Government to buy land in China, Saudi Arabia
In the 2015/16 budget, government proposes to raise Shs 460bn in new taxes, spend Shs 150bn on the general elections, buy a helicopter for the president at Shs 11.3bn and acquire land in Saudi Arabia, China and Burundi at Shs 24bn.
The nature of the new taxes, according to the national budget framework paper (NBFP) for 2015/16, is not yet known but they will most likely be consumption-related or tagged on services such as airtime or mobile money. NBFP lays out the fiscal policy framework and strategy for the budget year in the medium term.
Tabling the NBFP in parliament on Thursday, Matia Kasaija, the minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, said next financial year government expects to spend Shs 18.3 trillion, about Shs 2.8 trillion more than the Shs 15.5 trillion 2014/15 budget.
Eighty-seven (87) per cent is to be sourced locally, as government continues its commitment to reducing dependency on external funding for the budget. Infrastructure (Shs 2.3 trillion), education (Shs 2.3 trillion), security (Shs 1.1 trillion) and health (999 billion) will take the lion’s share of the budget.
Being an election year, the electoral commission has tentatively been – allocated Shs 150bn for election related activities.
OTHER KEY HIGHLIGHTS
The ministry of Foreign Affairs has requested for Shs 24bn to purchase land in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), Beijing and Bujumbura. The land is for building residences or offices for our diplomats. The measure, the ministry says, will save government Shs 14bn in rent.
At least Shs 11.3bn is needed to procure a new helicopter and another specialized vehicle for the president next financial year. According to the NBFP, the procurement process started this financial year.
Logistical support for the president, the vice president and their immediate families will consume Shs 214bn next financial year. This figure also includes mobilization of masses towards poverty reduction, peace and development, promotion of regional integration and international relations and community outreach programmes.
Government says the swearing-in ceremony for the president-elect in May 2016 will cost Shs 4.5bn.
“The major components of the budget shall include printing of invitation cards, hotel accommodation and transport for the visiting heads of state and security, among others,” the framework paper states.
Meanwhile, the government is to undertake the second phase of the redevelopment of Kololo ceremonial grounds as well as the construction of four regional golden jubilee schools in commemoration of the independence golden jubilee.
The Kololo redevelopment will consume Shs 20bn and will involve fencing off, construction of the VVIP section and installing a solar power facility. The construction of regional schools, on the other hand, will cost Shs 10bn.
The police require Shs 20bn to purchase assorted counter-terrorism equipment (walkthrough, bomb detector gadgets, etc) and assorted forensic laboratory equipment.
Fuel, food for UPDF
The army needs Shs 339bn to feed soldiers and pay for fuel, transportation, aircraft maintenance and uniforms.
Vehicles for RDCs
Government says most of the vehicles used by resident district commissioners (RDCs) and their deputies are in poor mechanical condition and, therefore, need replacement. A minimum of 30 vehicles are required every year at Shs 2.4bn.
Last year, government acquired a recreational facility for ministers and permanent secretaries. The location of the facility remains unknown. What is known, according to the NBFP, is that it is not furnished. Next year government wants Shs 1bn to buy furniture for the facility.
Research on medals
Government says it requires at least Shs 3.5bn to carry out research on individuals meriting national awards and to restock civilian medals and facilitate medal beneficiaries.
Minister for Kampala
Government says that in order to perform his duties well, the minister for Kampala (office of the presidency) requires additional office tools and equipment, including transport. This requires Shs 3bn.
Government has finalized the Creative Economy Action Plan. The plan aims to create jobs for the unemployed youths in the film and arts industries. To operationalize it, government requires Shs 55.7bn in the first year.
“One film employs over 300 people; so, 112 districts can employ over 33,000 people in one month, therefore able to create employment opportunities,” notes the NBFP.
The ministry of Health says that many of the general hospitals, some built in the 1930s and 1960s, are in dire shape. To fully rehabilitate all the 25 general hospitals, the ministry requires Shs 826bn, which will cover civil works, medical equipment, furniture and transport. The ministry proposes that government releases at least Shs 25bn next year to get the work started.
Government has set aside Shs 1.4bn to set up the national council for older persons, which will be used as a platform for advocacy, lobbying and monitoring the implementation of the legal and policy frameworks concerning older persons.
Uganda Prisons has requested for Shs 20bn to feed prisoners estimated at more than 45,000.
“The estimated unit cost per prisoner per day is Shs 3,000.”
Government says there is need to supply the additional four million blank ID cards to cover the shortfall in the number of cards supplied. In addition, government owes German firm, Muhlbauer, which had earlier been contracted to undertake the project, Shs 25bn. In total, at least Shs 156bn is needed next financial year to fund national – ID – related activities.
Government to buy land in China, Saudi Arabia