Finance Minister, Hon Matia Kasaija, has Thursday addressed the National Budget Conference on the Budget Strategy for FY 2020/21 held at Serena hotel in Kampala.
The conference is attended by Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda and Mary Busingye Karooro Okurut, the Cabinet Minister in Charge of General Duties in the Office of the Prime Minister, among other dignitaries.
“In the second National Development Plan, we set ourselves a goal to attain the middle income status, we have made significant strides. On average, a Ugandan now earns 825 USD per year,” Kasaija said.
He said in the FY 2020/2021, government will solve implementation challenges in different areas by strengthening capacities of MDAs.
The government will work with local governments to strengthen their revenue and broaden the range of revenue instruments they have to improve local government in financing.
Kasaija cited the need to address the challenges of economic growth and development and one of them is low productivity in agriculture where over 68% of the farmers are in subsistence economy and are at risk of climate change.
He said in Uganda, there should be no malnutrition and children should not suffer from any form of malnutrition because “we have everything that the body needs, the challenge is to educate our people”.
“We live in poverty and yet some people are heavily asleep not wanting to do their job,” he noted.
He said another challenge of economic growth and development is the uncompetitive private sector which is as a result of high cost of electricity, transport and the existing gaps in service delivery that are widening inequality.
“China has opened their door to us, we can now export any agricultural commodity there.”
“Our grandmothers knew how to feed us and that’s why we can stand here at 75 and speak. We should feel ashamed as Ugandans to hear that our children are suffering from malnutrition because the food is there.”
According to Kasaija, in the second National Development Plan, government set a goal to attain the middle income status and has made significant strides.
He said Uganda is well positioned to benefit from the many trade blocks that the government has established through multi-lateral arrangements for example COMESA, the East African Community, AGOA and others.
Climate change has resulted in noticeable changes in rainfall patterns, Kasaija noted.
“We must strengthen the coping capacity of vulnerable populations to the effects of climate change and disasters. A country that does not innovate is a dead country. We have to innovate.”
Kasaija said one gets to a place where people are poor and others where they are extremely rich.
“We shall promote food security and tailor made regional economic empowerment initiatives for high poverty areas of Busoga, Teso, Bukede, Bugisu, Karamoja and Acholi,” says Kasaija.
He said Uganda’s economy has recovered from the low growth average rate of 3.9% experience in FY2016/17 to an average of over 6% over the last two financial years.
Minister Kasaija confirmed that government is pushing to see that oil companies go ahead to conclude their deal, a move that could boost the oil industry sector.