Government outlines key priority areas for 2019/20 budget

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The Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development has prepared five critical areas which it says focus on realigning Uganda’s strategic interventions to address the country’s current challenges to achieving the desired socioeconomic out and harness the growth opportunities to achieve the middle income status.

Presenting the budget strategy for Financial Year 2019/20, on September 13 at Kampala Serena Hotel, the minister of Finance, Planning and Economic development, Mr Matia Kasaija said the Financial Year 2019/20 budget has been prepared based on the following thematic areas.

“Harnessing key growth sectors by increasing production and productivity in the agricultural sector to support Agro-industrialization, commercializing mineral endowments as well as
promoting Tourism to realize gains from Uganda’s natural cultural and historical attraction; enhancing private sector growth and development, centered on industrialization, trade and export competitiveness aimed at enhancing product and enterprises development
and access to markets both at regional and international levels,” he said.

The other key areas Mr Kasaija said are promoting human capital development to provide a skilled and healthy labour force; strengthening public sector management to enhance returns to public and private investment both at firm-level; and developing a financing framework anchored on both an effective domestic revenue strategy and a responsive Debt Management reforms to maximize the impact of available resources.
In order to harness growth in sectors, Mr Kasaija said Uganda’s industrialization requires that manufacturing sector is anchored to agriculture in order to foster growth and job creation, adding that this will require organizing agricultural production in cooperatives and farmer groups that are directly linked to private sector Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that have the necessary technological support for value addition.

In petroleum and (Oil and Gas) and other minerals, Mr Kasaija said Uganda has moved from exploration into development phase to its oil and gas sector and this development phase provides an opportunity for local enterprises to advantage of the market and Ugandans with request skills to get employed.

“To realize this, government needs to prepare for participation in line with various contracts /agreements signed with the oil consortia. In addition, we need to ensure adequate arrangements for meaningful implementation of the local content policy and regulations,” he said.

On tourism, Mr Kasaija said tourism sector currently accounts for about 10 per cent (Shs8 trillion of the GDP, with tourists’ arrival estimated at 1.4 million per annum and tourism related employment standing at 1.3 million.
“Our overall goal is to increase the contribution of tourism to GDP to Shs15 trillion by 2020. This will require increase in number of visitors from the current 1.4 to 4 million by the same y scaling up tourism promotion and marketing in order to increase visibility of Uganda as a tourist destination,” he said.

On enhancing private sector growth and development in order to increase private sector competitiveness, enhance exports and enable the private sector play a key role in industrialization, he said the budget strategy will encourage private sector investors to promote
backward and forward linkages with agriculture and mineral sector, by adding value to agriculture produce and promoting formal processing of minerals.

Enhance SME contribution to GDP from current 18 per cent by supporting formalization of Small and Medium Enterprises to enable adequate provision of support through government –to business linkages, and enable business-to –business linkages.

Speaking on boosting human capital development and increasing efficiency in service delivery, Mr Kasaija said with young population Uganda holds the opportunity to reap from the demographic dividend, if the population remains healthy and equipped with requisite skills.

In order to ensure a healthy and skilled labour force, we shall address social infrastructure deficit and maintenance, improve quality of social services, promote healthy lifestyles and tackle population growth issues by enhancing quality of education and health service
delivery especially at primary level, through teacher and health worker training, supervision and inspection,” he said.

On financing the budget for 2019/20, Mr Kasaija said the budget will be financed using a mix of domestic revenues, grants and borrowings Kasaija said: “The financing will be guided by Domestic revenue Strategy which targets tax-GDP ratio of 16 per cent by 2020, and the medium Term Debt Strategy which aims at keeping debt at sustainable level.”

The Prime Minister in his opening remark, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda said there is need to speed up the execution of government projects and programmes; and tackle the inefficiencies in public sector to ensure better services delivery that can improve the lives of the masses and support private sector investments.

“Emphasis should be put placed on industrialization of the economy, based on agro-processing, export promotion of key commodities and products, addressing challenges to you unemployment and private growth, and expediting in infrastructure investments to reduce the cost of doing business,” he said.

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