KAMPALA – The National budget for 2022-2023 financial year is estimated to be at 45 trillion, and the argument is that part of the budget will be used for debt repayment. As different budget committees and inquiries are going on, my urged call is for the care sector to be financed and re-organised in the next financial years. The two-year pandemic that is still rummaging countries and communities, highlighted the importance of care work and the informal sector. From the women tilling the land to the markets in our communities.
Financing will help transform our systems of care. In Uganda, the informal sector powered our economy through the pandemic scourge. Yet, most informal workers barely earn enough to support their basic needs and have few benefits and rights. In our financial planning for smart cities and a re-imagining of a better town planning, we need to build better market infrastructure, provide ready access to markets and reduce the taxation on the informal workers, who for the most part earn “hand to mouth” kind of incomes.
Service sector as well should be highly from hospitals to the education sector. As a country, we need to realise that our survival of a deadly pandemic was hinged on the effort of the medical practitioners of this country, the men and women who worked even in the absence of PPE gear, good salaries and better sleeping accommodation. Our financial weight should be hinged in improving our hospitals, and having working systems to make sure that health workers are efficiently catered to.
Our educators equally need to be prioritised from skilling to better pay. We need to re-imagine a better curriculum that puts in context the two-year gap that learners experienced. We need an overhaul of the colonial curriculum and construct new education practise and pedagogy that is relevant to the learners today. That will also include, rehabilitation and building of better school especially in the rural areas, if as nation, we do not prioritise the education of the young ones, we are going to have a generation that is crippled in knowledge and will have to work twice as hard to compete in the geo-political sphere.
All this will be capped in an increase in funding in digital systems. The digital divide is fast happening and it is created extreme inequality in access to information and services. The e-economy was pushed to the forefront by the pandemic and it is changing our interactions with service delivery, finances and governance as a fast rate. Our money should be invested in helping every Ugandan access the digital tools that equip them in their jurisdiction, and therefore access to technology, internet and affordability should fostered and catered for in the 2022-2023 budget.
The fourth Industrial revolution is upon us and we can’t afford to be left behind. We need to find a place in our planning to transform our institutions, governance, academia and service sector in pushing for more Research and Development in our technology. The digital world, is changing our systems and we have to be able to leverage ourselves from the last mile communities into the digital migration of this century.
We equally need to be more frugal in our expenditures, we need to stop unnecessary borrowing only to return the money to our lenders. We need to live within our means as a country if we are ever going to achieve middle-class status. We need to cut back on our extravagance and in our expenses in public offices. From creating wage cutbacks on our legislators and ministers, to reducing the numbers of ministers, co-opting sister ministries into one entity among other key financial decisions that we need to take as country. If anything, Uganda needs a bare-bone budget system where we cut down on our expenses and spend
only priorities. Otherwise, the debt cycle will not end and our budgets will continue to be extremely high with no real cause.
Tricia Gloria Nabaye – Resident Research Associate: GREAT LAKES INSTITUTE FOR STRATEGIC STUDIES