The Minister of Finance Planning and Economic Development each year around 14th June presents the budget speech. This year the budget speech was held on Thursday, 12th June, 2014 at Serena Hotel Kampala. It should be noted that Financial Year 2014/15 budget speech was read in the year of completion of the first phase of the National Development Plan (NDP): approaching the deadline of the Millennium Development Goal and close to the year of elections. The speech highlighted the expected expenditure proposals 2014/15 and revised revenues for 2013/14 but also gave insights on the performance in FY 2013/14.
Achievements FY 2013/14
- A decline of people living below the poverty line was noted from 56.4 percent in 1992/3 to 24% in 2009, and further to 19.7 percent in 2012/13. ( this is in line with the MDG)
- Improvement in physical infrastructure
- Quality to social services, education and water
- Foreign Direct investments
- The macroeconomic stability in East Africa: Inflation dropped to 5% as the end of may 2013/14 due to reduction in food prices, real GDP is at 7%, increased deposits and lending. Central bank rate at 7% and commercial banks rate dropped from 24% to 20%
Government priorities FY 2014/15
- Professional development
- Achieve real economic growth 7%
- Maintain a single digit inflation
- East African Integration
- Promote foreign growth
Budget strategy FY 2014/15
- Improving business climate( through , micro economic stability, peace and security)
- Energy and transport
- Leveraging government resources in agriculture, agribusiness, tourism, ICT
- Increasing productivity of human resource through education
- Strengthening public service and institutional governance and accountability
Key sector allocations FY 2014/15
- Security is proposed to take 7.1% of the national budget
- Transport sector increased from 2,510.7bn to 2,575.5bn
- Energy was allocated 1,675bn
- Health was allocated 1,197.8bn (decrease)
- Education was allocated (1,699.4 bn (decrease)
- Agriculture was allocated 440.7bn ( increase)
- Water sector was allocated 430.8bn( slight increase)
- Allocations to self accounting bodies
- Uganda Bureau of Statistic was added more 40bn for the upcoming census
- Electoral commission was added 105.6bn for preparing elections
- Police was added 8bn to recruit more personnel
Note: 450 billion was allocated for increase of salaries for public servants specifically teachers and health workers. Teachers’ salaries will increase from 15% to 25%
Health being one of the most crucial sectors in the economy, Overtime, there has been efforts by government to ensure that declarations and commitments are domesticated through developing national policies and guidelines for effective delivery of health services. Some of these efforts are visible in: National Budget, National Development Plan (NDP 2010) Health Sector Strategic Investment Plan (HSSIP 2010/11-2014/15) Road Map to Accelerate the Reduction of Maternal and New Born Morbidity and Mortality in Uganda 2007-2015 and the National Health Policy (NHP 2010).
According to the Budget Frame Work Paper FY 2014/15 and the budget speech FY 2014/15, the health sector share of the total budget reduced from 8.6% to 8.4%, 8.6% to 8% respectively. (Though in absolute terms the amount allocated to the sector slightly increased from 1,129.207 to 1,197.8bn). This is way below the government commitment to the Abuja declaration of 15% national budget allocation to the health sector by 2015.
There is already an existing gap in the drug supply chain, Uganda AIDS Commission budget remained the same despite the increasing prevalence rate of HIV and AIDS from 6.2 to 7.3 and the impeding donor threats to cut aid. We also note that the budget for reproductive health items remained constant from the previous year at 8bn despite the challenging reproductive health issues e.g contraceptive prevalence rates of 30% , unmet needs of family planning services at 34%, the percentage of women attending 4ANC visits stands at 31%.
Given that there is unmet need in the Sexual and reproductive health, we recommend a 40% (3.2bn) budget increase to address the gaps and we recommend an integration into the education, justice and gender sector. Monitoring should be strengthened and allocated more money. Critical sectors like health should be prioritized and domestically resourced. e.g. expeditious establishment of the HIV trust fund.