Finance Minister tables 41.2 trillion budget for next financial year

By Alice Lubwama

The minister of finance Matia Kasaija has tabled a budget of UGX 41.2 trillion for next financial year 2021/2022 before the budget committee of parliament.

According to the proposed budget governance and security will take the lion’s share, each getting UGX7.7 trillion.

This Will be followed by human capital development which will take UGX6.8 trillion , integrated transport infrastructure and services will take 3.9 trillion, agro-industrialization will take 1.4 trillion and ,regional development UGX1.2 trillion.

The budget also shows that domestic refinancing will take UGX8.5 trillion, domestic arrears UGX 400 billion while interest and amortization will take 6.7 trillion shillings.

Matia Kasaija said 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.

In the next financial year’s budget they plan to invest 490 billion shillings to promote the parish model in which the government plans to spend 39 million shillings at every parish to promote inclusive and sustainable growth.

According to the minister, they have decided to bring together all the current revolving funds for development like the youth livelihood fund, and women entrepreneurship program among others and created a parish model which they will use to assist Ugandans to develop.

The MPs however were not satisfied with the proposed model wondering whether they have not just changed names which made the minister of finance Matia Kasaija to ask them to allow him bring the details on how the new model will work on Thursday.

Government offer economic stimulus for struggling businesses

By Alice Lubwama

Government has unveiled its economic stimulus and Growth Strategy that will be implemented starting in new financial year.

Minister of Finance, Matia Kasaija said the economic stimuli is aimed at improving well being of Ugandans, boosting economic transformation; and improving peace, security and good governance.

Kasaija says that the Corona Virus pandemic has brought to the front the need to ensure adequate food security and nutrition within the country.

Government intends to commercially develop 14 products including; maize, cassava, banana, beans, Irish potato, sweet potato, millet, sugar cane, cattle (beef), dairy, coffee, tea, cocoa and fish.

It also plans to reduce post-harvest loses by constructing storage facilities of 42,000 Metric Tonnes capacity that commenced in Iganga, Isingiro, Amuru, Kalungu, and Nebbi.

Kasaija said that in order to improve nutrition, Government will aggressively implement programs to ensure adequate sensitization and awareness on the benefits of good nutrition for health and well being.

Government has also encouraged Ugandans to emphasize physical and mental activity by exercising regularly and making healthy choices of food, and reading and writing.

Kasaija also revealed that funding has been availed to procure Corona Virus test kits and other materials in order to curb the spread of the virus and ensure readiness for possible secondary waves of infections.

“Government will enhance surveillance and decentralization of management of the Corona Virus in the country,and also support scientific research and innovations especially in vaccine development.” Kasaija said.

In order to ensure universal access to safe , clean water and improved sanitation, kasaija said that Government plans to construct nine Gravity Flow Schemes (GFS), Forty solar powered Water Supply Systems; and drill 455 water wells.

“There are also plans to intensify monitoring and forecasting of weather and water levels, floods and effectively disseminate information to guide policy actions by stakeholders and enforce environment protection regulations for settlements on lake shores, riverbanks, wetlands, forests and flood prone areas.” He said.

Kasaija also said that they had set aside 45 billion shillings to help the vulnerable population especially the elderly to address the aftermath of the recent emergencies that will involve the continued provision of relief aid in response to the Corona Virus crisis, and natural disasters such as the locust invasion and climate change crisis floods and landslides.

“There are also plans to roll out the Social Assistance Grant for the Elderly (SAGE) nationwide to persons aged 80 years and above, including the elderly aged 65 years in the piloted 15 districts with Shs107Bn set aside for this intervention.” kasaija noted.

Museveni says Uganda has survived without foreign aid during the pandemic

Uganda has survived without foreign help-Museveni

By Edwin Muhumuza

President Museveni has hailed his government saying it was able to keep the country’s economy afloat in the wake of the global Covid 19 pandemic.

In his speech to parliament during the budget speech 2010/21,in which he told legislators that he refused to be pessimistic about the economy and its growth projections.

He has again reiterated his attack on bureaucrats that he has blamed for having slowed down the country’s efforts to come up with a COVID-19 cure and continued to sound a caution to corrupt public servants warning that his government was purging state institutions of the vice just like he ordered the firing of Uganda Revenue Officials.

Earlier, Finance minister Matia Kasaija announced measures expected to stimulate the economy which has slowed down .

