Mixed Reactions to Kiwanuka's UGX 11 Trillion Budget

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In short
The 2012/2013 budget has attracted mixed reactions from legislators and policy makers in the country; with some saying it is pro-poor while others observe that the budget will oppress the poor.

The 2012/2013 budget has attracted mixed reactions from legislators and policy makers in the country; with some saying it is pro-poor while others observe that the budget will oppress the poor.
 
In the budget read on Thursday, finance minister Maria Kiwanuka introduced among others an 18% value added tax.
 
Out of a total of 11.15 trillion shillings, Kiwanuka has given the Ministry of Education 1.669 trillion shillings, representing 17 percent of the total envelope. The Road sector will take the second biggest amount of money; 1.6 trillion shillings, from the 1.2 trillion that was budgeted for the sector in the last financial year.  
 
The threshold for pay as you earn (PAYE) has been lifted to 235,000 shillings from 130,000 shillings. The shadow cabinet minister of finance, Geoffrey Ekanya, expressed disappointment on the matter saying most of the people it aims to target are well above that threshold. He proposes that the health workers, teachers, police and military officers should have been excluded from the tax in order to boost standards of living.

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Equally disappointed is the Shadow cabinet minister for foreign affairs, Jack Wamai Wamanga and Bernard Mulengani, the EALA legislator. They say the 18 percent tax on water is not fair to the common man. Mulengani noted that water is the main basic commodity not only in the homes but also institutions. So institutions like hospitals that are already grappling with water bills are likely to suffer more.

Wamai on the other hand is aggrieved that after providing money for National Identification (ID) Project, government has turned around to say people ought to pay for the IDs.

Micheal Werikhe, Bungokho County MP, says the budget was fair saying that key sectors have been addressed. In the budget, transport takes up 1.4 trillion shillings, while education has been allocated 1.6 trillion shillings up from 1.4 trillion in the 2011/2012 budget. To Werikhe these services will enhance the livelihood of all citizens.

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Eng. Badru Kiggundu, the Electoral Commission chairperson, fell short of admitting that he is disappointed that the money for local council elections was not mentioned in the budget. The Commission needs over 100 billion shillings to conduct the elections that were last held in 2001.  He, however, told URN that he is optimistic that government will handle the matter.

Francis Epetait, Ngora County MP, said agriculture has received little money which is about 583 billion shillings. But he observed that the sector would benefit from the transport and energy sectors that got more money. He says the roads will provide routes to the markets while energy will stimulate production.

The budget is 11.15 trillion shillings. Government will contribute to 75% while the remaining 25% will come from donors.