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Opposition to Draft Alternative Budget

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Mathias Mpuuga, the Leader of Opposition has directed his ministers to study the government proposed budget and draft an alternative one.

The FY2023/24 National Budget Framework Papper presented by Finance Minister Matia Kasaija last week, indicated that government has increased the budget to Shs49.9tn, from th Shs48.7tn of FY2022/23

Mpuuga said that drafting the alternative budget is one of the ways of  adopting a new approach the national budget moving away from the old practice of responding to the government’s propositions to developing a completely different alternative national budget, the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament (LOP) Mathias Mpuuga has announced.

Addressing members of the Shadow Cabinet at the opening of a 3-day retreat at Imperial Golf View Hotel in Entebbe, Mpuuga explained that the new approach  is in line with their mandate to keep the government in check.

“It is our duty to deeply study the prepositions of the government and put some level of imagination and produce alternatives. The mandate is to produce alternatives but not to support, not to clarify and not in any way recommend or patch up government policies,” Mpuuga said.

“We are not supposed to clean up their mess… our job is to offer citizens a cleaner and better alternative,” he added.

This new approach, Mpuuga said, was conceived after realising that the government mostly presents to Parliament recycled budget proposals.

“We remember the embarrassment Parliament suffered last Financial Year when ministers presented the same documents from the previous year with the only change being the financial year. The rest was the same including the preamble,” Mpuuga said.

“In other jurisdictions, that would be a scandal of great magnitude but because we have allowed to be used to shame, they got away with this murder of sorts,” he added.

He invited his ministers to appreciate their oversight role under the new programme based planning and budgeting which was developed under the 3rd National Development Programme (NDP III).

During the retreat, the Shadow Cabinet is going to generate priorities for the next financial year which will form the Opposition’s proposals in the alternative national budget to be unveiled to the country in April. 

On Sunday Civil Society organisations raised some red flags in the proposed budget, including reducing the budgets for key sectors that provide services directly to local people.

CSOs said the FY2023/24 NBFP coms at atime when the country is faced with challenges like; high inflation which currently stand at 10.2% and increasing public debt which is projected to reach 53% of the GDP by June 2023.

Mariam Akiror, the Advocacy and Communication Coodinator at Action Against Hunger decried the budget cuts in the sector, yet the food insecurity is increasing.

Read also: Food Insecurity: Action Against Hunger Decry Budget Cuts  

“We re concerned by the proposed budget cuts to the entities within the program that are critical to facilitate food production ad productivity,” she said.

Members of CSOs speaking to reporters on Sunday

These among others she said Include for example the UNBS budget will be cut from Shs1.1Bn in FY2022/23 to Sh940m, the local government from Shs245Bn to Shs120B.

“To have a direct food secure population, government must direct strategic investiments to water for production, finalise the National Irrigation Master Plan and support interventions geared towards securing land ownership,” she said.

Other red lines according to the CSOs Include among others; low prioritization of the lower secondary school curriculum, unstructured investiments for women’s economic empowerment, non-adherance to national Climate Change Act, non functionality of medical equipment in health facilities in health centres among others.

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