Kampala. Members of the Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) have disagreed with government’s proposal to cut Budget allocations for key social sectors of education, health and agriculture.
The advocacy group described the Executive’s action as highlighted in the released Budget estimates for the Financial Year 2015/2016 as a “terrible mistake”.
Reacting to the budget estimates in Kampala on Thursday, CSBAG coordinator Julius Mukunda said explanations given by government to reduce the agriculture, health and education budgets are not convincing enough.
“We are dismayed that government is proposing to reduce the health budget by Shs317.4bn, while that of education has been reduced by Shs45.3 billion, ” Mr Mukunda said. “That of agriculture has reduced by Shs56.7 billion from the current Shs473.3billion to Shs417 billion even as the budget for public administration increased by Shs155.3 billion (from Shs554.8billion to Shs710 billion),” he added.
According to the estimates, the allocation to the health sector has reduced from the current Shs1.2 trillion to Shs963.7 billion while that of education has reduced from the current Shs2 trillion to Shs1.9 trillion.
The civil society group said such reduction would have a direct impact on the overall welfare of the people and increase the economic cost of government in taking care of a sick, illiterate and hungry population.
The civil society was also upset with the slow progress in implementation of the Public Finance Management Act, 2015, which enforces discipline in the budget and the unfulfilled pledges in the FY 2014/15 Budget.
However, when contacted yesterday, Information minister Jim Muhwezi said there is no need for the civil society to be upset, considering that the budget has been a consultative process which encompasses the views of all the stakeholders.