On Tuesday, July 4, Caritas Uganda and the Uganda Farmers Common Voice Platform (UFCVP) held a national dialogue to discuss the 2023/24 national budget. The event took place at the Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala, where scholars and experts gathered to discuss the country’s budget allocation.
Dr Fred Muhumuza, a scholar from Makerere University Business School (MUBS), pointed out that the budget should prioritize day-to-day challenges rather than less important issues like the standard gauge railway.
Muhumuza emphasized the need for the government to allocate funds to developing the economy, rather than spending on unnecessary projects.
During the dialogue, experts highlighted concerns about education and the budget. They pointed out that at the current rate of building only one teacher’s house, one classroom block, and two pit latrines per year, it would take 69 years to build enough classrooms for all primary schools.
This means that the goal of improving literacy and numeracy skills may be hard to achieve, which is a crucial test for universal primary education.
Furthermore, the experts highlighted that the poor performance of students in national exams is caused by teachers spending time moving in and out of school, which reduces learning hours.
James Hill Aringo, the UFCVP assistant regional coordinator for the eastern chapter, highlighted the progress Uganda has made in the provision of services. However, he also noted that citizen participation in the planning and budgeting process has been declining. Aringo emphasized that corruption remains a significant challenge, and it is affecting the country’s revenue collection targets.
In the financial year 2021/22, agriculture contributed up to 50.3% of the country’s total exports. Aringo emphasized the need to build the capacities of civil society organizations (CSOs) and citizens in the planning and budgeting process continually. He also recommended that unspent money should not be sent back to the central treasury since it is not reflected in the next budget.
According to Aringo, the shrinking fiscal space and corruption remain significant challenges to Uganda’s economic growth. The government needs to prioritize the allocation of funds to sectors that will benefit the community, such as agriculture and health care. By doing so, he noted that the government can help address the day-to-day challenges faced by Ugandans.
The national dialogue organized by Caritas Uganda and the UFCVP provided an opportunity for experts to discuss the country’s budget allocation.
The scholars highlighted the need for the government to prioritize day-to-day challenges and allocate funds to sectors that will benefit the country.
They also emphasized the need for citizen participation in the planning and budgeting process and the importance of transparency and accountability in preventing corruption.