Foreigners draining economy, analyst talk budget myths

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Prof Augustus Nuwagaba

Budget analyst Patrick Katabaazi has called for more local content ahead of the reading of Uganda’s budget for FY 2017/2018 by Finance minister, Matia Kasaija.

“The issue of local content is important in any country. We have people doing work that Ugandans would be doing,” Katabaazi said while appearing on NBS TV “morning breeze” Thursday.

“We contract people from different countries to do construction and transportation works. Aren’t Ugandans capable?”

He sad at the end of the day, money realised by the economy is given back to foreigners and Uganda realises no profit.

“We aren’t very many people that pay taxes in Uganda. We are not aware of what people are entitled to paying taxes and those that are entitled to tax holidays.”

He said the ministry of finance just comes up with a list at the end of the day without giving reason why.

Makerere University lecturer, researcher and economist Prof. Augustus Nuwagaba says the economy’s growth has slackened because of many indicators.

He cited a war in South Sudan saying this has hindered export and import as well as trade.

“It is a myth to say that agriculture is Uganda’s backbone of development,” Prof Nuwagaba said.

He says in order to have consistent growth in the Agricultural sector, it needs to be transformed widely.

According to Nuwagaba, sectors like manufacturing and production should have been focused on the most the previous financial year.”

At the start of June this year, parliament passed a Shs29 trillion National budget for the financial year 2017/18 slightly higher by Shs3 trillion, compared to the current national budget 2016/17 which is Shs26.3trilion.

According to the budget report by the house’s committee on budget, adopted on Wednesday by Parliament, out of the Shs29 trillion, Sha7.trillion will go towards recurrent budget, Shs11.4 trillion towards the development budget and Shs9.9 trillion towards statutory expenditure.

The report indicates that the FY2017/18 budget will focus on increasing agriculture production and productivity for food security and strategic exports, enhancing private sector development for promotion and import substitution.

It will also focus on intensifying energy and transport infrastructure development, to lower production costs and completing oil related infrastructure development to enable commercialization and the first oil output in 2020.

In the new financial year, domestic revenues including grants are projected to increase by 18.06%, against the projected revenues of FY 2016/17.

In the budget, sectors like the works and transport sector, ministry of defense, health, and the education, will receive the highest share of the budget.

The House presided over by the deputy speaker Jacob Oulanyah managed to beat the deadline set by the Public Finance Act which requires legislators to have the budget approved by May 31.

The opposition had bitterly opposed the budgetary proposals especially plans to spend money on the oil roads in the absence of feasibility studies.