Kampala. The government has braced the country for more “tough choices” in the proposed 201415 Budget which MPs say seeks to balance the books on the “back of the poor” in the wake of declining donor aid following the signing of the anti-homosexuality law.
Finance minister Maria Kiwanuka is reportedly under mounting pressure to change course and kick-start growth as the country’s economy teeters on the brink of “stagnation” due to widespread corruption and financial indiscipline in various government departments.
In order to increase transparency and accountability as well as minimising the existence of “ghost” staff on the government payroll, Ms Kiwanuka said in the new 201415 Budget Framework Paper (BFP) to Parliament that all accounting officers and heads of cost centres are required to print and display monthly payrolls on public notice boards for scrutiny.
In addition, the minister said, it is a requirement by all Accounting Officers to print and distribute pay slips to all public servants for endorsement as acknowledgement for receipt of salary on a monthly basis.However, the failure by most Accounting Officers to enforce the government directive introduced in the wake of the financial scam in the Office of the Prime Minister continues to perpetuate the existence of “ghosts” and other payroll irregularities on the government payroll. The minister said, in the FY 201415, government will “aggressively” enforce this requirement in all ministries, departments and agencies.
The 201415 BFP, a blueprint for the next budget, shows that in the coming fiscal year, the government intends to spend Shs14.3 trillion up from Shs13 trillion for this year. The BFP presented to Parliament on Tuesday shows that more than Shs10.1trillion will be raised domestically, mainly from the new taxes to be announced in June.
An additional Shs221b will come from budget support, Shs2.6 trillion from project support, and Shs550.3b will be raised from the domestic banking system.
Economists from the Parliamentary Budget office told the Daily Monitor yesterday that to finance the next budget, the government will, in addition to the direct taxes paid by Ugandans, need for a “miracle cure”.The minister explained that the resources available for government expenditures in 201415 budget is only Shs10.5 trillion —leaving a deficit of more than 4 trillion. While it is not yet clear how the government would finance the deficit, Ministry of Finance officials said the government intends to suppress allocations to various sector and increase borrowing.
Shadow Finance minister Geoffrey Ekanya said helping create jobs would mean “cutting tax rates and red tape, backing scientists, building new roads and broadband” and making Uganda an attractive investment option.According to a document presented by Investment minister Gabriel Ajedra, the economy is projected to grow by about 6 per cent in the current fiscal year and then average to 7 per cent over the medium term as the economy continues to recover from the aftereffects of the recent global and regional economic shocks.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor