How the reading of the 2015/16 national budget unfolded on Thursday at Serena Conference Centre.
By Joseph Kizza
(All times indicated are East Africa Time)
6.00pm Good evening!
Well that's it for today, good people. Thanks a bunch for keeping us company here and may I wish you a prosperous 2015/16. Stay on the New Vision website for various stories related to the 2015/16 budget.
Have a good evening!
Budget 2015/16: Reactions
Male Henry Kenneth: I think it's high time the national budget is read in a local language for everyone to understand.
Abbey Kaddu: As citizens we urge Government to improve on Passport Application Process to enable everyone have ONE!
Karungi Elizabeth: 2% grow rate of agric sector is alarming & its not something to be proud of.
Little Princess: I see a very hard miserable financial year for a Ugandan who lives in absolute poverty
Keep the conversation alive using the hashtag #UgBudget15.
5.55pm End of budget reading session
The 2015/16 budget reading session has been closed by the Speaker Of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga
But she is quick to add: "Parliament will resume on the 23rd June this month. However this session continues to the Serena gardens."
In his remarks, President Museveni re-echoes that the country he leads will become a middle income country by 2020.
The president also points out that his party, the NRM, is set to achieve its strategic goal of modernizing Uganda.
He is keen to add that "12% of the total budget is spent on government wages which consequently affects infrastructural development.
"The economy has grown (last 20 years) by 6.6% per annum despite the electricity, road, rail, ICT bottlenecks, says Museveni.
And much more . . .
On her part, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga congratulates the minister for passionately presenting the 2015/16 budget.
He must be weary!
5.35pm 'Thank you Madam Speaker'
Finance minister Matia Kasaija finally concludes his delivery thus: We need to harness the natural endowments we are blessed with. All this is meant to lead to a modern and prosperous country and improve the overall quality of life.Thank You, Madam Speaker."
And finally here comes the part many of you always itch for . . . . taxes.
In summary, here is what the minister says:
-- Our efforts are geared towards increasing the tax to GDP ratio by at least 0.5 percentage points of GDP every FY. And to attain a target of 16 percent by 2018
-- Excise duty of 10 percent was introduced on confectioneries and furniture and 5 percent on motor vehicle lubricants
-- Mandatory payment of tax for all Public Service Vehicles and Goods Motor-Vehicles at time of renewal of annual licenses
-- VAT threshold has been maintained at Shs. 50 million since the inception of VAT in 1997
-- Removal of excise duty on international calls - One Area Network for EAC region
-- Environmental levy on used motor-vehicles from 20 percent to 35 percent for motor vehiclesof 5-10 years old
-- 50 percent for those above 10 years. However, this excludes Goods Vehicles.
-- Passport fees have been increased by sh120,000 to sh150,000
-- Special passport - Shs.300,000has been introduced for any person who wishes to get apassport expressly within 24 hours
-- Government has ratified the following agreements;
- The EAfrican Community Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation
- Prevention of Fiscal Evasion in respect to Taxes
- The Agreement for the Establishment of the African Tax AdministrationForum ) on Mutual Assistance in Tax Matters
5.27pm National ID
Minister Kasaija says: "Effective next Financial Year, all public servants will be required to have the National ID card before accessing the government payroll."
5.25pm Sh547.3 billion for water and sanitation
An allocation of sh547.3 billion has been approved for the Water and Sanitation sector, says Kasaija.
- Rainwater harvesting systems have also been completed
- Increase rural and urban access to safe water supply to 65% and 100%, respectively in financial year 2019/20.
- As well as increase sewerage coverage to 30 percent in towns with population greater than 15,000 people
5.20pm Health gets sh1.27 trillion
The minister further reportes reduced HIV/AIDS new infections from 147,000 in 2011 to 137,000 in 2013.
"HIV prevalence is now estimated at 7.3%," he adds.
In the next year, an allocation of sh1.270.8 trillion has been approved to the health sector. He also points out strengthening of the capacity of specialized health facilities such as the Uganda Heart Institute and Cancer Institute
5.12pm Education, health . . .
In a wrap, the minister says:
- In the financial year now ending, UPE enrolment amounted to 6.4 million pupils
- USE/UPOLETprogramme enrolled 873,476 students, of whom 46.2 percentwere female
- Increase of salaries for Lecturers in all Public Universities with an additional funding of UShs.50bn
- Will raise the Professor's pay from the current shs.4.1 million to UShs.6.3 million per month
- Infant Mortality rate reduced from 76/1,000 to 54/1,000 Live Births
- Construction of Kawempe and Kiruddu hospitals is also progressing and expected to be completed by mid-2016
- Rehabilitation and equipping of Mulago Hospital is also underway and will be completed by December 2016
- Construction of the Out Patient Department, theatre, accident and emergency departments in Hoima and Kabale hospitals
- Staff houses have been constructed in Kabale, Masaka, Hoima and Arua, Regional Referral Hospitals
- Construction of staff houses is on-going in Mulago, Soroti, Hoima, Fort Portal hospitals
5.12pm 19.5 million mobile phone subscribers!
