The Opposition in parliament has raised a red flag over the move by government to reduce financial allocations to the Agriculture Sector in the coming financial year 2021/2022.Equally distressed by the budget is the the Minister of State for Animal Industry Bright Rwamirama.
Parliament on Friday passed a 44.77 trillion Shillings National Budget under which allocations to the Agricultural sector were cut from 1.3 trillion in the current financial year 2020/2021 to 799 billion.
The approval by parliament followed the adoption of the Budget Committee report presented by Ntenjeru North MP Amos Lugoloobi.
However, a minority report jointly authored by Butambala County MP Muwanga Kivumbi and Dokolo Woman MP Cecilia Ogwal disagreed with the budget cut.
“The main committee report proposes prioritization of water for production and and agricultural insurance scheme irrespective of the huge budget cuts in the agricultural sector,” said Kivumbi.
He also said that interventions championed by government will largely excel if access to land is guaranteed.
“About 20 percent of citizens have secure land ownership in form of land titles, hence majority lack ownership and access to land to undertake productive agriculture. The deficiencies in land ownership are partly responsible for subsistence production and low access to credit that would influence investments into produce handling and value addition,” reads part of the minority report.
The Opposition recommended that allocations to the agricultural sector should be maintained at levels in the current financial year with prioritization geared towards establishing district farm institutes and regional silos.
Also recommended is that allocations towards the land fund should be transformed into a revolving fund to ensure sustainability of the fund so as to serve more beneficiaries.
MP Cecilia Ogwal raised concern about the high budget allocations on consumption areas and less expenditure on the productive sector of the economy.
Bright Rwamirama, the Minister of State for Animal Industry also queried the budget cuts in the Agriculture sector. He said that purchase of seedlings, Northern Uganda Economic Recovery, purchase of agricultural inputs and other planned items are to be affected by the budget cuts.
Despite the Opposition and Minister’s query, Parliament chaired by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga adopted the main budget committee report.
Government plans to collect 22.63 trillion Shillings with over 20.83 trillion coming from tax revenue in the coming financial year 2021/2022 to help finance the budget.
Only 860 billion is expected from Non- Tax Revenue (NTR) sources and 940.4 billion from Appropriation in Aid.
The approved budget is a decrease by 714.9 billion (1.6 percent) compared to this financial year 2020/2021 budget.