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Budget Reading: Economy resilient, in steady recovery – Kasaija

Budget Reading: Economy resilient, in steady recovery – Kasaija

The Minister of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development, Hon. Matia Kasaija, has reiterated that the country’s economy grew by 5.5 per cent in the current financial year surpassing the 2021/2022 growth rate.

Kasaija who presented the 2023/2024 Budget at a sitting of Parliament presided over by Speaker Anita Among on Thursday, 15 June 2023 at the Kololo Ceremonial Grounds, said that the economy reached Shs184.3 trillion compared to Shs162.9 trillion last year.

The minister stated that despite initial challenges, the services sector experienced a growth rate of 6.2 per cent while Agriculture grew by five per cent.

He added that the industries saw a growth of 3.9 per cent, driven by manufacturing and construction activities, particularly in the oil and gas sector.

Regarding inflation, Kasaija highlighted a steady reduction due to coordinated fiscal and monetary policies. He stated that inflation decreased from as the government implemented measures to combat inflation, including an increase in the interest rate to 10 per cent, resulting in a slight rise in commercial bank lending rates.

To support the private sector, government reduced domestic borrowing and provided affordable capital through initiatives like the Uganda Development Bank, Emyooga, the Agricultural Credit Facility, and the Small Business Recovery Fund, totaling Shs 2.77 trillion.

Kasaija said that Uganda’s exports of merchandise goods increased to US$ 4.2 billion driven by export of gold, coffee, fish, sugar, beans, maize, and light manufactured products. Kasaija also announced a US$200 million investment secured from the World Bank to support Small and Medium Enterprises in the manufacturing and export sectors.

According to Kasaija, next year, Wi-Fi will be deployed to 820 locations, targeting schools, hospitals, markets in the selected sub-regions.

“The Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area network will be upgraded to monitor service provision over the national backbone infrastructure. We will also digitally transform public service delivery by connecting all essential services, such as schools, hospitals, tourism sites, and the police to the national backbone,” he said.

In terms of healthcare, Kasaija highlighted government’s efforts to upgrade health facilities and build new ones.

An allocation of Shs22.6 billion has provided to clear outstanding arrears for medical interns and senior house officers.

“Government will in the next few weeks resolve the plight of medical interns and doctors designated as Senior House Officers in view of their important role in supporting the healthcare system,” Kasaija said.

Kasaija addressed tax administration, regional integration, and public debt, emphasising cooperation among tax authorities, modifying taxes on goods imported from outside the East African Community, and maintaining debt sustainability.

The total budget for the Financial Year 2023/2024 amounts to Shs52.7 trillion.

President Yoweri Museveni, later made remarks via video conferencing service, Zoom, from State House.

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