The number of mobile telephone subscribers now stands at 19.5 million while internet subscriptions increased from 3.4 million in 2013 to 4.3 million in 2014, reports Kasaija, who has so far done well to keep his voice up.
"Mobile Money transfers and other data-related services are becoming more popular," he points out.
"National Backbone Infrastructure (NBI) and received high speed internet bandwidth led to a reduction in Government expenditure to the tune of UGX 5.287 billion per annum."
5.07pm What about ICT?
Improving access to efficient and affordable ICT services is key to promoting private sector investment. The ICT sector currently employs about 1.3 million people and generated sh416.7 billion in 2014, up from sh332 billion in 2013.
We learn from the minister that ICT contributes almost 2% to the national output.
5.00pm Power generation
Not political power. We are speaking electricity here. I hope the too many statistics are not a sleeping pill for you. Let's keep up good people . . .
The minister says electricity generation capacity in Uganda has increased from 595MW in 2011 to 851.53 MW in 2014. Also, the National electricity access has increased from 11 percent in 2011 to 14 percent in 2014.
"Rural electricity has increased from 4%t to 7%.Power loses in the distribution Network now stand at 20% from 27% in 2011. The total Grid electricity Supply increased by 5.4% from 3,039 Giga Watt hours(GWh) in 2013
Government, he adds, will fast-track the construction of the Karuma and Isimba Hydropower Projects
"Next Financial Year (2015.16), Government will also construct a total of 2,002 Km of transmission lines across the country.
"Government is targeting to increase per capita electricity consumption to 588kWh by 2020 and 3,668 kWh by 2040," says the finance minister.
4.50pm Facelift for Entebbe airport
Minister Kasaija says: "Entebbe International Airport, as Uganda's principal international gateway, will be upgraded. Airport rehabilitation amounts to US$ 325 million, and this money has already been secured."
The finance minister adds: "Government is committed to revitalize the railway network in order to lower cost of freight. Government will fast track the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR)."
4.38pm Transport gets sh3.3 trillion
Before revealing the share he has allocated to the transport sector, Minister Kasaija says that the emphasis has been on upgrading of numerous gravel national roads to bitumen standard. Over the last five years, he reports, the stock of paved roads has increased by 889 km.
"A total of 167 km have been upgraded from gravel to tarmac out of the annual target of 250 km. 129 km of national roads were reconstructed/rehabilitated out of the annual target of 170km. To paved road routine mechanized maintenance, a total of 2,664km were completed out of the annual target of 3,000km."
The minister further says that "a total of 11,448km of unpaved roads have undergone routine mechanized maintenance out of annual target of 12,500km.
"An allocation of sh3.328.79 trillion (18.2% percent of the total resource allocation) to the transport sector has been approved for the next financial year."
4.38pm Legal reforms
Minister Kasaija reveals that Government has undertaken legal and regulatory reforms in order to improve the business climate.
"We will also enhance the efficiency of the judiciary to reduce commercial case backlog by introducing new technology," he adds.
For the 2015/16 national budget, Minister Kasaija has allocated sh30.8 billion. He says: "Government has developed a 10-year tourism master plan and a five-year sector development plan.
4.25pm Research institute
Uganda Industrial Research Institute has made significant innovations for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). For adding value to agricultural products and building the economy's industrial base, the Institute has also provided support for the development of the following industries.
Premier dairies also produced pasteurized mega milk at 180,000 litres per month
Government has identified land in Kaweweta to set up an Export Processing Zone and is completing the procedures to secure ownership of the land.
4.20pm Agriculture sector share
Government recognizes the pivotal role of the agricultural sector in economic growth and development, says the minister.
"The sector employs 66% of Uganda's labour force.The agricultural sector has performed strongly this year. For instance, fish production increased by 10.1 %, that is from about 420,000 metric tonnes to about 460,000 metric tonnes
"For next year I have allocated sh479.96 billion to the agriculture sector."
4.12pm Sh1.63 trillion for security
"Peace and national security is an important pre-requisite which we must not take for granted," says Minister Kasaija. He says that an allocation of sh1.632.89 trillion has been approved for the security sector in the 2015/16 budget.
