Researchers from the Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) have said that a de-link between budgets and plans, caused majorly by variance between planned and actual project outputs, continues to elude Uganda.

The observation was raised during a dialogue that discussed "Challenges of achieving Uganda’s Vision 2040: planning, budgeting and financing of National Development Plans (NDPs) in a constrained resource and institutional environment," held at EPRC conference hall on April 20, 2017.

The dialogue’s objective was to identify and articulate the cause of poor budget outcomes in the context of the national development plans (NDPs).

Arguments and counter agreements were made as to whether constraints to alignment of budgets to plans were due to variance between actual and forecasted revenue or accumulation of arrears, and sectoral reallocation of resources by way of supplementary budgets.

The participants emphasized that the weak interaction among the three levels of budgetary outcomes that is; aggregate fiscal discipline, allocative efficiency and technical efficiency and the political systems (parliament, executive, judiciary and civil society) jostle budgetary outcomes.

In a presentation titled "Financing infrastructure development in Uganda issues and options", by Dr. Ezra Munyambonera and Joseph Mawejje, it was revealed that domestic revenue mobilization to finance infrastructure is affected by weak regulatory frameworks, narrow tax base, tax evasion and large informal sector.

Citing the overdue Entebbe express highway, which is 80% complete, Munyambonera blamed the variance between planned and actual project outputs on contract disputes, abuse of social and environmental safeguards, and changes in design, compensation issues and implementation delays.

He called for innovative financing requiring a mixture of domestic and external resources, in addition to public and private resources since poor project implementation, attracts high cost of debt servicing and payment for externally sourced development finance.

In another presentation titled “linking budgets to plans in a constrained institutional and resource environment, the case of Uganda, by Paul Corti Lakuma and Musa Mayanja Lwanga, it was apparent that in terms of technical efficiency, priority sectors consistently spent below budget. Meantime, Lakuma observed that, based on allocative efficiency, most NDP I projects were not targeted.

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Read detailed research on "Linking Budgets to Plans in a Constrained Resource and Institutional Environment: The Case of Uganda"

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