It’s budget day in East Africa

It's budget day in East Africa
East Africa Finance Ministers: From left, Tanzanian Finance Minister Saada Mkuya Salum, Kenya's Henry Rotich, Uganda's Matia Kasaija and Rwanda's Claver Gatete. COURTESY PHOTOS | NATION MEDIA GROUP.

It’s just before Finance Minister Matia Kasaija presents the financial year 2017/18 national budget to Parliament. The presentation of Uganda’s budget coincides with that of neighbouring Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda.

Kenya however read its budget last months to allow its Parliament to go on recess after passing the 2017/2018 budget.

The East African countries in 2007 to read their budgets on the same day in order to harmonise their taxation regimes.

The 2017/2018 budget under the “Industrialisation for job creation and shared prosperity” is expected to increase to 29 trillion shillings from 26.3 trillion allocated for the ending financial.

Parliament approved the budget last week as required by the Public Finance Management Act 2015. Like in the previous financial years, Minister Kasaija’s budget maintains a big portion of allocations to the infrastructure sector.

Government plans to spend the money on the construction of oil roads as plans to have the oil pipeline and refinery get underway.

The transport sector will receive 4.8 trillion shillings compared to 3.8 trillion shillings allocated in 2016/2017 budget.

Two weeks ago, State Minister for Planning, David Bahati, told MPs that the 2017/2018 budget prioritizes public infrastructure investments which are necessary to facilitate private sector development and enhance the productive capacity of the economy.

He said the resources available for the budget expenditures are to be obtained from domestic tax revenue, non-tax revenue, external donor grants and loans.

Bahati said the government plans to raise 954 billion shillings in domestic borrowing in 2017/18 through issuance of securities.

Domestic revenue collections are estimated to amount to over 15 trillion shillings, of which 14.6 trillion is tax revenue and 396.7 billion is non-tax revenue.

The 2017/18 budget is premised on President Museveni’s twenty three Strategic Directives for 2016-21. It seeks to further the implementation of the Second National Development Plan (NDPII).

The NDPII seeks to strengthen Uganda’s competitiveness for sustainable wealth creation, employment and inclusive growth.

The budget is also hinged on the NRM party manifesto for 2016-2021 that aims to elevate Uganda to middle income status through what government calls job creation and inclusive development.