These resources, we learn, will be utilized to further professionalize the armed forces and other security organs.
4.12pm More domestic revenue
The minister says that domestic revenues are expected to increase to sh11.333 trillion up from sh9.799 trillion. Also new domestic debt to be raised through Treasury Bills and Bonds next year is expected to amount to Shs. 1.384 trillion.
4.05pm The seven strategic areas
We learn from the minister that next financial year's budget (2015/16) will focus on the following seven strategic areas:
- Maintenance of National Security and Defense
- Facilitation of Private Sector Enterprise Development
- Effective Development and Maintenance of Infrastructure
- Commercialization of Agriculture and Improved Productivity in Primary Growth Sectors
- EnhancedCapacity for Increased Domestic Revenue Mobilization
- Increased Social Service Delivery
- EnhancedEfficiency in Government Management
Minister Kasaija: "Budget deficit for the coming financial year (2015/16) is projected to increase to 7% of GDP compared to 4.5% for this year (2014/15). Over the medium term, the deficit will average about 6%.
3.55pm 'Sustainable' public debt
Minister Kasaija continues to say that the stock of outstanding public debt is projected to reach US$ 7.6 billion by end of this financial year. Note that 60% of Uganda's debt stock is external and 40% domestic.
"Although our public debt has increased faster compared to past trends," he says, "it is sustainable in relation to the size of the economy."
He also points out that over the last two years, there has been significant increase in Government spending. "Uganda's international reserves are projected to improve gradually to achieve about 4.5 months of import of goods.
3.45pm Domestic resources to finance 76%
The finance minister says that domestic resources will finance 76% of the 2015/16 national budget. He adds that domestically-raised revenues will fund 100% of the recurrent expenditures and 66% of development expenditure.
- The industrial sector is projected to grow at 5.5% and services at 5.7%
- Agricultural sector, cash crops rebounded strongly from an average negative growth of 1.5% per year
- For the last five years to a positive growth of 6.6% in this year
- Growth in manufacturing has picked pace after a contraction in financial year 2012/13, and is now estimated at 4.1%
- Construction has continued to be a major driver of growth in the industrial sector and is estimated to expand by 6.6%
- Information and Telecommunications has contributed significantly to services sector growth which has continued to register high growth rates estimated at 10.2%
- Total tax collections in this year are projected at sh9.577 trillion up from 8.031 trillion in financial year 2013/14
- Total Government expenditure is estimated at sh13. 988 trillion compared to sh11.456 trillion in financial year 2013/14
3.40pm Compare and contrast
As the minister goes on with his delivery, have a look at this . . .
3.35pm Agriculture: Going forward . . .
Kasaija: "Uganda's economy is projected to grow by 5.3% in real terms this fiscal year."
The deep-voice minister adds that growth in the sectors of agriculture, forestry and fishing combined is projected at 2.3%.
3.30pm Investing in infrastructure
Addressing an attentive audience and with the aid of graphical representations on a large screen, Minister Kasaija says that growth in the last one year has been a result of an increase in public infrastructure investment especially in energy and roads.
He goes on to report that social services have also expanded significantly, particularly in the service sectors of education and health.
The theme of the 2015/16 budget is: "Maintaining Infrastructure Investment and Promoting Excellence in Public Service Delivery"
3.25pm Finance minister reads budget
3.20pm 'UN has supported us'
While launching the second United Nations Development Assistance Framework, President Museveni sounds his praise for the United Nations for the support they have given Uganda "even when we are killing ourselves for no good reason."
3.15pm Museveni launches NDPII
Uganda's President launches the new five-year National Development Plan (NDPII) and the second United Nations Development Assistance Framework 2015/16 - 2019/20 amid thunderous applause from the audience.
3.10pm Next five years
Earlier, I told you that President Museveni will launch the new five-year National Development Plan (NDPII) today shortly before Minister Kasaija presents his maiden the national budget. Speaking shortly after Speaker Kadaga's proclamation, the minister said: "The plan of the National Development PlanII is to attain and sustain a middle-income status for the country in the next five years".
Any moment from now, President will launch the NDPII and the UN Development Plan . . .
3.05pm Positives . . .
Minister Kasaija's maiden budget has a number of positives. To begin with, a huge chunk of the money will be allocated to the key sectors of works and transport (sh3.2 trillion) and energy (sh2.7 trillion). This is up from the sh2.4 trillion and sh1.8 trillion allocated to the two sectors in the previous financial year respectively.
