By UTN Reporter
Kampala - Civil Society Organizations under the Budget advocacy group have called for increased funding for the Ministry of Trade, Industry and cooperatives if the country will make significant strides towards achieving the middle income status in four years.
This follows a budgetary cut to the ministry for the financial year 2017/18 from shs. 108 billion in 2016/17 to a meager Shs 94.39 billion for the financial year 2017/18.
The Ministry of Finance allocated only 0.4% of the National Budget to the ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives in the forthcoming budget for the financial year 2017/18.
Jane Nalunga of Seatin-Uganda says the ministry has many important arms that aid production, but are all underfunded to carry out their mandates. She singles out the Uganda National Bureau of Standards that regulates the standards of the products produced in the country. She says the bureau is so weak due to limited funding that it cannot reach out to several industries and other production vessels. Byte – Jane Nalunga
Nalunga also says the Uganda Industrial Research Institute that carries out research on Industrialization also receives meager funding to do research on the sector.
She says all these arms are responsible for production in the country that would create employment and sustainable income for the youths. Nalunga says the Uganda Export Promotion Board under the same ministry deserves to be fairly funded if exports would make significant economic impact. Byte – Jane Nalunga
She says the exports from Uganda have dwindled due to high competition, yet the board cannot promote the products on the international market. Agnes Kirabo of the food rights network says the ministry of finance planning and economic development needs to adopt an approach that would promote people focused budgeting, that would address service provision.
Kirabo says on several occasions the national budget has not responded to the economic needs of the people Byte-Agnes Kirabo
She says the quality of the agricultural products is poor, as a result of poor funding. She raps Government for giving a tax exemption to imported rice from Pakistan, saying it would solve the consumption needs, but would in turn hurt the local rice farmers in the country.
Government instituted the tax exemption in the next financial year 2017/18 to lower the price of rice on the local market. The exemption will run for at least one year.