Civil society organizations have raised alarm over the raising public debt which they said is characterized by uncoordinated public expenditure.
As the public debt stock shoots Shs86m, the CSOs including the Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG), Food Rights Alliance (FRA), SEATINI, and Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) said that the government has continued to borrow and invest in less developmental sectors.
“Government last year borrowed Shs4tn and paid salaries and allowances of public servants, this is bad because the debt should be invested in productive sectors,” Mr Julius Mukunda the executive director of the CSBAG said.
Mr. Mukunda expressed concern about the escalating public debt, which has grown from Shs9tn.
Of this, Shs38.1tn is domestic, and Shs48.5tn is external.
Mr. Mukunda also noted that the proportion of domestic revenue going towards servicing debt has exceeded the benchmark of less than 12.5%, crippling the government’s capacity to provide essential services, such as maintaining the state of roads in Kampala and other parts of the country.
He further highlighted the increase in domestic arrears, which have risen from Shs4.65tn in 2021 to Shs7.55tn, in 2022, despite the existence of The Strategy to Clear and Prevent Domestic Arrears in June 2021.
“I call upon the government to enforce fiscal discipline by reprimanding errant accounting officers and allocate sufficient resources in the domestic arrears budget to clear the current stock of domestic arrears,” he said.
The CSOs made these remarks while speaking to journalists about their perspective on the approved budget estimates.
Ms Agnes Kirabo, the executive director of FRA said that the removal of the extension grant at Local Government is a setback to the country’s agro-industrialization agenda.
Mr Moses Onen, the programs manager at PELUM Uganda also warned of the underfunding of the land administrative units at the district level which will lead to increased land wrangles.
Mr. Peter Eceru, a coordinator at the Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD), expressed disappointment that the budget is inadequate in addressing health matters, with a drop in allocation for blood collection, processing, and distribution.