KAMPALA - Majority of Ugandans want the Government to increase investment in the healthcare in the 2018/19 financial year, according to a new opinion poll on people’s concerns.
The poll was facilitated by Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) and conducted by Trac FM.
According the results, 28.8% Ugandans want increased investment in the general heathcare compared to the Government’s planned 12.07% in the next financial year.
Twenty six percent want increased investment in education, 16.9% (agriculture), 15.2% (roads and energy) and 12.5% in security.
The results are in total contrast of the budget framework paper which put education at 17.4%, 6.2% for agriculture, 53.67% (roads and energy) and 10.11% for security.
The poll was conducted among 5,175 people, from 115 districts from nine sub- regions, including Buganda, Teso, Lango, Acholi, Toro, West Nile, Karamoja, Ankole and Busoga.
It was conducted from January 20 to 24 via nine radio stations, where listeners were given instructions on how to participate through Trac FM’s toll-free Short Message Service (SMS) shortcode on what they thought should be prioritised in the next budget.
However, the poll question did not comprehensively ask people to make a breakdown on what exactly they wanted to be prioritised in each sector.
Last Friday, several debaters at people’s parliament also asked the Government to give more funding to the health sector and maintain an efficient and effective healthcare service delivery system. They also called for more funding to the education sector.
While releasing the poll results at CSBAC offices in Ntinda, a Kampala suburb on Monday, the organisation’s executive director, Julius Mukunda, said the mismatch between Government’s planned expenditure and the citizens’ most pressing needs is an indication that the Government needs to always prioritise depending on people’s demands.
“It is the people who know what they want. That is why the Government needs to align budget priorities with citizens’ needs to avoid wasting resources,” Mukunda noted.
He stressed that CSBAG has over years tried to take the necessary steps to support the Government in ensuring that budgets at local and national level are participatory, pro-people and address the needs and aspirations of all Ugandans.
“That is why we decided to conduct independent poll across the country to provide a platform for citizens to air their concerns that they would like the Government to address in the 2018/19 financial year,” Mukunda added.
The poll was aimed at finding out the sectors citizens wanted the Government to focus on in the forthcoming financial year.
“Healthcare, education and agriculture are the same sectors we have been pressing the Government to improve financing for. We think the Government can adjust,” he noted.
Mukunda stressed that the survey could also offer some insights into why about 3.4 million Ugandans slipped into poverty between 2012/13 and 2016/17 financial years despite an increase in the resource envelope over the same period.
Mukunda noted that, according to the Uganda National Household Survey (UNHS) 2016/17 report released towards the end of 2017 by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), the number of poor people increased from 6.6 million in the 2012/13 financial year to 10 million in 2016/17 financial year.
CSBAG called on the Government to re-assess its expenditure priorities and ensure that they directly serve the interests of the citizens to improve their quality of life and lift millions of Ugandans out of poverty.
The director of Track FM, Wouter Dijkstra, said they only wanted to get a general view of people’s needs.
“We ran a question on the selected nine radio stations and people were supposed to give feedback through our toll-free SMS shortcode. The next polls will focus breaking down what they need to be improved in each sector,” he added.