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Why Gov’t should increase health budget

By Admin

Added 2nd February 2017 10:56 AM

The paper has since been before Parliament awaiting approval. It highlights fiscal policy proposals and strategies for the Budget Year 2017/18.

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The paper has since been before Parliament awaiting approval. It highlights fiscal policy proposals and strategies for the Budget Year 2017/18.

On December 15, 2016, the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development finalised drafting the 2017/2018 budget framework paper (BFP) and submitted it to Parliament.

The paper has since been before Parliament awaiting approval. It highlights fiscal policy proposals and strategies for the Budget Year 2017/18.  The macroeconomic policy proposals presented in the BFP form the basis for resource projections and indicative expenditure allocations.

The projected total estimates for the budget year2017/18 represents a 10% increase from that of 2016/17.    

Despite of the general total budget increase in the financial year 2017/18, the health sector is set to suffer a nominal cut of sh953.24b representing 29.6% in its budget for FY 2017/18. These means that,   the overall sector share of the budget will reduce to 5.7% compared to 8.7% in FY 2016/2017. 

 The projections as reflected in the budget framework paper are far below the Abuja declarations/commitments that require member countries to allocate at least 15% of their national budget to the health sector.

Although access to health is essential to creating the necessary conditions for economic development, declining funding to the sector will result into unhealthy workforce and weak public health systems and policies, especially in an economy where HIV/AIDs and other diseases are widespread and often resulting into lower productivity, increased absenteeism from work, loss of skill, increased costs and declining profits and investments that affect the general economy.

Furthermore, if the budget framework paper 2018/17 is approved by Parliament as it is, the reduction in the Budget sector will automatically affect governments proposed investments to the health sector such as the operationalisation of national insurance scheme and the HIV/AIDs trust, human resources for health and the primary health care funds that has already suffered a budget cut of sh1.86b in the budget framework Paper 2017/18.

The 29.6% reduction is hugely anticipated to impact service delivery within the health sector and undermines the possibilities of Uganda achieving the 2020 middle income status target.

It is important for the relevant authorities to commits itself to Abuja declaration or progressively grow towards the 15% budget allocation in the subsequent years. Also it’s significant for Parliament to reconsider allocating more additional funds to the Health Sector.

Parliament should therefore refer the 2017/18 Budget Framework Paper to the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic so as to make revisions that will result in reallocation of more resources to Health.

The writer works with Uganda Debt Network

 

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