By Sylvia Juuko
DONORS and the business community yesterday commended the focus on infrastructure, energy and human development, but expressed concern about implementation of programmes.
Finance minister Syda Bbumba did not announce new taxes but focused on private sector development.
â€œThe priorities are in order with regard to infrastructure. Iâ€™m also happy with the emphasis on allocation and operational efficiency. However, while budget proposals focus on particular sectors getting more money, we need to have those proposals implemented. It is not about the money, but the priority areas and how the money is spent,â€ said Kundhavi Kadiresan, the World Bankâ€™s Uganda boss.
She praised the plan to increase salaries for teachers and health workers in rural areas and to give them housing, saying it would improve service deliver there.
Thomas Richardson, the senior resident representative of the International Monetary Fund IMF, said the budget speech reflected policy stability.
â€œThe minister covered all the key issues, including uncertainties ahead. The continued focus on roads and electrification infrastructure is crucial. The tax policy measures were reasonable,â€ he added.
Richardson said the budget was consistent with the National Development Plan and the East African Community integration agenda.
He was, however, concerned with the revenue shortfalls. â€œUganda has fallen behind her neighbours in terms of revenue mobilisation and thatâ€™s a key challenge which requires tax policy issues to address.â€
He also called for the elimination of tax exemptions that are no longer effective.
Gideon Badaggawa, the head of the Private Sector Foundation, was impressed with the budget, noting that it addressed the demands of business.
â€œIt has focused on roads and railways, energy and ICT and these are important because they influence the cost of doing business,â€ he said.
Badaggawa noted that proposals to create value addition units in districts and the proposed funding of research was welcome.
He, however, decried the delay in passing laws that support the growth of the private sector.
Louis Kasekende, the deputy Bank of Uganda boss, stressed the importance of implementation of the budget proposals.
â€œThis budget would help sustain growth if we implemented everything,â€ he said.
Allen Kagina, the head of the tax body, URA, said the organisation would meet the new targets.
â€œWe have been asked to collect over sh5 trillion. This is not an insurmountable hurdle,â€ she announced.