Four years since the government took a shift from the output based to programme-based budgeting, the Opposition in Parliament is proposing a new approach which they believe will best address the needs of ordinary Ugandans.
Speaking at the opening of a 2-day capacity building workshop for Opposition MPs on the proposed alternative budget priorities for the coming financial year, the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament (LOP), Hon Mathias Mpuuga, poked holes in the programme-based approach to budgeting whose implementation, he said, had failed due to the lack of a monitoring and evaluation framework.
“The communication between NDP III [3rd National Development Plan] and the programme-based approach is at cross purpose; they are not moving in the same direction,” Mpuuga said, adding, “I have previously spoken about the troublesome nature of programme-based approach, it is not properly implemented, it is lacking in terms of evaluation – it is hollow, you can’t evaluate it to determine how far you have gone.”
The transition from output-based budgeting to program-based budgeting started in 2013 as the government moved to improve the link between budgeting and national strategic objectives.
“There are various approaches to budgeting, and we as the Opposition have come up with our approach we have dubbed, the Huan Rights approach which is not a pipedream,” Mpuuga said.
The new approach is premised on Chapter 4 of the Constitution of Uganda which places upon the government the duty of respecting and protecting the rights of all the citizens.
“Generating revenue, allocating and spending all have a bearing on Human Rights and must be given careful thoughts before final decisions,” noted the Shadow Minister for Defence and Veteran Affairs, Hon Jonathan Odur, in a presentation about the new proposal.
Odur said that the obligations of the government as spelt out in the bill of rights and the various international protocols and covenants must be reflected obligations must be reflected in the national budget “in specific terms.”
This, he said, can be achieved through a reduction in the inequalities and inequities, and the development of policies that increase the enjoyment of fundamental human rights.
The human rights-based approach to budgeting was adopted by the Shadow cabinet at a recent retreat in Entebbe.
Mpuuga explained that much as his cabinet decided to migrate from the traditional way of approach of responding to government proposals, the critique will be offered differently.
“Our budget alternatives represent the opposition’s view of how the national resource envelope should be distributed and utilized. We contend that the government’s priorities are wrong and deficient. We believe we can do better,” he said.