After Finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka read her budget and President Museveni made his traditional remarks, Sulaiman Kakaire and David Tash Lumu asked a cross section of Ugandans what they made of the two speeches.
Geoffrey Ekanya (Shadow Finance minister)
The main reason why Ugandans are not benefiting from these budgets is because of the cost of public administration. For instance, if 80 percent of the budget is consumptive how do you expect productivity to go up when the economy thrives on productivity?
MP Nandala Mafabi, Leader of Opposition (On Museveni speech):
He [Museveni] should blame himself not us. Museveni is the other factor. He raided the treasury, and right now there is a huge hole in the treasury. That is why the economy registered a dismal growth of 3.2%.
Francis Epetait (Shadow Agriculture minister)
You cannot say that the productivity in the economy will come from the agricultural sector yet you have reduced its funding.
Frank Tumwebaze (Chairperson Parliament Committee on Finance, Planning and Economic Development)
Some of the tax proposals suggested by the minister are excellent. For instance, the increasing of the PAYE (Pay As You Earn) threshold. [But] it’s not a good idea for the minister to re-introduce the tax on water.
Allen Kagina, URA Commissioner General:
“It is a great budget. I am expecting to collect more taxes in the next financial year. The inflation rates have been around 30%. Businesses could not access credit. Doing business was hard because of inflation. Tax collection was low. As of May this year, we registered a Shs 60bn shortfall. But now that the inflation has dropped to 18%, we expect to collect more taxes.”
Joseph Ssewungu (DP, Kalungu West)
The teachers are the losers in this budget. We expected that one of the ways through which government was to solve the teachers’ problem was through increasing of the PAYE threshold to capture the ceiling given to the lowest paid teacher, but this has not happened. The PAYE threshold has been put at Shs 230,000 yet the least-paid teacher earns Shs 270,000. This is so unfair.
Stephen Mukitale Birahwa (Chairperson Parliament Committee on National Economy)
It took us five years in Parliament to scrap the tax on water, [so] for the minister to bring it back as one of the measures is unfair and unsustainable if one of the objectives in this year’s budget is water supply.
Vincent Bagiire, vice chairperson, ICT committee
I think the budget is well focused… If the road network is developed, it provides linkages to other sectors like agriculture, industry, trade and commerce, tourism and mining.
Abed Bwanika President Peoples Development Party
The agricultural sector is the engine for the economy. If it remains underfunded then the economy is doomed.
Maxwell Akora (UPC, Maruzi)
There is nothing exciting in this budget. For instance, the biggest percentage of the budget is consumed by administration against development. This is not sustainable. However, the increase for the funding to the road sector is good although it’s not well thought out.
Francis Onapito Ekomoloit, board member, Private Sector Foundation Uganda:
“It has been a good budget. We have made a lot of progress. We welcome the move by government to involve the private sector in the policy formulation. We hope it becomes a reality.”
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