Also, the service sectors of education (sh2 trillion), defence (sh1.5 trillion) and health (sh1.2 trillion) will also receive a significantly good share of the budget.
In the financial year ending, education was given sh1.9 trillion. Also, sh5 billion was given towards supporting teacher's SACCOs which was in addition to the sh2.5 billion provided during the previous year. In FY 2014/15, sh1.27 trillion was proposed for the health sector.
3.00pm . . . and concerns
With the above-mentioned positives in the new budget come concerns as well. Most of the worry is to do with the financing of the approximately sh24 trillion budget and its implications. The financial year ending had a budget of sh15.5 trillion.
There are concerns that the locally generated revenues collected by the Uganda Revenue Authority (sh11 trillion) will only be able to finance less than half (45%) of Minister Kasaija's entire budget. That means Uganda must borrow more to finance the remaining 55%.
2.55pm Proclamation by the Speaker of Parliament
We are inside the Victoria Hall now and the room is compact. The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga declares Serena today's Parliament.
Silence in the room as everyone listens attentively. It's only the start people, it's going to be a long afternoon here. So grab yourself an orange, a bottle of something and settle into the proceedings.
We should hear from the Minister Kasaija any time from now . . .
Join the conversation
David Mugabe: We need innovation in new tax revenue, not new ways of taxing old players.
Robert Kabushenga: I am hoping we can have big investment in infrastructure. This can inject momentum in the economy.
Mwine: when you know that beer is only 10% of all alcohol consumed in Uganda, you know that the tax on beer is just too bad.
Keep up with the discussion using the hashtag #UgBudget15.
2.40pm Getting set
The parade is done and now everyone is making their way inside Victoria Hall. We should be under way in a couple of minutes.
2.35pm Keeping up the momentum
Right from the start, the theme of this financial year ending has been "Maintaining the Momentum: Infrastructure for Growth and Socio-Economic Transformation". Today, we expect to hear whether or not we have kept the foot on the gas pedal. The task ahead was to focus on implementing key development priorities over the year, and also to continue to bridge the infrastructure gap. And all this while promoting economic productivity and diversification for better job creation.
2.30pm What's our growth like?
Previously, the estimated growth came up short of the projected 6.2% for the 2013/14 financial year. So a 6.1% real GDP growth was projected for the current fiscal year (2014/15), with agribusiness being depended on as the major driver of growth. Has our economy grown by that much? The minister will let us know.
You might also want to note that government's medium term objective is to restore real GDP growth to 7% per annum.
2.24pm Anthems under way
The Speaker of Pariament Rebecca Kadaga makes her way to the venue moments before the entry of President Yoweri Museveni who cuts a sharp look in a dark suit and, I know you expect this, his grey hat. Alongside him is the First Lady, Janet Museveni.
There is no wastage of time as the Uganda national anthem and the East African anthems are sang. Everyone attention. The Police band, white at the top and dark at the bottom, are our piper providing the sweet tune.
2.22pm President Museveni arrives
2.20pm An East African affair
But Minister Kasaija won't be the only one stealing the show today . . . regionally speaking, that is. The other East African states will also hear their budgets read for the coming fiscal year.
According to New Times of Rwanda, the country's finance minister, Claver Gatete, is set to announce a Rwf1.768 trillion budget for 2015/16.
Meanwhile, Kenya's Cabinet secretary for National Treasury, Henry Rotich, will present the country's budget for financial year 2015/16. His is expected to be 2.1 trillion Kenyan shillings.
Tanzania's finance minister, Saada Mkuya, will also present her budget, expected to come up with concrete measures to deal with all issues that push the cost of living up.
2.10pm Finance minister Matia Kasaija arrives
The man in today's spotlight has arrived at Serena Conference Centre. He has got a lot of standing and reading to do today.
2.09pm Security threat?
More on the issue of poverty . . .
The Chief of Defence Forces, General Katumba Wamala recently said that poverty is a security threat.
2.05pm Victoria Hall filling up
Among the notable arrivals include: Deputy Chief of Defence Forces and UPDF MP Gen. Charles Angina. Chief Justice Bart Katureebe. Vice President Edward Ssekandi. Police chief Gen. Kale Kayihura.
Join the conversation
true FrankFayo: Hoping for a special look into youth entrepreneurship, boosting innovation & technology
Simon Kaheru: Budget 2015/16 will fast-track devt of airport in Kabale, Hoima, to ease transport of equipment and workers to oil refinery site from construction
Kemigisa Jacky: If you look at the Budget Framework paper, there is no projection for commercial borrowing in final document
Join the discussion using the hashtag #UgBudget15. Get tweeting!
