BUDGET: Uganda Tourism Industry Takes Shs30bn

The planned expenditure on Uganda’s defence and national security for the year 2015/16 is projected at Shs1.6tn, ampoule a record-breaking figure in recent years.

Finance Minister Matia Kasaija said Thursday that, “peace and national security is an important pre-requisite which we must not take for granted.”

In the 2014/15 national budget, defence got Shs1.1tn.

Uganda maintains troops in South Sudan, Central African Republic and Somalia.

“As we all know, it (defence) forms the fundamental basis for all we seek to achieve. Government has actively enhanced the capacity of Uganda’s armed forces in order to safeguard peace and security of Ugandans and their property,” said Kasaija while reading the national budget at Kampala Serena Hotel.

The Minister emphasised that the capacity of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) and other security agencies has been strengthened through recruitment and training of personnel; acquisition of advanced and modern equipment; undertaking peacekeeping, defence diplomacy and conflict resolution; and improving staff welfare through provision of accommodation, medical facilities, and access to credit.

He pointed out that the “Uganda security forces have with distinction secured the country against terrorist attacks, and also executed peace keeping missions in some of our neighbouring countries.”

Kasaija said Ugandans “wholeheartedly acknowledge the invaluable contribution of our Men and Women in defence and security services for the peace we are enjoying in Uganda.”


He then announced that an allocation of Shs 1,632.89 billion has been approved for the Security Sector in the budget for the next year.

These resources, according to Kasaija, will be utilized to further professionalize the armed forces and other security organs, adding, “Specific emphasis will be placed on the acquisition of modern weaponry, strengthening intelligence capability, training and welfare.”
Government has earmarked a staggering Shs 30bn to boost tourism activities in Uganda, sick a huge departure from the poor attitude towards one of the country’s top foreign exchange earners.

The industry is projected to earn over USD 12 billion by 2040 for the country, cure according to official statistics seen by ChimpBusiness.

With high hopes that tourism will play a major role in the economy as a major contributor to GDP and employment by 2040, Finance Minister Matia Kasaija on Thursday revealed that government has developed a 10-year tourism master plan and a 5-year sector Development Plan to guide the implementation of critical activities to drive the sector’s growth in the country.

“Consequently, a holistic tourism promotion strategy that builds on our comparative tourism advantage is being implemented by the Uganda Tourism Board,” said Kasaija.

The Minister noted that visa costs for tourists have been reduced with the introduction of the Single Tourist Visa to promote tourism through easing cross border transits within East Africa.

“This should increase tourist numbers, generate higher foreign exchange inflows and enhance the employment potential of the Tourism and Hospitality industry,” said Kasaija.

In order to diversify tourism products based on communities, he added, regional Tourism Clusters were formed in Buganda, Busoga, Kigezi, Bugisu, Bunyoro, Toro, Northern Uganda and West Nile.

These clusters identify, develop and market region-specific tourism products with close support of the Uganda Tourism Board.

Uganda ranks among the top ten most bio-diverse countries globally.

The country is host to 53.9 percent (377 individuals) of the World’s remaining population of mountain gorillas, 11 percent (1,063 species) of the World’s recorded species of birds and 7.8 percent (345 species) of the global mammal diversity.

Because of the country’s diverse natural and cultural heritage, the number of foreign and domestic visitors has been increasing over time.

Tourism in Uganda has grown rapidly from 205,000 foreign visits recorded in 2001 to 1.2 million visitors in 2012.

Kasaija said further efforts are being made with the development of Satellite Wildlife Education Centers in Fort Portal and Mayuge and the construction of a Regional Museum at Soroti.

Government actions to revitalize the Tourism and Hospitality Industry in the medium term will include undertaking skills development to meet world class requirements for high standard of performance in the hospitality industry and completing the rating and ranking of hotels and restaurants.

Others include developing strategic tourism infrastructure in partnership with the Private Sector; enacting and enforcing sector regulation to ensure the maintenance of sector standards at internationally acceptable levels.

“Madam Speaker, an allocation of Shs. 30.8 billion has been approved towards the Tourism sector to implement these activities,” announced Kasaija.

The Uganda tourism board recently revealed plans to boost Uganda’s tourism potential by rebuilding all the old and abandoned tourism sites.

UTB’s Principal Tourism Director, Vivian Lyazi said old tourism sites such as Fort Baker, locally known as Fort Patiko, are up for reconstruction.

“We are going to build monuments and reconstruct these potential tourism sites but also improve on signage and the road network,” Lyazzi added.

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