Parliament has passed a Shs48.1 trillion budget for the 2022/23 financial year with special emphasis on human capital development, governance and security as well as integrated transport infrastructure and services.
Under human capital development that took at least Shs8.7 trillion (18%) of the total budget, a significant chunk of the resources has been allocated to the operationalization of the Parish Development Model (Shs1.5 trillion), health, education and salary enhancement for scientists.
The Budget was processed by the parliamentary Committee on Budget, with the input of government ministries, departments and agencies such as the Finance Ministry and National Planning Authority (NPA).
Governance and security was allocated a total of Shs7 trillion which reflects 14% of the budget while Shs4.1 trillion will be spent on integrated transport infrastructure and services.
According to the budget committee, sustainable energy development takes Shs1.6 trillion and the private sector development Shs1.5 trillion.
During the plenary session, Patrick Isiagi the chairperson of the Budget Committee expressed fears over the country’s constantly escalating public debt.
“As of December 2021, the total debt stock was Shs73.5 trillion, indicating an increase from Shs65.6 trillion at end of December 2020. This represents an increase of 15.4% in the debt stock, equivalent to Shs7.9 trillion in just one financial year,” Isiagi noted.
“As at December 2021, out of the total debt stock, 62.2% amounting to Shs45.7 trillion was attributed to external debt, while 37.8%, equivalent to Shs27.8 trillion, was on account of domestic debt”, Isiagi added.
He further noted that the situation has become worse because the borrowed funds do not translate into growth in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“The rate of increase in debt is higher than the rate of growth in GDP levels, which is very dangerous. That indicates that the debt we go into, the investment does not impact GDP growth,” Isiagi told Parliament.
The Budadiri West MP, Nandala Mafabi told the house that there is a need to undertake an audit on the current loans and grants that the country shoulders.
“There are a lot of loans and grants. The beneficiary of these loans and grants are the project managers, who delay projects so that they earn salaries,” Mafabi said.
In a minority report presented by Muwanga Kivumbi the Shadow Finance Minister for Finance and Kira Municipality MP, Ibrahim Ssemujju, it was proposed that funds committed by the Government of Uganda towards road construction in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) be re-channelled to strained domestic sectors.
Furthermore, Ssemujju proposed that the State House budget especially the 17.2Bn meant for buying cars for RDCs be transferred to cater for the rehabilitation of general hospitals. He also suggested that money meant for the rent of offices for presidential advisors be scrapped.
“This house should know that the list of presidential advisors includes Full figure, Buchaman, Catherine Kusasira. For God’s sake even if you are a blind loyalist, how can you approve rent for Full figure when you don’t have money for maintaining Intensive Care Units across the country?” said Ssemujju.
“This Parliament needs to critically examine the budget of defense. One item that stands out every financial year is classified expenditure. This year, defense is requesting Sh2.9 trillion in classified expenditure and Finance has provided Sh1.9 trillion. Defense also wants Shs240 billion to buy vehicles”.
“We are consumers of defense and security services but would not like this sector to be turned into a bottomless pit for our national resources. Defense must not be turned into a cash cow for some people. We want to be sure that money meant for ordinary soldiers is not the one funding birthday parties for a senior army officer,” Ssemujju added.
After the passing of the Budget Henry Musazizi the Minister of State for Finance (General duties) noted that the passed budget is in handy to help the economy recover.
“I am glad that this Budget will mark the beginning of the recovery of this economy,” Musasizi said.