Winners and losers in 2017/18 Budget

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The government has increased budgetary allocations to several sectors with the Science and Technology sector having its budget raised fivefold and Information and Communication Technology having its kitty doubled, although they don’t take the lion’s share of the 2017/18 Budget.

The government has also increased allocations to Works and Transport, Health, Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, the Justice, Law and Order, and Education sectors.

The other sectors that also had their budgets raised are Public Sector Management, Public Administration, Trade, Industry and Tourism.

The Background to the Budget Fiscal Year 2017/18 indicates that Works and Transport ministry will have Shs4.5 trillion to spend; up from Shs3.8 trillion whereas the Justice, Law and Order sector budget has been raised from Shs1.103 trillion to Shs1.119 trillion.

Whereas the government released Shs2.4 trillion to the Education ministry last year, its allocation has now been increased to Shs2.5 trillion.

The fivefold budget-winning Science and Technology Sector will now get Shs71.9 billion, an increase from Shs14.2 billion it got in the 2016/17 fiscal year while the double winner Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is to get Shs104.3 billion up from Shs55.3 billion it received in the previous financial year.

Public sector management will receive Shs1.4 trillion, up from Shs1.2 trillion.

The allocation to the Legislature’s has been increased from Shs470 billion to Shs483 billion whereas the allocation to Trade, Tourism and Industry ministry has been increased from Shs89.6 billion to Shs116 billion.

However, the explanations for the budgetary increments are as varied as the sectors.

For the Works and Transport sector, the increment is meant to complete the ongoing road projects as well as kick-start and complete road sector projects in oil-rich Albertine region.

The increment for the Health ministry is, among other reasons, meant to enhance maternal, newborn and child health in order to reduce the number of deaths.

The reasons for the boost in allocation to public sector management could not readily be established, but the enhanced budget for Agriculture is attributable to the need to increase productivity to ensure food security.

It is also to facilitate government’s plan to mechanise agriculture, provide inputs such as seedlings and appropriate technologies and storage centres.

As for ICT, the increase can be ascribed to the government’s efforts in extending the National Backbone Infrastructure from central and eastern Uganda to the northeast.

According to Background to the Budget, the allocation to the Security sector will drop from Shs1.5 trillion to Shs1.4 trillion, for Health from Shs1.827 trillion to Shs1.823 trillion, and that for Water and Environment from Shs689 billion to Shs632 billion.

Similarly, the allocation to the Energy and Mineral Development sector will be reduced from Shs2.377 trillion to Shs2.319 trillion.

Ugandans will have to part with Shs2.6 trillion, up from Shs2 trillion, to pay interest on loans the government has taken over the years.
On tax policies, the winners include animal feeds and pre-mixes dealers, crop extension services, irrigation equipment, solar batteries, and menstrual caps, which government has exempted from the Value Added Tax (VAT).

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