By Nasser Kasozi Akandwanaho
The Ministry of Finance has said that the budget for Financial Year 2022/23 will mainly focus on economic recovery through addressing the negative impacts of Covid-19 pandemic towards health and economy.
This was revealed by the State Minister for Finance, Henry Musasizi, while presenting a statement to the Budget Committee on Wednesday.
Musasizi outlined that to achieve full economic recovery to pre-pandemic levels, government will emphasise on socio-economic transformation of 39 percent households in the subsistence economy to a money economy.
He added that strengthening the areas of health and economic infrastructure will also be considered.
“One of the key priorities of government that will push for socio-economic transformation is financing the Parish Development Model and enhancement of pay for scientists, among others,” Musasizi said.
The Minister said that despite the current rise in prices of commodities, inflation remains in an acceptable range.
He further submitted that the tax revenue-to-GDP ratio is at 13.2 percent, which is above the National Development Plan target of 12 percent, which dropped because of the pandemic.
However, the Chairperson of the Budget Committee, Patrick Isiagi, said that in the proposed Shs47 trillion national budget, Agriculture, which is the backbone of the economy, is being neglected.
“We are very perturbed to see you make a budget that leaves the Agriculture sector blind. You have slashed budgets of key Institutions like National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) and many others,” he stated.
Isiagi said that it is counterintuitive to have a proposed Shs76 billion cut from the Agriculture budget, yet the government is rooting for an agro-industrial sector.
Kassanda North County MP, Patrick Nsamba Oshabe, stated that the figures on inflation are debatable and contrary to the price of household commodities.
“The people are seeing something different when it comes to inflation. We need to know what exactly the government has done to manage the skyrocketing prices,” he supplemented.
The Minister responded that the rise in prices of commodities was not necessarily pegged on this but rather on the issue being a global phenomenon due to the pandemic.
However, he said that they will prepare a response on the government’s planned intervention in rising commodity prices.
Musasizi further responded to the chairperson that the budget for the Agriculture Sector was to be revised before the budget is passed.