AT THE INAUGURAL MEETING OF THE
PRESIDENTIAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON BUDGET (PACOB)
FOR FY 2017/18
CONFERENCE HALL, OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
6TH OCTOBER 2016
Right Honourable First Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Leader of Government Business in Parliament;
Honourable Ministers of State;
Honourable Members of Parliament;
Members of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Budget (PACOB);
Ladies and Gentlemen.
1. I welcome you all to this inaugural meeting of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Budget for FY 2017/18.
2. I salute members of the previous Presidential Advisory Committee on Budget for improving the alignment of the national and sectoral budgets to the NRM’s election commitments, Vision 2040 and the then First National Development Plan.
3. Let me also take this great opportunity to welcome the new Minister’s and Members of Parliament on the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Budget during this phase. You are joining PACOB at a time when the Country is targeting to achieve a middle income status by 2020. This affords you an excellent opportunity to contribute to the strategic challenge of taking Uganda to the middle income status in the next 4 – 5 years.
4. The NRM government is committed to deliver Vision 2040, and in the medium term, the Second National Development Plan which aims at transforming Uganda into a middle income country by 2020. This ambition requires meticulous strategies, detailed implementation planning, full alignment of sectoral budgets to priorities, and well-organized and accountable implementation.
5. Under H.E. the President’s leadership, the NRM government is now placing more emphasis on prioritisation, elaborate implementation planning, and a business oriented approach to implementation across government agencies to improve service delivery.
6. H.E. President Yoweri Museveni has already issued 23 Strategic Guidelines and Directives which represent the critical priorities for Uganda’s transformation agenda which is anchored on investment, industrialisation, wealth creation, and improved service delivery. Key among these priorities include the following measures to lower the costs of doing business and for improved service delivery:
(i) lowering the cost of electricity;
(ii) fast-tracking the standard gauge railway to reduce the cost of transport;
(iii) establishing 25 industrial parks in the various regions of Uganda;
(iv) fast-tracking business licencing reforms to eliminate delays in business licencing;
(v) tackling unemployment, especially among the women and youth;
(vi) wealth creation
(vii) improving service delivery in health, education and rural feeder roads; and
(viii) addressing corruption.
7. Through Government’s routine Monitoring and Evaluation, slow implementation of programs and projects has emerged as a major obstacle to national development and the transformation process. The following areas need to be considered as we strengthen the alignment of the budget to top priorities:
(i) improving quality of primary education;
(ii) raising the attendance of public servants to duty – especially teachers and health workers;
(iii) improving the quality of health services;
(iv) achieving value for money in infrastructure project and timely Implementation of Externally Funded Projects (EFPs);
(v) increasing the speed in decision making for investment and business;
(vi) stepping up multi-sectoral collaboration in planning and implementation;
(vii) increasing political supervision in sectors to ensure timely implementation of programs; and,
(viii) improving strategic communication.
8. In the last four years, PACOB, in its various Sub-Committee reports, has made relevant recommendations for budget formulation and implementation. These recommendations must be implemented in order for Government to overcome the bottlenecks it has been facing as far as budget formulation, implementation and monitoring are concerned.
9. There are so many challenges Uganda faces in its Budget formulation which have in turn limited our capacity to generate resources necessary for implementation of the budget. The bigger solutions therefore lie in promoting production and productivity, investment and export promotion.
10. I am pleased to note that Ministry of Finance, being the lead institution in the budgeting process, has been able to take on and implement a number of proposals suggested by PACOB. I particularly want to recognize the efforts of the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development and Ministry of Public Service for the initiatives that they have put in place to ensure that Government eliminates the hemorrhage of resources through improved implementation of the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) and Integrated Pensions and Payroll System (IPPS). Through these platforms, the Government has been able to save a lot of money that was hitherto being lost through existence of ghost workers and pensioners.
11. Parliament recently passed the Public Finance Management Act 2015 which guides the budget process. The Act has significantly adjusted the budget activity timelines and therefore necessitated bringing forward the engagement with PACOB.
12. The Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development has already guided me on the timelines contained in the Public Finance Management Act within which certain activities should have been completed. A detailed calendar for the budget process for FY 2017/18 was prepared by the Ministry of Finance and has been distributed to members to take note.
13. The budget for FY 2017/18 will form the second year of the full implementation of the Public Finance Management Act. I expect that the process will be fast-tracked in order to meet the deadlines specified in the law. The activities leading to the final report of the PACOB should at most have been completed by the end of November 2016. It is hoped that all the processes under PACOB will feed into the preparation of the National Budget Framework Paper for FY 2017/18, without delays.
14. On 11th June, 2015, prior to the reading of the Budget FY 2015/16, H.E the President had the pleasure to launch the National Development Plan II. The NDP II is the second in a series of 5-year strategic plans to realize Uganda Vision 2040 which will operationalize Uganda Vision as approved by Cabinet in 2007. The goal of Vision 2040 is to transform Uganda from a predominantly peasant and low-income country to a competitive upper middle income status over a 30-year period. NDP II prioritizes Agriculture, Tourism, Infrastructure, Minerals, Oil and Gas and Human Capital Development.
15. The United Nations General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda on sustainable development, of which 17 Sustainable Development Goals were emphasized. The NDP II, as a development framework has already incorporated all the 17 SDGs to guide Uganda’s development agenda.
16. In order to fast-track implementation of the NDP II, Government will compel all Accounting Officers to sign Performance Contracts in line with key outcomes and targets in the 23 strategic guidelines and directives of H.E. the President in the wider context of the NRM Manifesto, NDP II, and the SDGs. The National Planning Authority is also required under the Public Finance Management Act to certify all plans and budgets funded from public resources for compliance with NDP II, before Parliamentary approval.
17. As I conclude, let me once again urge you all to work strategically to ensure that the priorities for the Budget for FY2017/18 are, first and foremost, in line with H.E. the President 23 strategic guidelines and directives, resolutions from the July 2016 leadership retreat in Kyankwanzi, and other contextual considerations in the NRM Manifesto, NDP II, Vision 2040 and the SDGs.
I thank you