March 3, 2014

Uganda Spends 9.4% Of GDP On Violence Containment – Report

Kiiza Besigye Being arrested during the 2011 protests.
Kiiza Besigye Being arrested during the 2011 protests.

Uganda is spending 1000 shillings per person each day in containing violence, a new report indicates.

The report authored by the Institute of Economics and Peace shows that Uganda spends 9.4% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in combating and containing violence arising out of protests, homicides, terrorism and violent crime among others.

The report titled “Global Peace Index: How much does your country spend on maintaining peace”, is to be released today in New York and is aimed at gauging the benefits that arise out of peace.

The report estimates that the Ugandan government uses five billion dollars on violence containment each financial year. The total cost per person of containing violence is at 375,000 shillings annually.

Violence containment is calculated by measuring the spending on economic activity that is related to the consequences or prevention of violence where the violence has been directed to people or property.

Uganda is in the league of the top 25 spenders on violence containment on the globe together with the United States, North Korea, Syria and Somalia among others.

Uganda also tops all the other countries in the East African region on spending on violence containment. Kenya stands at 8.5% of its GDP while Burundi is at 7.6%. Tanzania follows at 5.6% with Rwanda coming in last at 5.5% of the GDP.

Military expenditure, homicides and internal security organs’ spending are the biggest contributors to the budget of violence containment.

Uganda has been battling with sustained protests since 2011 when opposition leaders launched what came to be known as Walk to Work campaign. Opposition members under the activist group ‘For God and My Country’ have consistently held street protests against government policy and police brutality.

In the Ministry of Defence report to parliament on their budget performance in August, officials from the ministry said they spend more on wages, food and classified expenditure arising out of long-held contractual obligations with suppliers.

This year alone, the Ministry of defence received a budget of 913 billion shillings. It is also confirmed that a supplementary budget of 120 billion has been received by the ministry of finance to fund UPDF operations in South Sudan.

The Uganda police force gets a budget of 245 billion shillings annually.  The report calls for reduction in violence containment spending and focusing on other developmental aspects.

Security officials are yet to comment on the story.

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