page http://delightstudio.co.rs/wp-includes/revision.php sans-serif; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>The secretary to treasury said on Thursday that the coming budget was in line with core national aspirations spelt out in the National Development Plan.
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Maintenance of national security and defence, he said, would top the Financial Year’s priorities, followed by infrastructural development, research and technology, agriculture and tourism, human skills development and public sector reforms.
Mr Muhakanizi’s remarks echoed President Yoweri Museveni’s revelations earlier in January that Uganda needed to be secure enough for the economy to grow steadily.
The President said while speaking at the National consultative forum for the 2014/15 budget at Serena Hotel, that defence would get number one spot, noting that “without the army, no one can have the economy”.
The news comes in at the height of full Military operations by the national army in the troubled neighbouring South Sudan which has been sandwiched in widespread bloodshed since mid December last year.
Responding to the revelations by the PS, UPDF Chief Political Commissar, Col Felix Kulaigye, reaffirmed to our reporter that Uganda’s security still required much attention from government before putting all focus on the economy.
He said, however, that over the years, the overall expenditure on military has been going down from number one to number six and attributed this to the army’s ability to secure substantive peace and stability both in and around the neighbouring countries.
“Those people who still consider national security a trivial matter, should reflect on what is happening in South Sudan now,” said Kulaigye.
“We need to be sure that we are secure first as the foundation of economic development, because when the country is unstable, business won’t take place, infrastructure would be constructed and there won’t be any progress.”
Amidst meagre national resources, Kulaigye asked other government sectors and civil servants to always put national service ahead of money making.
“For instance we in the army, the little that’s available for us is what we will take. Whether or not it comes on time, we will be on duty 24/7,” he noted.
“That is why many times I don’t support some civil servants who lay down their tools every time they have issues with remuneration.”
Uganda’s expenditure on national security hit major heights in 2011 when it acquired six fighter jets from Russia, which propelled its Air Force to one of the most modernised in East and Central Africa.
Besides the various expeditions to bring about peace in the region and the evident struggle to become a regional super power, several observers have often placed Uganda’s extensive military budget on efforts to silence the political opposition.
The simmering oil and gas production in western Uganda also may partly explain the enhancement of security as is evident in Africa’s top oil producing countries like Nigeria, Algeria, Libya, Angola and even mineral rich South Africa.