Minister for Finance Matia Kasaija has urged Ugandans to work harder, so that government can collect enough tax revenue from them to help reduce on the country’s debt burden.
Uganda’s debt burden has nearly hit the 50% ceiling of the country’s GDP, and Kasaija said that the only way the government can solve this problem is by collecting enough tax. By the end of the last financial year, the total public debt was $15.27 billion.
Kasaija made these remarks while appearing before the Budget Committee of Parliament on Tuesday.
Tasked to explain how his docket plans to deliver Uganda out of the debt burden, Kasaija said, “Ugandans should work very hard so that government can get enough tax, that is the only way. In having the economy become more productive so that the tax revenue increases, this is the answer.”
The Budget Committee led by Amos Lugoloobi was shocked by the ministry’s plans. Lugoloobi said that so much of the country’s resources are being consumed by debt, and Ugandans needs better reassurance from government.
Asked on the issue of corruption in government, Kasaija shocked the committee further when he said that corruption in Uganda will never end, even if systems to fight it are put in place.
Kasaija said that Ugandans had degenerated so much, and that they had reached a point of no-return.
“It is a struggle because you are not going to clean the society in one day, the systems are there but they are also corrupted. The very person you have sent to catch the thief will join the thief,” Kasaija said.
The budget committee was shocked that the Ministry of Finance had also duplicated activities from other ministries, and allocated them billions of money in its own budget.
Installation of traffic lights and printing zebra crossings, which is a role of Ministry of Works, was allocated Shs 10 billion under the Ministry of Finance budget which left MPs in shock.
The MPs on the budget committee faulted the finance ministry of violating the program based budgeting, which was adopted by government.
MPs were concerned that government spent Shs 25 billions to develop a software for program based budgeting, which was not properly utilised.
Uganda’s provisional total public debt stock, as of October 2020, stands at Shs 63.35 trillion. Government will be refinancing an accumulated domestic debt of about Shs 8.5 trillion that is due in the next financial year.
Uganda’s 2021/22 projected budget is Shs 41.2 trillion.