1.55pm Getting richer . . . or becoming less poor
Last year, we learnt that the proportion of Ugandans living below the poverty line had declined from 24% in 2009 to 19.7% in 2012/13. The then minister of finance, Maria Kiwanuka said it was an indication that Uganda had surpassed the first and "most important" Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of halving the proportion of Ugandans living in extreme poverty by 2015.
So with that in mind, how do you think we have since faired in this area? Are Ugandans steadily breaking loose from the shackles of poverty?
1.50pm More arrivals at Serena
The Police guard of honour. Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda has arrived, as have many of the Members of Parliament. Remember all this is happening at the Serena Conference Centre on a hot Thursday afternoon here in Kampala.
1.45pm More females
A lot has happened in the country in the last one year. And when I say ‘a lot', I mean things to do with the general population. To better plan for its citizens, the Ugandan government conducted a nationwide population and housing census in the second half of last year. The Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBoS) was allocated sh40bn in the 2014/15 budget for this exercise.
When the provisional results were announced later on, they indicated that Uganda's population had grown from 24, 227,297 million in 2002 up to 34,856,813 million in 2014. The findings also indicated that there are one million more females than males in the country.
1.40pm Already here!
Uganda Media Centre executive director Ofwono Opondo tweeted this a little while ago: Guests, including judges, permanent secretaries and diplomats are already seated inside Victoria Hall at the Serena Conference Centre.
Join the conversation
So are you as optimistic as some experts are about where Uganda's economy is headed? Or do you have concerns? What do think about the new budget for the financial year 2015/16? Join the discussion using the hashtag #UgBudget15. Get tweeting!
You can also post your comment on the New Vision Facebook page.
1.27pm Optimism v skepticism
Inside the Business section of today's New Vision newspaper, as you would expect, the spotlight is on the budget. One of the pages provides views from experts.
You can read details of this, and a lot more, using the e-paper option.
1.25pm What the pages say
Today's New Vision newspaper leads with President Museveni naming a nine-member teamto draft the party manifesto for the 2016presidential elections. So, what exactly is a manifesto, you might be wondering?
Here you go: A manifesto is a pledge by a party to the electorate on a number of issues ranging from economic policies, governance, constitutionalism and security.
1.15pm Planning things out
When you woke up this morning ready to plunge yourself into this (lovely) day, did you have a personal plan in mind? Did you have yourself a blueprint-of-sorts drawn out along which your day should shape up? Or is it just about as spontaneous as it can get on your part?
Well, whatever works better for you, planning seems to be the way to go for many people. Agree?
And planning doesn't just stop at the individual level. It can be a much broader process as well, say, at a national level. 2015 has been the 5th and final year of implementation of the first phase of Uganda's National Development Plan (FY 2010/11 to 2014/15). The new five-year plan (NDPII) will be launched by President Museveni later today shortly before Minister Kasaija presents his maiden the national budget. The UN Development Plan is due to be launched today as well.
The NDPII, due to be implemented in the new financial year starting July, seeks to propel Uganda to middle-income status by the year 2020.
So which sectors do you think will enjoy the lion's share of public investments in the coming five years? And how much will key projects in those sectors require in that period of time? Have a look at earlier projections by the National Planning Authority (NPA) here.
1.10pm All eyes on one man
It is 364 days today since a sh15.5 trillion 2014/15 national budget was read, and yet again, we are back at it and one man will soak up most of the attention today.
With all eyes on him, the newly-appointed minister of finance, planning and economic development Matia Kasaija will deliver his maiden budget today. It will be an approximately sh24 trillion budget for the financial year 2015/16.
This, he will do, in accordance with Article 155(1) of the Ugandan constitution and by the powers delegated to him by the President. The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga will preside over the proceedings that will be attended by President Yoweri Museveni, his cabinet members, MPs, business leaders and representatives of donors.
The budget reading will take place at Serena Conference Centre at 2.00pm.
1.00pm Busy June!
Hello, good afternoon and welcome along to live text commentary of this afternoon's national budget reading in Kampala. It has been a busy June, with a lot happening - nationally speaking - in only under two weeks.
First, thousands of Christians made their annual pilgrimage to Namugongo to celebrate Uganda Martyrs' Day earlier on June 3.
The following day, on June 4, President Yoweri Museveni delivered his annual State of the Nation speech in Kampala.
Then, only two days ago, June 9, Uganda marked Heroes' Day in Kiboga district. Here, AIGP Andrew Kaweesi is pictured receiving a medal from President Museveni.
Well, today is also another big day for Uganda, so let's jump right in good people!
Budget reading: As it happened