By Miriam Namutebi, Kennedy Oryema
Added 14th June 2019 10:20 AM
On Thursday, all roads led to Kampala Serena Conference Centre, where Parliament would sit for the presentation of the 2019/20 national budget. State minister Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi (youth and children affairs) was the among the officials that attended.
Gen. Moses Ali, the First Deputy Prime Minister, was also there. Finance minister Matia Kasaija was to present the biggest budget for Uganda thus far - sh40.48 trillion.
All those who attended had to sanitize their hands before walking into the hall.
The new national budget is focusing on various economic empowerment interventions, including sh103b to Uganda Development Bank for low cost credit to Ugandans at an interest rate of 12%.
The presentation of the budget would be aired on TV stations across the country. The other East African Community (EAC) member states also had their budgets read.
Several dignitaries made an appearance at Serena.
Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) commissioner general Doris Akol went for a blue-themed outfit.
Mufti Of Uganda, Sheikh Shaban Mubajje, was also present
Health minister Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng was sure to sanitize her hands.
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga would chair the parliamentary session at Serena.
Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi arrived in time.
The man with the iconic briefcase -- Finance minister Matia Kasaija.
The Government has provided a total of sh428.68b for various economic interventions.
Chief Justice Bart Katureebe looked sharp.
As a continuation of government efforts to address unemployment and poverty among the youth, the Government has earmarked sh130b for youth empowerment.
There was colour at Serena. As has been the case in the last 10 years, the Government has allocated the biggest portion of the national budget to infrastructure.
Government has allocated sh58b to the Uganda National Roads Authority to embark on constructing roads leading to tourism sites in western Uganda.
Taban Amin, the son of fallen former president Idi Amin, struck a pompous figure.
President Yoweri Museveni's motorcade eased in as top officials waited to receive him.
Vice President Ssekandi, Speaker Kadaga and her deputy Jacob Oulanyah and deputy IGP Sabiiti Muzeyi were set to receive the President.
The Police band played harmonious tunes at the event.
A presidential handshake!
Parliament is one of the entities that got significant increment in their budget - from sh497.8b in 2018/19 to sh688b in 2019/20.
Everyone at attention for the anthems!
The health sector got sh2.6 trillion and top of the agenda is upgrading health centres II to health centres III in 99 local governments.
The security sector received sh3.62 trillion.
Tourism was the biggest winner, with the ministry's budget jumping almost six-fold to sh193b from sh32b in the previous year.
Finance minister Kasaija provided sh40b to be lent to small, medium enterprises at no more than 12% a year. In addition, skills programme to improve access to credit for the youth and women will get a total of sh162b.
Foreign minister Sam Kutesa mingling with another official.
It was a full-capacity attendance.
All rose as the President walked into the room.
Anthems were again sung before the start of the session.
NRM secretary general Justine Kasule Lumumba.
Serena Conference Centre was the venue of this parliamentary sitting.
Several dignitaries attended the reading of the national budget.
Uganda's economy grew by 6.1%, the highest growth rate since the 9.4% recorded in 2011. This was due to increased economic activity in the public and private sectors and improved weather conditions.
The finance minister said Uganda's public debt has now reached $11.5b (sh43 trillion) as of December 2018, which represents a debt to GDP ratio of 42%.
To be able to fund the total budget, the Government plans to raise sh20.8 trillion from domestic revenue and the balance will be obtained from external and internal borrowing.
After the reading of the budget, there was an after-party for guests.
A number of entities and individuals were recognised for their work. President Museveni, flanked by Kadaga and Kasaija, presented the honours.
The party was not short of entertainment.
And as soon as the dance floor was open . . .
. . . it was all paka-chini!
Kadaga, Oulanyah and other guests relished the delightful moment.
Entertainment brought to you by the Prisons band.
Many showed what they are made of in the grooving department.
What a way to wrap up a long day!
Finance minister Matia Kasaija says Uganda's economy has recovered and picked momentum, growing at a rate of 6.1%.
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