Finance and Economic Planning Minister Matia Kasaija on Wednesday tabled before Parliament the 2020/21 national budget estimates to beat the April 1 deadline as dictated by the Public Finance Management Act.
According to the budget estimates contained in the Appropriations Bill 2020 that is currently before Parliament’s Budget Committee for scrutiny, priority is still on the development of the roads infrastructure.
The Ministry of Works and Transport with an allocation of Shs 4.7 trillion has the biggest share of the national budget – the bulk of it, Shs 3.4 trillion being allocated to the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) while Shs Shs1.3 trillion will be retained at the ministry’s headquarters.
To fund the construction of rural roads and small bridges, the Uganda Road Fund will take Shs 16.3 billion for the purpose.
The ministry will spend Shs 314 billion on fixing roads and drainage systems under Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA).
The Shs 4.7 trillion is however less by Shs 600 billion of the ministry’s Shs 5.3 trillion it was given in the current financial year – probably because of its flagship project for preceding financial year; the revival of Uganda Airlines was accomplished.
The Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs’ expenditure will shoot up by more than Shs 800 billion to Shs 4.3 trillion from the current financial year’s Shs 3.5 billion.
The defense budget grew to Shs 3.5 billion from Shs 1.6 trillion after the government took to Parliament a Shs 1.9 trillion supplementary budget request which was added to docket’s classified expenditure budget.
Of the Shs 4.3 trillion, the ministry intends to spend Shs 1.4 trillion in recurrent expenditures to cater for salaries and other expenses in the Office of the Minister of Defence, UPDF Land Forces and the Air Force.
The Defence Ministry also intends to spend Shs2.9 trillion to finance classified activities and procurements.
The Ministry of Health which is currently taking the lead in the fight against coronavirus pandemic has been allocated Shs1.2 trillion for its development budget, with Shs 72 billion reserved for salaries and other recurrent expenditures at the headquarters.
The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development has been allocated Shs 1.8 trillion which will largely go to the completion of ongoing construction of power dams and extension of electricity connection in the country.
The Rural Electrification Agency (REA) on the other hand has been allocated Shs 636 billion to support the extension of electricity connections in the countryside.
With slow business in the economy due to the devastating effects of COVID-19, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) will have to be innovative to close the gaps and spur support to the budget.