The economic growth is recorded at 3.1% in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic according to Finance Minister Matia Kasaija, contrary to previous projections that were put at 6% .

The minister however insisted that the economy was on the path of recovery and not collapse.

Among the stimuli government included 130 Billion shillings for youth affected by Corvid-19 mainly in Kampala. This coupled with another 94 Billion for Micro Businesses that are tax compliant.

The other round of stimuli packages include tax waivers worth 12.5bn of 10,000 companies in Corporate tax and a waiver of presumptive tax worth 1.38bn affecting over 22,000 companies.

Relatedly, government has waived Pay As You Earn until 30th June for tax compliant businesses a move it says will ensure that money will be retained by the business community.

This includes, waivers amounting to 65.5billion for Manufacturing and tourism sectors as well as interest and tax penalties waivers incurred before July 1st- amounting to 50bn shillings.

The Finance minister has also announced that companies that made donations towards Corvid-19 relief will not be taxed to the tune of the amount contributed.

In addition payement of outstanding VAT returns amounting to 120.53 Billion Shs will be refunded.

In her remarks the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga urged government to implement digital working methods in a bid to safe guard the economy from being affected negatively by emergencies.

This following the locust evasion,corvid-19 and floods which have had an impact on the economy leading to loss of revenue.

Uganda parliament in April approved a Shs 45 trillion budget for FY 2020/21. Works and Transport takes the biggest share at Shs 5.8 trillion (13%) 2. Security Shs 4.5 trillion (10%) 3. Interest Payment Shs 4 trillion (9%) 4. Education Shs 3.6 trillion (8%) 5. Health Shs 2.7 trillion (6%)

Meanwhile,government is set to borrow shs 11trillion and as the house prepares to sit on 16th June, several alignments will be made and some will include ;a cut on travel and conferences worth billions of shillings, taxes on products that can be manufactured in Uganda in a bid to encourage import substitution and emphasis on agriculture as a resilient sector of the economy.

According to the finance minister, the Corona Virus pandemic has necessitated additional interventions and resource allocations after the Budget was approved.

“We have since been undertaking extensive consultations with several stakeholders, including civil society and the private sector, on remedial actions. Consequently, the budgets of all Ministries, Agencies and Local Governments will be revised to align them with the nine (9) strategic priorities and 14 production lines articulated by His Excellency, the President. This will focus the budget on production and not consumption.” Kasaija remarked.

Government accused of avoiding budget scrutiny

By Edwin Muhumuza

The parliamentary Budget committee has expressed concerned about the growing number and frequency of supplementary requests from government.

According to the Chairperson of the committee Hon. Lugoloobi Amos, the trend undermines the credibility of annual planning and budgeting.

The supplementary expenditure requests include, 437 billion of the approved budget for the FY 2O19 /20, supplementary expenditure amounting to 662billion,749 billion of which 90bn was offset and allocated to State House, 6.9bn allocated to Office of the Prime Minister and 4.bn allocated to Office of the President (Land Inquiry Commission)giving a balance of shs638 b n requiring prior parliamentary approval.

Other requests include 284bn to cater for interventions in combating the COVID 19 Pandemic

According to the committee, entities appear to be avoiding detailed scrutiny during the normal budget process in favor of supplementary budgeting whose expenditure can be allowed to take effect prior to the approval of parliament.

‘It is a known fact that through supplementary spending, government has suppressed the approved annual budget in favor of funding supplementary expenditure. This practice needs to be discouraged by providing written guidelines to the government. ’ the reports states.

In light of that trend, several guidelines are being developed by it for presentation to the house for approval.

The additional Supplementary expenditure requests presented to the House for prior approval include Ministry of Finance 3.9 billion, KCCA 10 billion, Uganda Industrial Research Institute 10 billion, Local Governments Ushs.O.7 billion, Local Governments Additional co-funding of 9 billion for the Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfers Program Project and Ministry of Gender 2.4billion.

This after Cabinet directed the Ministry of Finance to release the balance of shs2.4bn in FY 2O19/2O2O for implementation of the remaining street children activities, including priority interventions targeting 1,500 street children.

In addition he Committee has considered the plight of street kids picked recently by the Ministry of gender and social development and now housed at different permanent and temporary centers and the challenges associated with rehabilitating, feeding and resettling them as well as ensuring surveillance to limit new ones from getting into cities and other urban areas.

