Politicians’ Unattainable Promises Affect Budget – Csos
By Nelson Kiva
Politicians have been warned against making unattainable pronouncements in the run-up to 2021 general elections. Juliet Akello, a budget policy specialist, said the pronouncements not only undermine the credibility of Government, but also prevent proper planning.
Akello, who is also attached to the Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG), told a 2020/2021 pre-budget dialogue in Kampala yesterday that technical people at both national and local government level find it hard to prepare budgets because of the unattainable promises politicians make to voters. “During elections period, politicians tend to interfere with the technical planning and implementation of the public investment. They make pronouncements on projects where they cannot deliver and that are difficult for the technical wing to implement,” she said.
Akello said: “What is disturbing is the fact that many times politicians do not consult the technical people before they make such pronouncements to at least allow the possibility of speaking the same language.” The dialogue was among others organised by Food Rights Alliance Strengthening Africa in World Trade CSBAG, Uganda National NGO Forum and ACODE. Under the theme 2020/2021 strategies for public investment and inclusive growth, the participants examined their attainability and sustainability.
The Government was asked in its process of developing National Development Plan III and 2021/2021 budget, to think about addressing the issue of high power tariffs saying this undermines investment. Stephene Mukitale, the Buliisa County Mg said the Government has made a lot of investment into ensuring power availability and transmission, but work remained on bringing the costs down so as to attract more investment.
However, Jane Nalunga, the country director of Southern and East African Trade Information and Negotiations Institute, said public investment is faced with challenges in terms of prioritisation and management. She said many resources were being lost through leakages, such as corruption Julius Mukunda, the executive director of CSBAG, said Government’s prioritising of infrastructure more, especially oil roads was good, however, the question was on accountability and performance. “Much of the public infrastructure investment taking place is based on borrowed resources and the burden of paying back will fall on the citizens,” he said. Dr Asuman Golooba from the National Planning Authority, said most of the issues raised have been addressed by NDP III which was developed out of a consultative process.