The Minister of Finance Planning and Economic Development, Matia Kasaija, has encouraged the public to demand for proper accountability of their taxes through questioning different sectors on how they utilized the funds given to them.
Kasaija said that each Government department is ready to show how it spent the funds that were allocated to it in the budget of the FY2018/19. “If there is anything you see which is not moving well, please come to Kololo within [these] three days and criticise us. We love criticism because it guides us to do better,” he said.
Kasaija made this offer while officiating the third activity of the budget month. The ocassion involved a march from Constitutional Square to Kololo Ceremonial Grounds; and the presentation of different sector performances from Wednesday to Friday this week.
He emphasized that since Government sectors are funded by the public through taxes, it is therefore their (the public) right to know how their money is being disbursed. “We shall account to you where your taxes are being applied and this is why I always say that this is not ‘a Kasaija Budget’. We are mere agencies of the public who just make sure that the tax payer’s money is properly utilised,” he added.
In financial year 2018/18, the UGX 37.2 trillion total budget was allocated to different sectors as follows: UGX 2.3 trillion was allocated to the Health Sector; UGX 2.8 trillion to Education; UGX 149 billion for the ICT; UGX 4.8 trillion to the Works and Transport Sector and UGX 607 billion to cater for maintenance for national, district, urban and community roads.
The Tourism Sector received UGX 32 billion; UGX 893 billion went to the Agriculture Sector and UGX 1.3 trillion to the Water and Sanitation Sector.
During the tree-planting activity, the Acting Permanent Secretary and Secretary to Treasury, Patrick Ocailap, said that each sector of the Government had been given at least 95 percent of its total budget and therefore there is need for them to present how the money was utilised.
Kasaija, who was bitter, also blamed a section of traders whom he accused of defaulting to pay taxes yet they demand for good infrastructures to promote their businesses. “I try to call upon business people, who evade taxes; ‘My dear, you are shooting and cheating yourselves. You alone can’t construct good roads, railways where you shall move your goods from’,” he said.
The three days exhibition marked the third event of the National budget month that started with tree planting on 25th May. Also scholastic materials were donated to East Kololo Primary School on 31 May.
On June, 13th Kasaijja will read the 40.4 trillion budget to the public. President Yoweri Museveni and other Government, officials in the Private Sector and diplomats will be present at the Serena Hotel.