FY2023/24 Budget: CSOs reveal funding gaps that will undermine service delivery.
Civil Society Organizations under their umbrella, the Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) have discovered various funding gaps in the approved estimates for FY2023/24 that was tabled before parliament which they say if not addressed will undermine service delivery in the next year.
Budget Estimates for FY 2023/24, were approved in Parliament on Thursday 18th May 2023 in accordance with Section 9 (3) of the Public Finance Management Act, 2015 (Amended)
The increase of the national budget to UGX.52.7 trillion for the financial year 2023/2024 according to CSOs has limited allocations to various productive sectors.
The Executive Director CSBAG Julius Mukunda said that despite government’s endvour to mobilise more resources in the budget to finance its priorities, government needs to balance its budget by increasing our own domestic resources, cut down the appetite for debt to finance none core projects as well as closing the gaps that lead to the hemorrhage of public resources to sustainably meet is targets.
“The Parliament of Uganda approved the national budget for the FY 2023/24 amounting to a total of UGX 52.73 trillion representing a 16% increase in the last three years from UGX 45.59 trillion in 2020/21. The increase is a result of a) projected increase in domestic resource mobilization from UGX 25.55 Trillion in FY 2022/2023 to UGX 29.67 trillion. In the FY 2023/24, the available discretionary spending of the Government currently has been reduced by 0.24 trillion and now stands at UGX. 25.16 trillion for FY2023/24. This can be explained by Government commitments that take a first call on the budget with a financial implication of UGX.27.58 trillion,” he said
The Programme Coordinator, Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) raised concern on the reduced allocation for blood collection, processing and distribution which he said will affect the health of the citizens.
“Funding allocation for blood collection, processing and distribution has dropped from UGX.23 billion in the current financial year (2022/2023) to UGX. 21 billion in the FY 2023/24. This will not be able to cover a deficit of 150,000 units of blood needed in the country. The current blood allocation can only enable Uganda blood transfusion services to collect 300,000 units of blood against the need of 450 units,” he said
The Executive Director Food Rights Alliance (FRA) Agnes Kirabo said : “Every time we get a food insecurity problem or the need for Government to distribute food, we see the Government going for a supplementary budget, but hunger is not a disaster, hunger has never been a disaster, malnutrition has never been a disaster it is something that we need to plan for and we are not seeing it coming through our budget,” she said
In the budget estimates for FY2023/24;
Wealth creation: Account for a combined total of UGX 1.146 tn (for 10,594 SACCOs under the Parish Development Model; UGX 100bn for 6,700 SACCOS under Emyooga program and UGX 46bn for other SACCOS under the Microfinance Support Centre),
Education: UGX 1 trillion was allocated to 12 government universities, UGX 126.2 billion for UNEB to conduct and supervise national exams, and UGX 13.39 billion for National Council for Higher Education to guide and establish standards of Higher Education Institutions,
Health: UGX 1.225 trillion was allocated to 27 Regional Referral Hospitals to improve health service delivery in Uganda.
Agriculture: Agricultural research financing In order to promote agricultural research in Uganda, the Government has allocated UGX 155.6 billion to National Agricultural Research Organisation. Diary Development. In order to enhance diary value addition and quality for increased market competitiveness, the government has allocated UGX 17.62 billion the Diary Development Authority
Works and transport: As part of improving the national road network, UGX 2.475 trillion was allocated to Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA). Furthermore, UGX 401.2 billion was allocated to Uganda Road Fund for improving District Urban and Community Access Roads.
Water and Environment: The government has allocated UGX 37.56 billion to National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA).
Local Government Financing: The budget for Local governments (including districts, cities, and municipal councils) for the financial year 2023/24 is UGX 5.39 trillion representing 10% of the national budget, of which UGX 4.156 trillion (77%) is recurrent expenditure and UGX 1.1247 trillion (23%) is Development expenditure.