The committee has therefore recommended that Parliament approves a total supplementary request of 33billion of which 9billlion is for recurrent expenditure and 24billion, for development expenditure.

KCCA seeks UGX 8 billion to finance a supplementary budget

By Robert Segawa

Kampala Capital City Authority has asked Parliament to approve a supplementary budget of over 8 billion to cater for the office of the speaker.

The Kampala amendment act created the position of the speaker and his deputy to preside over KCCA council meetings.

Appearing before the council on Tuesday, the authority acting executive director Eng Andrew Kitaka said the current proposed budget can not cater for above positions.

He further revealed that the speaker will be earning a monthly salary of 13 million shillings and his deputy will be earning 11 million shillings without allowances.

KCCA is expected to present their budget frame work paper today in Parliament.

Ugandan economy has grown by 6% over the last two years

By Alice Lubwama
Uganda’s economy has grown by 6% per annum over the last two years according to finance minister Matia Kasaija.

While presenting the national budget 2019/2020 at Serena hotel Kampala this afternoon, Kasaija noted that with the progress in the economic growth average income of Ugandans has increased to USD 825 per person during the financial ending 3oth June 2019 compared to 800 dollars in the previous year not withstanding increase in population growth.

The quality of Ugandans labor force also improved with a proportion of labor force from tertiary institutions by 13.6 % from 7.5 % .

The annual growth in formal employment also increased higher than the average growth of the economy. Services increased to 48.7% from 32% , while exports in none traditional cash crops earned Uganda over 2.84 billion u.s dollars in the last financial year.

The composition of exports also changed positively with exports of light manufacturing products exceeding the traditional merchandise.

According to Kasaija as a result of opening up a number of new factories in the financial year ending 2019. a proportional of Ugandan products in supermarkets has increased from 15% to 45%.

The minister also outlined some development challenges the country is still facing including unemployment,income in quality and malnutrition and unhealthy life styles among others.

He said that 4 out 4 Ugandan youth were unemployed noting that even the quality of work was worrying.

Kasaija called for increased labour productivity in Agriculture and aggressive promotion of agro processing as a basis for Uganda’s industrialization and further job creation.

The current survey according to kasaija shows that 50% of Ugandans were working in service sector, 35% in Agriculture sector while 14.4% in industry sector.

Uganda’s economy has grown by 6% over the last two years

As the minister of finance and economic development Matia Kasaija presents the 4.5 trillion shilling national budget on Thursday 13th June, Ugandans have been assured that there are no new taxes.

The chairperson of the finance committee of parliament Henry Musasizi noted that parliament only introduced administrative measures with the aim of improving efficiency with in tax administration. “Measures are aimed at bringing down the taxes and we have actually terminated withholding tax of 1%on agricultural inputs.” Musasizi added.

However a member of the budget committee of parliament also Butambala county MP Muwanga kivumbi say that the 2019/2020 budget which is due to be read tomorrow by finance minister Matia kasaija will have an effect on some livelihoods because of the manner in which it was processed in parliament.

The 2019/2020 financial year budget was passed by parliament without debate on the budget committee report.

Muwanga say that by the deputy speaker Jacob oulanyah denying MPs opportunity to debate and make changes in allocation of the money Some sectors will be affected

The mp specifically singled out the youth livelihood fund and NAADS money which cabinet has shifted to state house. Muwanga say if MPS were allowed to debate,they would have rejected such a proposal to shift the Money.

The mo also say that Parliament had rejected the move to increase the salaries for only science teachers but because the matter was not debated on while passing the budget, art teachers will miss out.

The 2019/2020budget of 405 trillion shillings will increase by 8 trillion shillings from the 2018/2019 financial year budget of
32.7 trillion.

Some of the least funded sectors are Tourism,ICT,trade and industry ,science and technology, lands and housing and social development.

Ugandans shouldn’t worry about new taxes -MP Musasizi

By Alice Lubwama
Government will not introduce any new tax in the national budget 2019/2020 which will be read today 13th June by the finance minister Matia Kasaija.

The chairperson of the finance committee of parliament Henry Musasizi has given an assurance to Ugandans that parliament did not approve any new tax apart from introducing administrative measures which will improve efficiency with in tax administration.

