Education, health are expected to take the largest share in the next budget

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education Ketty Lamaro. Photo Files

Kampala, Uganda | MANDIRI | Government budget forecasts for the 2023/2024 fiscal year reveal that the Human Resource Development program, which comprises the education, health and water sectors, will receive the largest allocation for the second year in a row.

The Human Capital Development Program in the past has increased its budget from 7.5 trillion in the 2021/2022 fiscal year to 9.089 trillion in the 2022/2023 current budget.

The increase in the program’s financial year budget was mainly due to the allocation of 495 billion for salary increases for medical workers and other scientists including teachers.

Now, according to the Budget Framework Paper for the next financial year 2023/2024, the program is planned to receive 9.005 trillion Shillings from the proposed National Budget of 49.9 trillion Shillings.

Although it remains the highest-funded program in the budget, the proposed allocation implies an overall reduction of 83.94 billion Shillings.

Ketty Lamaro, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Education and Sports said that the Education, Sports and Skills sub-program in the next fiscal year will focus on finalizing the National School Feeding policy, establishing the National Teachers’ Council, building, expanding and equipping the Technical Institutes and others .

Other focus areas are launching a redeveloped Education Management Information System–EMIS which seeks to improve data management and evidence-based planning, dissemination of National Sports and Physical Education Policy, operationalization of Higher Altitude Training Centers, Tervet and others.

According to Lamaro, of the 9.005 trillion shillings allocated to the larger Human Resource Development program, 3.96 trillion was wages, 1.96 trillion non-wages recurring, while 1.005 trillion was domestic development and 2.06 trillion was external financing.

Under the Health sub-program, the government will focus on mobilizing resources for immunization, increasing retention in the treatment of HIV-positive pregnant and lactating women, rapid tracking of approval and implementation of the Adolescent Health Policy, maintenance of medical equipment and recruitment of medical staff. biomedical engineers, infrastructure upgrades including staff accommodation and others.

For the water and environment sub-program, the focus is on completing construction of the Kyenshama and Kyemamba multipurpose dams in Mbarara and Lyantonde, the Geregere multipurpose dam in Agago District to 10 percent progress; multipurpose land dams in the East region up to 30 percent, the Kawumu Irrigation Scheme in Luweero District up to 40 percent and the construction of six Medium-Scale Irrigation Schemes in the West, Central and North Regions, Busoga, Bukedi and Teso sub-regions up to 30 percent cumulative progress.

The APBN has long focused on infrastructure development up to the National Development Plan III, in which the government decided to balance infrastructure development and human resources to spur economic growth and development.

Matia Kasaija, Minister of Finance said that the government will maintain economic recovery and build economic and corporate resilience by focusing on six strategic intervention areas that will be prioritized in the coming fiscal year.

Part of the six strategic areas is support for medical schools and science-based research and development under the Human Resource Development program.

Other strategic intervention areas and programs are peace and security under the Governance and Security program (6.824 trillion), roads and railways (Maintenance of tarmac and murram roads, development of SGR-Standard Railway and rehabilitation of Metered Railways) under the Integrated Transport program (4.65 trillion) and others.

The government also proposes to prioritize full implementation of the Parish Development Model -PDM and increase Emyooga, oil and gas development, increasing support for Uganda Development Bank -UDB and Uganda Development Corporation -UDC under Private Sector Development (1.798 trillion), irrigation especially solar irrigation small scale under the Agro Industrialization Program (1.499 trillion) and others.

An allocation of 1.2 trillion is proposed for electricity to serve the construction of substations and transmission lines and the Agago Hydro power plant in the medium term under the Sustainable Energy Development program while 268.4 billion is proposed for industrial estates through building infrastructure and connecting it to electricity under the Manufacturing program .

“This has been identified as a priority by His Excellency the President over other key investments in fundamental areas such as Human Resource Development, among others. Therefore, Government spending must be limited to match the available resources for the 2023/2024 Fiscal Year including legal obligations,” said Kasaija.

The upcoming 2023/2024 state budget is projected at 49.98 trillion, compared to 2022/2023 budget year of 48.13 trillion.

The proposed budget of 49.98 trillion will be financed through domestic revenue equivalent to 28.83 trillion, budget support of 2.491 trillion, domestic loans of 1.585 trillion, external project support of 8.04 trillion, domestic refinancing of 8.798 trillion, and regional revenue for the government area (AIA) of 238.5 billion Shillings.

The theme of the Budget has been maintained as “Full Monetization of Uganda’s Economy through Commercial Agriculture, Industrialization, Expansion and Expansion of Services, Digital Transformation and Market Access”.

The government projects economic growth to average between 6 percent and 7 percent, driven by anticipated increases in productivity in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors—supported by interventions in private sector activities, public infrastructure investments, and operations in the oil and gas sector.

Parliamentary sectoral committees are scheduled to consider various sector budgets next month and report to the House Budget Committee on March 20. The Budget Committee will in turn submit a report to parliament on the estimates in the Budget Framework Paper.

The Public Finance Management Act 2015 requires Parliament to approve the budget framework paper by 1 February.