News Column

Budget - the Top Priority Areas

June 10, 2014

Alon Mwesigwa



Thursday, Finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka will read the 2014/15 national budget.

About Shs 14.2trillion has been earmarked to run the economy. Alon Mwesigwa looks at the top five priority sectors and the projects that will be worked on according to the National Budget Framework Paper (NBFP).

Work and transport:

For the past three years, the Works ministry has led the pact in the share of the budget. And this financial year, it will get 18 per cent of the budget. Works' budget will increase to Shs 2.6tn this financial year from Shs 2.51tn allocated last year.

Key among the priority projects is the designing, costing, financing, constructing of the 2000Km Standard Gauge Rail (SGR) linking Mombasa-Nairobi - Kampala - Kigali route.

By October this year, government is expected to have hired the constructor. It will be on the public private partnership arrangement. Other projects to be undertaken are the construction and completion of ongoing road projects. These include: Vura-Arua-Oraba upgrading (95km), Buteraniro - Ntungamo - Rwentobo(59km), Ntungamo-Kabaale -Katuna (65km), Hoima-Kaiso-Tonya (92km), Kampala - Mukono - Jinja (80km), among others.

Energy infrastructure and minerals:

The energy sector will take the second highest share of the budget at 12 per cent. For 2014/15, energy and mineral development will take Shs 1.7tn up from last year's Shs 1.6tn.

Fast-tracking the construction of the 600MW Karuma hydropower project, the Isimba hydropower project (100MW) and commencement of the Ayago hydropower plant (600MW) will take high priority. These projects are expected to increase Uganda's power availability, which currently stands at a measly 850MW.

Also, the oil refinery project is to be developed on a Private-Public Partnership (PPP) basis through a joint venture company this financial year. The proposed shareholding is 60 per cent for the private company and 40 per cent for government. The refinery is estimated to cost $4bn. The East African Community partner states will also participate with a take of 10 per cent out of the public shares.

Education:

The budget for education will fall slightly although the sector will still be among the biggest consumers of the budget. The sector will get Shs 1.6tn this financial year down from last year's Shs 1.7tn.

The government expects to use this money to provide facilities such as classrooms, staff houses, and teaching materials. It would also provide sanitary facilities, and equip science and computer laboratories. Of the Shs 400bn to enhance civil servants' salaries, teachers will be prioritised.

Health:

The health sector will get Shs 1.1tn, almost the same amount it got last year. It takes just 8.4 per cent of the entire budget. Government will construct the specialized maternal and neonatal health unit in Mulago and general hospitals in Kawempe and Kiruddu.

They will also rehabilitate the lower Mulago hospital and nine other hospitals including Mityana, Nakaseke, Anaka, Moyo, and Entebbe hospitals.

Security:

The country's security remains a key fixture in the government allocations. This year, it will take 7.1 per cent of the budget. It will get Shs 1tn. Government says security in the region and in the country is of high priority.

The South Sudan conflict and the Amisom forces in Somalia, plus protecting the country against terrorists, are the key priority areas. For South Sudan, government says it has trade interests. South Sudan is Uganda's main export market, earning on average $240m annually.


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Source: AllAfrica


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