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The National Planning Authority (NPA) Director for Planning, Dr. Patrick Birungi has urged Government to provide details on the national budget to ease allocation of revenues and expenditure. Through his unique adage, “the devil is in the details,” Birungi cautioned that budget increments should have come along with directives on revenue utilization by the numerous sub-sectors constituting the agricultural sector.
He applauded the Shs. 489-billion (65%) budget increase on agriculture terming it a generous addition. He added that the national budget is an instrument for NPA to execute its plans.

This call was made during the post budget debate organized by Uganda Economic Association (UEA) and the Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) on June 14th, 2016 at Kampala Serena Hotel.
The question of details also extended to other budgetary aspects like deficit financing. Bank of Uganda’s Director Research, Dr Adam Mugume, responded to this query by directing that the 5.8 trillion shortfalls will be financed through foreign loans, which, if used productively will earn forex to pay the creditors.

Organized under the theme “Budgeting For The Future Generation” the education sector caught the attention of discussants at the UEA budget debate. Sheila Depio a Researcher with EPRC observed that the 15% salary increment for teachers only serves to motivate teacher attendance. She cited other critical education issues that require monetary allocation, for instance refresher courses for teachers. This she says will build their capacity to impart appropriate skills upon primary school going children.

Similarly Dr. Ibrahim Kasirye, from EPRC, sounded an alarm on special needs education, nutrition, early childhood development, child protection and school facility grant which have been neglected and funds allocation reduced respectively.
Additionally funding for construction of health centers increased yet medical equipment and personnel remain inadequate. Depio also noted that more investment in curative rather than preventive measures in combating child related diseases such as malaria is never a good focus by government.

Andrew Rugasira an entrepreneur who participated in the debate echoed the need for mindset shift from small scale farming to agribusiness. He cautioned implementers against “keeping people politically happy” at the expense of the budget shortfalls.
The economists were advised to stop being commentators and become part of the budget process by working with NPA and EPRC to come up with strategies and generate evidence, which shall inform the budget process.

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