Over time, we have heard President Museveni saying “Uganda is on a move to fully finance her national budget”.
From the available National Budget Framework Paper (NBFP) for financial year 2018/19, this dream seems still far from realization. The report points out different sources in which the government intends to get financial resources for the financial year 2018/19.
They include private and external borrowing. It should be noted that the country is currently faced with many socioeconomic challenges stretching from salary strikes by civil and some private sector workers, drought in many parts of the country, unaccounted-for killings, and increased poverty levels.
The NBFP stipulates that the government will run a budget of about Shs 29.274 trillion, of which only Shs 12.744 trillion (43.5%) will be available for service delivery – excluding budget and project support, debt repayments and domestic financing. It is projected that about Shs 5.2 trillion is going to be sourced from external lenders.
Painfully, non-concessional loans will take the largest share of about 52.64 % of the total loans. Notwithstanding this, the government intends to borrow about Shs 940 billion domestically.
Even though the government has always defended Uganda’s debt as sustainable, the distress from debt is currently felt by all Ugandans.
For instance, in the same NBFP for the next year, interest rate payment to local and external loans obligation is projected to be Shs 2.7 trillion, which is about 9.3% of the entire budget. In fact, interest rate payments on loans for the coming financial year will be the second most prioritized area for the government after transport and works.
Different annual auditor general’s reports for years have highlighted a number of anomalies in utilization of borrowed funds. These include unspent funds, procurement-related delays, and compensation challenges.
In fact, according to the 2017 auditor general’s report, the people of northern Uganda missed the construction of Ajeleck, Opot and Ojanal bridges due to improper management of the project by the concerned officials, which resulted into the returning of unspent Shs 6bn to Islamic Development Bank (IDB).
In the coming financial year, government ought to reconsider all processes in which funds are sourced, critically scrutinize the terms attached to loans and, above all, consider which projects are viable to be financed by borrowed funds.
There is also a need to trim down excessive expenditures by the government as pointed out by the auditor general and Internal Security Organization (ISO) reports last year.
Uganda Debt Network.
Avoid trusting rogue groups with our security
For long, a number of groups and individuals have come up to help the Uganda Police in curbing crime; some have done a good job while others are just worsening the situation.
Boda Boda 2010 is one of those groups that have not helped. Last year, during the vigil of Assistant Inspector General of Police Andrew Felix Kaweesi, President Museveni said the police had been infiltrated by criminals who need to be weeded out.
Since then, we have seen action being taken on a number of people we thought were untouchable due to their strong connections to senior police officers.
These include Senior Commissioner of Police Joel Aguma, Senior Superintendent of Police Nixon Asingwire and Abdullah Kitatta, leader of Boda Boda 2010. Many people are happy with Kitatta’s arrest and hope his entire gang will be brought to justice for the different crimes they have been involved in.
It is good for the security agencies to work with members of the public but there should be regulation on how much power these groups have.
In addition, the public should not be surprised that the army is doing work meant to be done by the police. Instead, let us all appreciate the fact that these bodies are working together to curb crime in the city and the country at large.
Pay law lecturers
Last week, I returned to Makerere University for the new semester only to be greeted by an unpleasant notice at my school (law).
It indicated that following the school of law’s board meeting, teaching on the evening program for both undergraduate and graduate students had been suspended until the university management addressed their concerns.
The path if striking is not new. The return of the same leaves me wondering whether the powers that be care about the legitimate concerns of the hardworking men and women.
As an evening student, I pay tuition and it defeats my understanding that the lecturers have to go unpaid for the services they render to me. These lecturers have bills to pay just like any other Ugandan and it is only fair that they get paid for what their labor duly deserves.
If the university is unable to meet the deserving demands of the lecturers, I propose that they gradually phase out the evening program.
Third-year Law student.
How to fix the Police
The Gen Henry Tumukunde versus Gen Kale Kayihura conflict must be separately investigated to find a lasting solution because such illogical misunderstandings are not good for the security and future of the country.
General Kayihura should resign and apologise to the nation for his shortcomings. The president should overhaul the Uganda Police Force top management.
All police officers who have served for over 20 years should also be laid off in public interest for complacency. The mafia gang of the likes of Nixon Agasirwe must be purged from the force.
Put a commission on police activities
It is almost two decades since the Justice Julia Ssebutinde commission of inquiry into the management of the Uganda Police Force. I believe it is high time we created another one.
I am sure such a commission will open up a can of worms into dealings in the force. It will give chance to insiders too (the solidarity ring of the disadvantaged) to write and testify in camera about the secret dealings in the force.
We will find out why most district police commanders come from a specific part of the country. We will know why senior and well-trainedpolice officers are doing no role in the force.
Some of these things came up in the Equal Opportunities Commission report which I believe has even reached parliament but is not being discussed.
Dr Gerald Wanzala Werikhe,