KAMPALA – Government’s budget estimates for the financial year 2023/2024 have revealed that the Human Capital Development programme, which comprises education, health and water sectors, will have the biggest allocation for the second consecutive year.
The Human Capital Development programme has in the past had its budget increased from Ugx7.5trn in financial year 2021/2022 to Ugx9.089trn in the current financial year budget of 2022/2023.
The programme’s current financial year budget increase was mainly due to the Ugx495b allocation for increment of salaries for medical workers and other scientists including teachers.
Now, according to the Budget Framework Paper for next financial year 2023/2024, the programme is planned to receive Ugx9.005trn out of the proposed Ugx49.9trn National Budget.
Although it remains the highest funded programme in the budget, the proposed allocation implies an overall reduction of Ugx83.94b.
Ketty Lamaro, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Sports said that the Education, Sports and Skills sub-programme will in the next financial year focus on finalisation of the National School Feeding policy, establishment of the National Teachers’ Council, construction, expansion and equipment of Technical Institutes and others.
The other areas of focus are rolling out of the redeveloped Education Management Information System –EMIS which seeks to improve data management and evidence-based planning, dissemination of the National Physical Education and Sports Policy, operationalization of the High-Altitude Training Centre, Teryet and others.
According to Lamaro, out of the Ugx9.005trn allocated to the bigger Human Capital Development programme, Ugx3.96trn is wage, Ugx1.96trn is non-wage recurrent while Ugx1.005trn is domestic development and Ugx2.06trn is external financing.
Under the Health sub-programme, government will focus on mobilisation of resources for immunization, increased retention on the treatment of HIV positive pregnant and lactating women, fast tracking of the approval and implementation of the Adolescent Health Policy, maintenance of medical equipment and recruitment of biomedical engineers, improvement of infrastructure including staff accommodation and others.
For water and environment sub-programme, the focus will be on the completion of construction of Kyenshama and Kyemamba multi- purpose dams in Mbarara and Lyantonde, Geregere multi-purpose dam in Agago District to 10 per cent progress; a multi-purpose earth dam in Eastern region to 30 per cent, Kawumu Irrigation Scheme in Luweero district to 40 per cent and construction of six Medium Scale Irrigation Schemes in Western, Central and Northern Regions, Busoga, Bukedi and Teso sub-regions to 30 per cent cumulative progress.
The country’s National Budget has for long focused on infrastructure development until the National Development Plan III, in which government resolved to balance between infrastructure and human capital development to spur economic growth and development.
Matia Kasaija, the Minister of Finance says that government shall sustain economic recovery and build economic and enterprise resilience by focusing on six strategic intervention areas which will take priority next financial year.
Part of the six strategic areas is the support to medical schools and science-based research and development under the Human Capital Development programme.
The other strategic intervention areas and their programmes are peace and security under the Governance and Security programme (Ugx6.824trn), roads and railway (Maintenance of both tarmac and murram roads, development of Standard gauge Railway- SGR and rehabilitation of the Meter Gauge Railway) under the Integrated Transport programme (Ugx4.65trn) and others.
Government also proposes to prioritize the full implementation of the Parish Development Model -PDM and scaling up EMYOOGA, oil and gas development, enhancing support to Uganda Development Bank -UDB and Uganda Development Corporation -UDC under the Private Sector Development (Ugx1.798trn), irrigation particularly the small scale solar powered irrigation under Agro Industrialization Programme (Ugx1.499trn) and others.
An allocation of Ugx1.2trn is proposed for electricity to cater for construction of sub-stations and transmission lines and Agago Hydro power station in the medium term under the Sustainable Energy Development programme while Ugx268.4b is proposed for industrial parks through building infrastructure and connecting them to electricity under the Manufacturing programme.
“These have been identified as priorities by His Excellency the President over and above other key investments in fundamentals such as Human Capital Development among others. Therefore, Government expenditures will have to be constrained to fit within the existing resources for Financial Year 2023/2024 including statutory obligations,” said Kasaija.
The National budget for next financial year 2023/2024 is projected at Ugx49.98trn, compared to Ugx48.13trn for the current financial year 2022/2023.
The proposed Ugx49.98trn budget will be financed through domestic revenue equivalent to Ugx28.83trn, budget support amounting to Ugx2.491trn, domestic borrowing Ugx1.585trn, external project support worth Ugx8.04trn, domestic refinancing of Ugx8.798trn, and local revenue for local government (AIA) of Ugx238.5b.
The Budget theme has been maintained as: “Full Monetization of the Ugandan Economy through Commercial Agriculture, Industrialisation, Expanding and Broadening Services, Digital Transformation and, Market Access.”
Government projects economic growth to average between six – 7 per cent, driven by anticipated increase in productivity within agriculture and manufacturing sectors-supported by interventions in the private sector activity, public infrastructure investments and operations in the oil and gas sector.
Parliament sectoral committees are scheduled to consider the different sector budgets next month and report to the House Budget Committee on March 20. The Budget Committee will in turn present a report to parliament on the estimates in the Budget Framework Paper.
The Public Finance Management Act, 2015 requires Parliament to approve the budget framework paper by February 1.
Additional reporting by URN
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