On 14th June 2018, the Minister of Finance – Hon. Matias Matia Kasaija read UGX 32.4 trillion (tn) budget for the Finance Year (FY) 2018/19. This was an increase of 11.6% from the previous year’s budget of UGX 29 tn.
Mr. Richard Ssempala, the Knowledge Management Officer SPEED Project, was invited to SALT Television for a live expert discussion on the budget’s alignment to the country’s priorities and implications.
Richard live on Salt Tv emphasising the need to allocate funds according to set national priorities.
Richard presented the trends of budgetary allocations to every sector for the last 5 years in relation to the national and sectoral priorities. In the FY 2018/19 budget, the health sector was allocated UGX 2.3tn representing 9.2% of the total budget share. This is a positive development as the absolute amount rose by UGX 0.5tn from UGX 1.8tn that the sector was allocated in the FY 2017/18.However, the percentage of national budgetary share to the health sector is still below the regional commitments.
Also, there is a need for the government to allocate more of its own resources to the health sector as a big share of the budget is expected to be contributed by donors. Another pertinent issue to think about when discussing the national budget is the implication of concentrating on sectoral allocations against the need for multi-sectoral planning for holistic development. We need to acknowledge the interdependencies among sectors and consider the budget as a viable tool to facilitate collaborative efforts to improve the health of Ugandans. The high share of the budget allocated for servicing the public debt is another key issue of concern discussed.
Hon. Matia Kasaija while reading the budget noted that attaining a good standard of health for all Ugandans is one of the key priorities of the Government. “In the FY 2018/19, healthcare provision will emphasize prevention rather than cure,” he emphasised. This calls for deeper analysis of the allocations within the health budget and the extent to which these reflect this pro-prevention agenda.
Interventions at household and community levels that include better nutrition, good hygiene practices and healthy lifestyles should continue to be priority investment areas. The Community Health Extension Workers (CHEWs) program will be established to take services closer to the community, deliver household centred health care services through health promotion, sensitization and disease prevention activities. The sustainability of such initiatives is an issue to keep on the radar as the new budget takes course at the beginning of July 2018.
Richard Ssempala-Knowledge Management Officer- SPEED project