Business

BUDGET: Ugandans List Priorities

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this http://craigpatchett.com/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-ms-themes-list-table.php geneva; font-size: small;”>Jane Namukasa who deals in airtime in Kampala stressed the need for government to reduce tax levied on airtime and phone calls “because many businesses depend on telecommunication to survive.”

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ambulance geneva;”>“Many people buy airtime to make calls to their clients while others use airtime to call their customers and also make orders and so reducing on the tax would ease and facilitate their business,’’ said Namukasa.

AGRICULTURE

In an interview with fruit sellers at Nakasero Market in Kampala, it was discovered that traders in agricultural products expect an improvement and allocation of more funds to the transport sector.

Abdul Busingye, a vendor at the market, told Chimpreports: “Government should reconstruct all bad roads and also renovate and restore the railway lines so that goods are easily and cheaply moved to the markets.”

The mango and orange dealer further observed that due to poor roads, goods like fruits go bad hence bringing losses to the traders.

“Government has to allocate more funds to the agricultural sector because it employs majority Ugandans in the rural areas who supply food to the urban centers,’’ said Margaret Adong, a house wife in Mengo, Kampala.

She further noted that government should improve programs like the NAADS and help to provide incentives like free seeds and improved farming methods so that people in the villages are encouraged to engage in agriculture.

“This will encourage people to stay in rural areas to grow more food and develop the rural areas other than coming to the urban centers to look for petty jobs,” said Adong.

According to the 2013/14 budget estimates, the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) is already implementing its Development Strategy and Investment Plan 2010/11-2014/15 (DSIP); whose overall mission is guided by principles that are derived from the country’s experiences, with lessons learned from implementing the PEAP, the PMA, and the Local Government Act.

Minister Kiwanuka says implementation of the first phase of the DSIP is already ongoing and is centered on technology development, agribusiness advisory services and improving the interface between agricultural research and advisory services (extension).

“This is being implemented through the Agricultural Technology and Agribusiness Advisory Services (ATAAS) project.”

The 2013/14 budget plan also aims at increasing incomes of farming households; ensuring household food and nutrition security and creating on-farm and off-farm employment opportunities.

It also intends to promote value-addition to agricultural products, promoting domestic and external trade in agricultural products.

In the medium term, MAAIF aims at pursuing a private sector led and market-oriented economy; agricultural development through a commodity approach; according to the 2004 Zoning Strategy by MAAIF, that divided the country into ten agricultural production zones and providing agricultural development services to all farmer categories as individuals or in groups, while ensuring gender equity.

Kiwanuka maintains the Ministry intends to continue providing agricultural services through the decentralized system of government and also put in place mechanisms to strengthen the delivery of these services.

An interview with the business community showed that they need protection from government in form of reduced licenses charged on them as noted by Tessa Ngarambe, an internet café owner at Prime complex.

She noted that government charges them highly in form of trading licenses yet they earn little. Ngarambe further stressed the need by government to put in place policies on transport and arcades.

“Arcade owners charge us highly for rent on top of increasing it every month yet we have few sales. Government should also put in place a policy to regulate the transport system because we are charged highly by those in the transport sector as they increase the fares each and every day,” noted Tessa.

She therefore called upon government to increase taxes on the luxuries like alcohol, cigarettes and perfumes.

“Government should also improve on the quality of education and health in the country if we are to realize development,’’ noted Lawrence Kawere and Ian Kagera, both students at Mackay College, Nateete.

EDUCATION

The two students stressed that government should overhaul the UPE and USE systems for quality purposes on top of providing the necessary equipment to the schools such as laboratory equipment.

Human Capital development is one of the critical factors that greatly contribute to every country’s productivity, transformation and development.

The Government’s intervention for human capital development should therefore focus on improving access to quality Education, Health and Water and Sanitation.

Under Education, and Training, the overriding objective should be to re-orient the education system to impart the necessary skills, knowledge and aptitudes required to tap the creative abilities of individuals, in order for them to lead a better life and enhance society’s wellbeing.

According to Kiwanuka’s estimates, the budget for the financial year 2013/14 will give priority to improving the quality of teaching and learning by providing adequate infrastructure, further training to teachers, strengthening supervision, and providing incentives for teachers in hard to reach areas.


The estimates show that science and technical education will be promoted through provision of incentives for sciences, mathematics, technical and vocational teachers, supporting science and research development, and encouraging the private sector to support science education.

The government also intends to strengthen the linkages between training and industry by establishing industry and university collaborative programmes to increase opportunities for practical learning and internship.

“To support this objective, education curricula will be reviewed to integrate essential skills development and attitudinal change and include the industrial sector in the curriculum review,” part of the budget framework paper reads in part.

Health

Kagera further said government should provide enough drugs to all the health centers in the country and equip them with nurses and doctors.

He therefore called upon government to increase on the fight against corruption in the health and education sector if development is to be achieved.

Under the health sector, the Government priorities for the financial year will include the improvement of the health infrastructure to bridge the gap in access to health care through further rehabilitation and equipping of Referral Hospitals, Health Centre IVs and IIIs, recruitment, contracting, appraisal and facilitation of critical health care personnel and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the health system through increased joint supervision and monitoring in collaboration with non-Governmental health institutions.

“We shall also pursue the formulation of an appropriate legal and regulatory framework to guide the establishment of the national health insurance scheme, continue with the ongoing campaign on prevention and control of communicable and non-communicable diseases through immunization, awareness campaigns, equipping specialized health units such as Uganda Heart and Cancer facilities,” maintains Kiwanuka.

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