KAMPALA – President Yoweri Museveni has revealed that the Primary Seven (P.7) completion rate in Uganda is 38% and 6% in Karamoja alone.
“This is a big problem for the country. In the next one or two Financial Years, we must work and insist on free primary and maybe secondary education”
Museveni was on Tuesday afternoon speaking to the Parliament at Kololo ceremonial grounds during the budget reading ceremony.
Mr. President said that “it’s a big problem to see that enrollment is 10,000,000 in primary school and 2,000,000 in secondary school. I call upon the political leaders, especially in NRM, to budget for free primary school education.”
The UGX. 48.1 trillion national budget for the Financial Year 2022/2023 was read by Finance Minister, Matia Kasaija who said that the size of Uganda’s economy is projected to expand to UGX 162.1 trillion.
Kasaija indicated that the economic activity has been more buoyant at a growth rate of 4.6% per annum up from 3.5% last year.
“Due to the resilience of the economy induced by our deliberate and prudent economic policies, Uganda’s GDP per capita has increased to USD 1,046 which is equivalent to UGX 3.7 Million per person, per year.”
He said that the revenue collection target in the current financial year, which ends on June 30 was UGX 22.4 trillion against what was actually collected UGX 21.48 trillion, leaving a shortfall of UGX 939 billion.
The minister, however, revealed that the domestic revenue has improved compared to the previous FY.
“During the 10 months from July 2021 to April 2022, there was a 38% increase in taxpayers with 686,000 new taxpayers being added to the register.”
He also noted that the salaries of medical workers, scientists, and science teachers have been enhanced, saying that it will help to improve the functionality of education and health facilities by addressing absenteeism and low morale of personnel.
“To the Ugandan scientists and health workers, the government has fulfilled its commitment to enhancing your pay. Ugandans expect better services in return.”
According to budget documents, the Government anticipates to generate sh25.7 trillion from revenue collections and the remaining sh22.4 trillion will come from internal and external borrowing.
The government also anticipates country’s economic growth rate to rise from the current 3.8% to 6% next financial year.
EDUCATION, HEALTH TAKE LION’S SHARE
The Human Capital Development Programme, which comprises the education and health sectors has had its budget increased from sh7.5 trillion, allocated in the current financial year, to sh8.7 trillion in the budget for the next financial year.
This is mainly because of sh495b provided for increasing salaries for medical workers and other scientists, including science teachers.
Other programmes that have received big portions of the national budget include governance and security (sh7 trillion), integrated transport infrastructure (sh4.1 trillion), energy development (sh2.5 trillion) and agro-industrialisation (sh1.2 trillion).
The biggest portion (sh17 trillion), which is 35.3% of the total national budget, is earmarked for interest and debt payment.
In their statements on the national budget for the next financial year, opposition leaders in Parliament are concerned that increasingly, the biggest portion of the national budget is going to interest and debt payment, which leaves limited resources for service delivery.
According to the finance ministry, interest and debt payment budget increased from sh8.5 trillion in the 2017/2018 financial year to sh15.1 trillion in the 2021/2022 financial year.
The 2022/2023 budget will mark the third financial year of implementing the National Development Plan Three (NDP III). It is anticipated that at the end of it, 60% of the targets in NDP III will have been realised.
One of the key NDP III targets is to increase the per capita income (average amount of money earned by every Ugandan) from the current $879 (sh3.2m) to $1300 (sh4.8m) by 2025.
The Government has earmarked a total of sh1,711b as wealth creation funds through various programmes. Here, the Parish Development Model (PDM), has been allocated sh1.059 trillion.
Through PDM, the Government will be investing in organised groups such as SACCOS and co-operatives, which are involved in agricultural production at parish level.
A total of sh72.7b has been allocated to the Microfinance Support Centre (MSC) to give low-cost credit to SACCOS. In its reallocations in the budget, Parliament gave an extra sh35b to MSC to give out grants/donations to beginning and struggling SACCOS.
The Government has also allocated an additional sh100b towards Emyooga programme to continue giving out funds to SACCOS, especially in urban areas or groups of people involved in similar economic activities.
Other economic empowerment funds in the budget include sh30b to Uganda Coffee Development Authority for distribution of free coffee seedlings and sh30b for cattle restocking in Lango, Acholi and Teso sub-regions.
Another sh20b is for co-operatives, sh120b for the elderly persons, sh50b for Agriculture Credit Facility, sh48.7b to Uganda Development Corporation for establishment of factories, sh34b for Women Entrepreneurship Programme and sh85b for Uganda Development Bank (UDB).
As part of interventions for resuscitating Uganda’s economy from the effects of COVID-19, the Government in 2020 allocated over sh530b to UDB to give low-cost credit to private businesses.
According to UDB executive director Patricia Ojangole, UDB’s capital base has now reached sh1.1 trillion.