Government is reluctant to introduce new tax measures as the economy is still recovering from COVID-19.
With COVID-19, which swept the economy down to a growth rate of three per cent, government is hoping to get to pre-pandemic levels of six per cent per annum in Financial Year 2022/23.
President Yoweri Museveni, through finance minister Matia Kasaija, last week tabled the proposed budget estimates for Financial Year 2022/23 at Shs47.2 trillion, Shs28.6 trillion of which will be appropriated to different Ministries, Agencies and Departments of government, while the remainder will cater for statutory expenditures, including debt payment.
Finance State Minister for General Duties, Hon. Henry Musasizi, while presenting a statement on the budget, equally expressed concern that borrowing in the financial year will not exceed 53.9 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as provided in the Charter of Fiscal Responsibility.
Government, said Musasizi, is reluctant to introduce new tax measures as the economy is still recovering from COVID-19.
“…as we deliberate on the budget for next year, I request this Committee of Budget to take into consideration the economic environment in which this budget has been prepared, that is…inability to impose new taxes or raise the existing taxes due to the need for the economy to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic impact,” he said.
Musasizi also spoke against supplementary expenditures, which he said derail the budget.
“…[we should show] commitment to end the fiscal indiscipline of supplementary budgets, beginning next FY 20221/2023 by limiting them to three per cent of the total approved budget as provided for in the law,” he said during the plenary sitting on Tuesday, 19 April 2022 chaired by Speaker Anita Among.
Governance and security is expected to take away Shs7.2 trillion, integrated transport and infrastructure services is poised to cash Shs4.1 trillion while sustainable energy development will take Shs1.4 trillion.
Agro-industrialisation will take Shs1.1 trillion while legislation, appropriation and oversight [Parliamentary Commission] will take Shs676 billion.
Domestic arrears is proposed to take Shs495 billion, external debt repayment Shs2.4 trillion, interest payments Shs5.9 trillion while domestic refinancing will scoop Shs8 trillion, subject to approval by Parliament.
But Shadow Minister for Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Hon. Muhammad Kivumbi, said the budget estimates laid are in violation of the law, asking the minister to prepare explanations when the matter comes up for discussion.
“There are inconsistencies, about four of them, which the minister [Hon Musasizi] needs to address…the laid budget estimates which are inconsistent with the Charter for Fiscal Responsibility and the National Budget Framework Paper which violates section 13 (b) of the Public Finance Management Act,” said Kivumbi.