SEATINI Advises Government on how to Unlock Uganda’s Trade Potential:
On 6th June 2021, SEATINI Uganda together with other Partners jointly organized a televised Pre-Budget Dialogue under the theme; Putting the FY 2021/22 Budget into Perspective. This dialogue provided an opportunity for SEATINI Uganda, Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group and other National Budget Month Partners to interrogate the proposed FY 2021/22 Budget and to also explain the same to ordinary citizens.
In his remarks, Patrick Ocailap, the Deputy Secretary to the Treasury noted that over the years, the government has been investing in key sectors of the economy and deliberately taking actions to grow the economy and getting people from the subsistence economy into the money economy.
‘‘In order to sustain the economy amidst the pandemic, the FY2021/22 Budget is aimed at growing the economy through agro-industrialization and equitable growth,’’ Mr. Patrick Ocailap said.
Jane Nalunga, the Executive Director at SEATINI Uganda noted that Uganda can trade its way out of poverty. She later advised that Uganda needs to first of all identify available markets and then work backwards to ascertain the products needed in those specific markets, the requisite standards and quality, quantities and thereafter mobilize producers.
‘‘When it comes to the issue of ensuring standards compliance, there is need to clearly apportion responsibility especially in regards to who does what in ensuring that standards are maintained,’’ Jane Nalunga added.
‘‘These days, farmers do not even know prices of their produce because prices fluctuate every day and night and this is discouraging many out of agriculture,’’ Ms. Jane Nalunga, the Executive Director at SEATINI Uganda said.
She reiterated that government of Uganda needs to put in place a minimum price for agricultural products to act as an incentive for farmers to produce more.
‘‘It is not true that we don’t have money as a country, we do but we have a big problem with choosing our priorities,’’ Mr. Patrick Michael Ayota, the Deputy Managing Director of the National Social Security Fund of Uganda said.
On the other hand, Ramathan Ggoobi, an Economist and Policy Analyst observed that 66% of the economy is in the Greater Kampala and one wonders when the economy will go upcountry. He later called on Uganda Development Cooperation (UDC) as the investment arm of government to take on the mantle to invest in areas where the private sector is not comfortable to invest in.
Ms. Sarah Muzungyo Chelangat, an Associate Director, Tax at Ernst and Young Uganda stressed that we must all pay our fair share of taxes for Uganda to achieve its development aspirations.