Policy experts believe that the national budget will be meaningless unless it addresses the current economic situation. ( We require a budget that is both optimistic and frugal – experts )
Nine out of ten random Ugandans polled ahead of today’s Budget Speech said they only care about how to survive, while another eight out of ten said they only need hope to live.
Will today’s Budget Speech address the aforementioned concerns, or will it confirm the critics’ fears that this calendar event is merely a pointless “ritual”?
Although Parliament has concluded the budget matter before the Budget Speech is read, consumers should not be left helpless and hopeless.
“Consumers expect to hear about policy measures aimed at taming runaway inflation and, more broadly, addressing the cost-of-living crisis that continues to afflict consumer welfare with each passing day,” said Mr Shaban Sserunkuma, an activist, when reached yesterday.
“We would have expected to see robust fiscal policy interventions as transient interventions targeted at specific goods and services to address market distortions caused by the current crisis.” “However, government planners have dismissed any suggestion related to tax cuts, despite the fact that a number of countries have walked down that path,” he added.
With the Covid-19 pandemic’s two-year toll on the economy and livelihoods, budget and policy experts say it’s difficult not to be concerned about the short-, medium-, and long-term future, especially if the national budget does little or nothing to address the root cause of the current economic hardship.
“I expect the budget speech to be about strategy for dealing with the effects of Covid-19, which are still preventing the economy from performing at its best.” I also expect the budget speech to address the global price surge, which, combined with the effects of the pandemic, makes our economy look bleak even in the medium term,” said Mr Patrick Kiconco Katabaazi, executive director of the Centre for Budget and Tax Policy, yesterday.
“The budget speech should clearly provide alternatives to products that are causing imported inflation, as well as what quality assurances are in place so far,” he added. Importantly, we need to see investment in import substitution strategies as well as support for those who are investing in alternatives.”
According to Dr Madina Guloba, a senior research fellow at the Economic Policy Research Centre, the budget reading has lost meaning over time because it no longer resonates with the population as it did many years ago.
Other analysts, however, believe that today’s speech provides an opportunity for the government to address issues related to this point.
“The issue of the Covid-19 pandemic is still very much present.” Commodity price increases are still prevalent. And these are things that have a direct impact on people’s pockets, and I hope they are clearly addressed in the budget speech, particularly by laying out plans to deal with them in the short, medium, and long term,” Dr Guloba said.
“The budget could focus a lot on infrastructure, which is fine, but at this point, it is not the discussion people are paying attention to,” she added. People must know how they will survive another day. So, I’d rather hear a budget speech that inspires hope and optimism. People appear to have lost faith in the budget, and the Budget Speech, which does not lend itself to austerity, should take precedence at this point. For example, why are officials at any level or branch of government purchasing large fuel-guzzling vehicles now? These are some of the factors that make budget speeches obsolete.”
Mr Julius Mukunda, executive director of the Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group, stated that the Budget Speech should demonstrate how the government intends to stop leakages in the public expenditure system.
This, he claims, is manifested by poor resource management, delayed projects, a lack of commitments to absorb funds cleared for service delivery, and corruption.
“If these are not addressed, we will continue to lament rather than move forward because it will be extremely difficult to complete things within the specified time and budget,” Mr Mukunda said.
According to Mr. John Walugembe, executive director of Federation Small and Medium-sized Enterprise, the speech should focus on lowering inflation, which has since surpassed the 5% cap. ( We require a budget that is both optimistic and frugal – experts – celebrity jazz ug )