KAMPALA- Recapitalising Uganda Development Bank can reduce government’s expenditure on foreign debt of about Shs1.7 trillion, former Agriculture minister Victoria Ssekitoleko has said.
Ms Ssekitoleko challenged government to revive UDB rather than begging commercial banks to reduce on interest rates.
“Why not revive Uganda Development Bank (UDB) to ensure that even farmers can access credit at lower interest rates? ” she said.
European Union officer Henry Nyerekwa, blamed government for playing ‘a pause game’ on servicing its debts, “Government has budgeted to spend Shs1.7 trillion on servicing foreign debt but at the same time, it plans to get Shs1.7 trillion from domestic borrowing. It is like borrowing from one source to fund the other one,” he said.
Commercial banks charge an interest rate ranging from 14 to 25 per cent per annum which is higher compared to UDB’s 12.5 per cent for long term financing.
Speaking at a pre-Budget public dialogue organised by the civil society budget aocacy group in Kampala on Wednesday, Ms Ssekitoleko said it is unfortunate that government has reduced Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries budget and yet it is pretending to help farmers.
“Salaries at ministry of Agriculture have been reduced from Shs55 billion to Shs54 billion after sacking agriculture extension workers (under National Agriculture Aisory Services). Who told you that we need soldiers to distribute seeds instead of aisory services?” she added.
Government recently sacked most of its agriculture extension officers at Naads for incompetence, replacing them with Uganda People’s Defence Forces soldiers to distribute agriculture inputs countrywide.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor