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Education, Health Tipped To Take Lion’s Share In Next Budget

Government’s budget estimates for the financial year 2023/2024 have revealed that the Human Capital Development programme, which comprises education, health and water sectors, will have the biggest allocation for the second consecutive year.

The Human Capital Development programme has in the past had its budget increased from 7.5 trillion in financial year 2021/2022 to 9.089 trillion in the current financial year budget of 2022/2023.

The programme’s current financial year budget increase was mainly due to the 495 billion allocation for increment of salaries for medical workers and other scientists including teachers.

Now, according to the Budget Framework Paper for next financial year 2023/2024, the programme is planned to receive 9.005 trillion Shillings out of the proposed 49.9 trillion Shillings National Budget.

Although it remains the highest funded proramme in the budget, the proposed allocation implies an overall reduction of 83.94 billion Shillings.

Ketty Lamaro, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Sports says that the Education, Sports and Skills sub-programme will in the next financial year focus on finalization of the National School Feeding policy, establishment of the National Teachers’ Council, construction, expansion and equipment of Technical Institutes and others.

The other areas of focus are rolling out of the redeveloped Education Management Information System –EMIS which seeks to improve data management and evidence-based planning, dissemination of the National Physical Education and Sports Policy, operationalization of the High-Altitude Training Center, Teryet and others.

According to Lamaro, out of the 9.005 trillion Shillings allocated to the bigger Human Capital Development programme, 3.96 trillion is wage, 1.96 trillion is non-wage recurrent while 1.005 trillion is domestic development and 2.06 trillion is external financing.

Under the Health sub-programme, government will focus on mobilization of resources for immunization, increased retention on the treatment of HIV positive pregnant and lactating women, fast tracking of the approval and implementation of the Adolescent Health Policy, maintenance of medical equipment and recruitment of biomedical engineers, improvement of infrastructure including staff accommodation and others.

For water and environment sub-programme, the focus will be on the completion of construction of Kyenshama and Kyemamba multi- purpose dams in Mbarara and Lyantonde, Geregere multi-purpose dam in Agago District to 10 percent progress; a multi-purpose earth dam in Eastern regionto 30 percent, Kawumu Irrigation Scheme in Luweero district to 40 percent and construction of six Medium Scale Irrigation Schemes in Western, Central and Northern Regions, Busoga, Bukedi and Teso sub-regions to 30 percent cumulative progress.

The country’s National Budget has for long focused on infrastructure development until the National Development Plan III, in which government resolved to balance between infrastructure and human capital development to spur economic growth and development.

Matia Kasaija, the Minister of Finance says that government shall sustain economic recovery and build economic and enterprise resilience by focusing on six strategic intervention areas which will take priority next financial year.

Part of the six strategic areas is the support to medical schools and science-based research and development under the Human Capital Development programme.

The other strategic intervention areas and their programmes are peace and security under the Governance and Security programme (6.824 trillion), roads and railway (Maintenance of both tarmac and murram roads, development of Standard gauge  Railway- SGR and rehabilitation of the Meter Gauge Railway) under the Integrated Transport programme (4.65 trillion) and others.

Government also proposes to prioritize the full implementation of the Parish Development Model -PDM and scaling up EMYOOGA, oil and gas development, enhancing support to Uganda Development Bank -UDB and Uganda Development Corporation -UDC under the Private Sector Development (1.798 trillion), irrigation particularly the small scale solar powered irrigation under Agro Industrialization Programme (1.499 trillion) and others.

An allocation of 1.2 trillion is proposed for electricity to cater for construction of sub-stations and transmission lines and Agago Hydro power station in the medium term under the Sustainable Energy Development programme while 268.4 billion is proposed for industrial parks through building infrastructure and connecting them to electricity under the Manufacturing programme.

“These have been identified as priorities by His Excellency the President over and above other key investments in fundamentals such as Human Capital Development among others. Therefore, Government expenditures will have to be constrained to fit within the existing resources for Financial Year 2023/2024 including statutory obligations,” says Kasaija.

The National budget for next financial year 2023/2024 is projected at 49.98 trillion, compared to 48.13 trillion for the current financial year 2022/2023.

The proposed 49.98 trillion budget will be financed through domestic revenue equivalent to 28.83 trillion, budget support amounting to 2.491 trillion, domestic borrowing 1.585 trillion, external project support worth 8.04 trillion, domestic refinancing of 8.798 trillion, and local revenue for local government (AIA) of 238.5 billion Shillings.

The Budget theme has been maintained as “Full Monetization of the Ugandan Economy through Commercial Agriculture, Industrialization, Expanding and Broadening Services, Digital Transformation and, Market Access”.

Government projects economic growth to average between 6 percent and 7 percent, driven by anticipated increase in productivity within agriculture and manufacturing sectors-supported by interventions in the private sector activity, public infrastructure investments and operations in the oil and gas sector.

Parliament sectoral committees are scheduled to consider the different sector budgets next month and report to the House Budget Committee on 20th March. The Budget Committee will in turn present a report to parliament on the estimates in the Budget Framework Paper.

The Public Finance Management Act, 2015 requires Parliament to approve the budget framework paper by 1st of February.

-URN

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