Civil society demands for more funding towards cooperatives
Civil society organisations have tasked government to increase funding towards cooperative societies in the 2017/2018 budget.
Under the Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG), the activists highlight the decreased funding towards the sector, which in turn reduces opportunities for especially farmers to market their produce.
John Mark Agong, Budget Specialist at CSBAG, said one of government’s main sector objectives is to strengthen the cooperative movement in Uganda however the budget allocation of Ugx 3.5 billion is meager to sustain the sector.
Agong noted that in the 2015/2016 financial year budget, Ugx 5.8 billion was allocated towards facilitating cooperatives development; however most of it went towards compensation of Bugisu Cooperative Union Limited.
“There is need to operationalize cooperative societies and have them supervised at the districts by district commercial officers,” Agong said.
Agong was presenting the position paper on trade and tourism sector ministerial policy statement before Parliament’s Trade and Tourism committee on April 10, 2017.
CSBAG is also mooting for more funding towards payment of district commercial officers, noting that they promote trade through enterprise development, market linkages to domestic and regional markets, as well as promote consumption of locally produced goods.
Jane Nalunga, Executive Director of SEATINI, called for the increase in budgetary allocation to the tourism and trade sector to at least 4%. Nalunga noted that in the 2016/2017 financial year, the sector was given Ugx 103.8 billion, which is 0.51% of the total Ugx 26 trillion budget.
She says the sector’s allocation for 2017/2018 financial year is Ugx 110 billion, amounting to 0.39% of the proposed Ugx 28.9 trillion.
“This is not enough to facilitate several activities including implementation of the Buy Uganda, Build Uganda policy, and also promote the tourism sector, which can in the end boost local revenue,” Nalunga said.
CSBAG noted that the tourism sector has been hindered due to poor infrastructure, including roads that hinder the access of the areas rich in wildlife.
Nalunga also tasked government to increase its focus on exportation of Ugandan products, rather than import foreign goods.