“Measures are to bring down the taxes and we have actually terminated withholding tax of 1%on agricultural inputs.” Musasizi added.

But an opposition member of parliament on the budget committee Muwanga kivumbi say that apart from parliament passing the budget without following the right procedure, there is a lot of borrowed money which will not be utilized in the budget because of luck of counterpart funding by government.“ for example UNRA alone we lost last year 200 billion in idle time and on loans that were not being utilized because government did not have counterpart funding.’’ Muwanga noted

The 2019/2020 financial year budget totaling to 40.5 trillion Shillings was passed by parliament without debate on the report from the budget committee.

MP Muwanga kivumbi also say that by the deputy speaker of parliament Jacob Oulanya denying mps a chance to debate the report and make some changes in allocation of funds it will have an effect on some livelihoods.

The MP claims that if the mps had been allowed to make changes in allocations, they would have saved the youth livelihood fund and NAADS funds that has now been shifted to the office of the president.

Muwanga add that parliament had resolved that government increases salaries for all teachers but because there was no debate on the report, only salaries for science teachers have been increased in the budget being read today.

Some of the least funded sectors are Tourism with 157 billion, ICT 123 billion, Trade and Industry with 171 billion, Science and Technology 159 billion, Lands and Housing 193 billion, Social Development 218 billion and others.

Parliament passes 40.5 trillion budget,works and transport ministry get the lion’s share

By Alice Lubwama
Parliament has passed a 40.5 trillion shillings budget for the next financial year 2019/2020.Next year’s budget is increasing by 20 percent compared to last year’s budget from 33 trillion shillings to 40.5 trillion shillings.

Ministry of Works and Transport takes the biggest share at 6.4trillion, Education 3.2trn while 3.1trillion has been allocated for interest payments.

Ministry of Energy will get 2.9 trillion, Health 2.5 trillion, security 3.6 trillion, Agriculture only one trillion, Justice and law and order sector will have 1.6 trillion, accountability 1.9 trillion.

Some of the ministries had a reduction in their funds and these include water and environment from 1.2 trillion to one trillion, lands and housing from 202 billion to 193 billion , science and technology 184 billion to 159 billion.

The parliament budget committee noted that Domestic and External Financing will constitute 74.5% and 25.5% of the total resource envelop respectively.

In this, the domestic revenue collections will stand at 29.4 trillion while eternal resources will yield 10trillionshillings.

Uganda Revenue authority is expected to collect 18trillion while 1.4trillionwill come from non tax revenue, other money will be attained from the petroleum fund 445bn, local government collections 201bn and domestic borrowing will yield 8.5b

Next year’s budget has had a 20 percent increment compared to last year’s budget from 33 trillion shillings to 40.5 trillion shillings.

In terms of Sect oral allocation, ministry of Works and Transport takes the biggest share at 6.4trn, Education 3.2trn while 3.1trn has been allocated for interest payment Ministry of Energy 2.9 trillion, Health 2.5 trillion, security 3.6 trillion, Agriculture one trillion, Justice and law and order 1.6 trillion, accountability 1.9 trillion.

Some of the ministries have received a reduction in their funds and these include water and environment from 1.2 trillion to one trillion, lands and housing from 202 billion to 193 billion , science and technology 184 billion to 159 billion.

The parliament budget committee notes that the Domestic and External Financing will constitute 74.5% and 25.5% of the total resource envelop respectively.

Budget committee directs to find money to fight new weed on Lake Victoria

By Alice Lubwama
The speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga has directed the budget committee of parliament chaired by Ntenjeru North MP Amos Lugolobi to find money for handling the new weed that has emerged on Uganda’s lakes.

Kadaga made the directive following plea by the agriculture minister Vincent ssempijja to get him funds urgently to control the kabira weed that has seriously covered Lake Kyoga before it reaches unmanageable levels.

Kadaga asked MPs to get angry and force government to find money to control the spreading of this weed because it’s dangerous.

Ministry of agriculture animal industry and fisheries requires an emergency fund of four billion shillings to maintain and operate the existing equipment to respond to abrupt resurgences of the weed on the lakes.

Sempijja informed parliament that the existing equipment at the ministry cannot handle the kabira weed that is currently affecting the water bodies unless it’s in succession with the water hyacinth and other aquatic plants.

He further noted that government still lacks the adequate human and machinery to address the challenges posed by the kariba weed.