By Francis Emorut
KAMPALA - Legislators on the social and development budget committee have asked civil society organizations to do extensive research on budget issues before making their proposals to them.
The chairperson of the social and development budget committee, Margaret Komuhanji said by doing this, it would help lawmakers to appropriate funds equitably.
“Please come up with well researched information on budgetary allocations so as to help MPs to do the needful,” she advised.
“You must have a clear framework to help us [MPs] to identify those areas which are wanting so that we can take appropriate action.”
She was addressing members of civil society who were presenting their proposals on the budget framework paper for the financial year 2014/2015 at Parliament.
The civil society group, under the umbrella of Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) in partnership with Forum for Women Democracy (FOWODE), submitted that government should increase the budget for social development sector by 100%.
They observed that the sector is one of the least funded sectors of the Ugandan economy.
The civil society group also made recommendations that government increases resource allocation to the community development function in local governments, and also set up a Kiswahili council to guide or oversee the implementation of Swahili as national language.
Other proposals include to develop a comprehensive national strategy to tackle unemployment especially for the youth and promote financial literacy among the youth and need for the review of the law on minimum wage.
The deputy chairperson of the social and development budget committee, Arinaitwe Rwakajara concurred with the civil society group on the need to review the minimum wage, saying it was obsolete.
However, Komuhanji disagreed with the activists on increasing financing for community at local government level contending that corruption was rampant at the latter level.
“As far as corruption is concerned, are local governments doing any better?” she wondered.
She implored the activists to advocate for equitable allocation of resources.
The chairperson also asked the advocates to interest themselves in the Finance Bill 2009 when it is tabled before Parliament and make their input at committee stage.
The civil society proposals were presented by David Walakira, a budget policy analyst with CSBAG, and Jeff Wadulo who is the executive director of Jenga Afrika.