Private Sector in Uganda welcomes this year’s budget

Opposition Chief Whip Cecilia Ogwal

Opposition Chief Whip Cecilia Ogwal: Government must reign in reckless spending and financial mismanagement

Players in the private sector have lauded the 2015/2016 National Budget as a balanced one, targeted at encouraging growth in the business community.

In his maiden budget reading, the Minister of Finance, Matia Kasaija listed facilitation of private sector enterprise development, effective development and maintenance of infrastructure and enhanced efficiency in government management as some of the 7 strategic areas where the Budget will focus on.

Reacting to the budget reading, Gideon Badagawa, the Executive Director of Private Sector Foundation Unit (PSFU) noted government’s commitment to invest in infrastructure, which is a key driver for private sector-led development.

“However the implementation of the budget will heavily rely on getting the money allocated equitably to all sectors of the economy. Without investment in skilling the labour force, productivity in driving the key strategic areas will be in vain,” he cautioned.

Badagawa also welcomed government’s move to revise VAT threshold from 50 million Shillings to 150 million Shillings.

Finance Minister Matia Kasaija explained that this threshold has been overtaken by events such as the growth in the economy, exchange rate depreciation and inflation.

Government also increased the threshold for the presumptive regime from a gross turnover of 50 million to 150 million Shillings. This is directed at reducing the cost of compliance among small businesses and increase certainty of tax.

Kin Kariisa, the chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) says government should focus on reducing unemployment levels in the country, currently standing at 62 per cent.

Prof. Mondo Kagonyera, the Chancellor of Makerere University, however warned that government’s failure to close financial leaks that have plagued previous budgets will continue to fuel corruption.

Meanwhile, the Opposition in the Ugandan Parliament is predicting tough times ahead for the Ugandan economy following the reading of the 24 trillion Shillings 2015/2016 financial year budget.

According to opposition legislators Ugandans will continue to dig deeper into their pockets to finance an already choking economy.

Shortly after the budget reading President Museveni noted that despite key challenges including inadequate road infrastructure and high transport costs, the economy will grow at 7 per cent per annum.

However, the Opposition Chief Whip, Cecilia Ogwal says the economy cannot achieve full growth unless government stops poor financial management and reckless expenditure.

“ With Uganda’s public debt standing at 7.6 trillion Shillings by the end of financial year 2014/156, is evident that government has failed to manage the economy and condemned Ugandans to financial bondage,” she noted.

Ken Lukyamuzi, the Rubaga South MP also cast doubt on government’s prospects that the money got from oil revenues will propel Uganda to growth saying this it is too ambitious.

Stephen Ochola, the Serere County MP lashed at the President for downplaying the poor funding to the agricultural sector. Ochola says agriculture, being the major activity of over 70% of Ugandans needs urgent attention.

Busongora North MP, William Nzoghu, on the other hand, says for development to be achieved, government must act tough on corruption. “For all these years, taxpayers’ money continues to go down the drain because the President protects corrupt officials in his government” he said.