The Defence and security sector is expected to take another sizeable chunk of the 2013/2014 budgetary allocations when Finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka reads her third budget today.
The army budget will now increase to over one trillion shillings in the financial year 2013/14. The sector according the budget framework paper will receive an additional funding of over 100 billion Shillings onto the 945 billion shillings provided for the 2012/2013 budget.
The allocation comes at the time when the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) is not engaged in any internal insurgency. Government continues to say the money will be used to facilitate professionalization of the army and other security organisations, and consolidation of peace, defense and security.
The new Chief of Defence Forces, General Katumba Wamala recently said his priorities will be on ensuring professional standards in the army as well as improving the welfare of officers and men in the uniform. The army also plans to engage in the promotion of defence and diplomacy to end conflicts internally and in the region.
Civil society groups and other donor countries have in the past criticized the government’s increasing allocations to the Defence sector.
Kiwanuka’s budget will this time around also focus on finding alternative modes of transport to the sea in order to decrease the burden on the roads. The budget will have sizeable allocation to the water transport subsector with improvement of inland water facilities through provision of ferry and construction of landing sites.
Private Sector Foundation has over the last four years been urging government to revamp the water transport system on Lake Victoria as well as the railway system. The dilapidated railway sub-sector could face some facelift with planned rehabilitation of Tororo- Packwach and Kampala-Kasese lines.
The road will continue to be one of Kiwanuka’s key priorities. The main projects to be financed during this financial year include the northern transport corridor, Kampala-Entebbe Expressway, rehabilitation of Kampala city roads, the Hoima-Kaiso-Tonya road, bridge construction including the second Jinja Nile Bridge and the rehabilitation of District Roads.
Kiwanuka under the Budget Framework says emphasis will also be placed on strengthening contract management to improve absorption of the money allocated for road works. Some of the roads ear-marked for construction have appeared in the last budgets but have not been worked on. Works State minster John Byabagambi in an interview said some of the works have delayed due to procurement procedures.
Minister Kiwanuka is to present the 2013/2014 budget to Parliament at Serena Hotel in Kampala this afternoon.