electrification, and also extending electricity to those without it in urban and semi-urban areas.
The state intends to inject huge sums of money in Uganda Development Bank (UDB) and Uganda Development Corporation (UDC) to resuscitate Uganda’s economy which is performing poorly.
State Minister for Finance Planing and Economic development Hon. Henry Musasizi while presenting the budget estimates to Parliament in the 2023/24 budget framework paper said prioritizing such sectors is a response mechanism to calls by the President of Uganda HE. Yoweri Museveni, who earlier on stressed that such areas should be given priority to encourage economic recovery, resilience and sustainable growth.
Minister Musasizi said that such arrangements will be in addition to the strengthening of other sectors like constructing more roads and rehabilitating the grounded ones, strengthening homeland security, the health sector, agricultural sector, education sector, long-term public investments, heightening export volumes and also preparing to start the exploitation of the country’s vast energy reserves like oil and gas.
The 2023/24 national budget framework paper tailored under the theme; “Full monetization of the Ugandan economy through commercial and agriculture, industrialization, expanding and broadening services, digital transformation and market access” totals UGX 49.9 billion up from UGX 48.31 trillion in the previous financial year.
Government also revealed that the funds to be spent on other duties have been slashed by UGX 2.540 from UGX 25.42 trillion to UGX 22.860 trillion.
“Due to the increase in payment by Uganda, shs. 1.45 trillion from 4.69 trillion, in financial year 2022/23 to Ug 6.124 in financial year 2023/24, through domestic debt payment of UGX 1.251 trillion through Bank of Uganda……” said Hon. Musasizi.
Hon. Musasizi also told legislators that offsetting domestic and foreign debts will be another priority due to the fact that by June of the previous financial year, the country had accumulated a huge debt of UGX. 78 trillion.
However, some of the legislators on the budget committee were not convinced with this kind of prioritization, saying productive sectors like tourism that are highly capable of promoting resilience and sustainability have unfortunately been allocated less funds.
Shadow Minister for Finance Hon. Muwanga Kivumbi said that areas that have been prioritized like security and presidency will yield less and are unproductive to the country, yet productive sectors like tourism have been denied sufficient funding.
” Tourism, we are going to allocate it only Shs89 billion, but you have spent all your much, the so much trillions on these other things. Even when you go to agriculture, putting aside Parish Development Model on which there is no money. When you look at energy development, they have allocated it 38 billion…. ” said Hon. Muwanga Kivumbi.
Uganda’s national budget is drafted in a way that is in tandem with the East African Community agenda of accelerating economic recovery by enhancing productivity of key sectors for improved livelihoods.
This kind of tailoring takes into consideration the National Development Plan (NDP) III charter for fiscal responsibility and requirements for gender and equity responsiveness and balanced development.
NDP III is aimed at attaining sustainable industrialization for inclusive growth, employment and sustainable wealth creation through restoring economic activity to pre pandemic levels and subsequently accelerating the pace for socioeconomic transformation.
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