Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development Hon Matia Kasaiha has stressed the importance of Uganda’s security, in the quest to achieve fast economic growth.
Minister Kasaija on Thursday presented the 2019/20 budget, at the Kampala Serena Conference center.
Among the highlights of the Shs 40.4Trillion budget was the allocation to the security department, which grew by more than 50% from the previous financial year.
The Security budget was bumped up to a record Shs 3.6 Trillion, a 1.5Trillion increase from the previous financial year.
The increase had already generated debate among members of parliament and other stakeholders with many questioning the incentive.
But in his budget speech however, Minister Kasaija said Uganda needed to prioritize security if it is to achieve its short and medium term targets
“Maintenance of Peace, Security, law and order has laid a strong foundation for economic growth and development in Uganda over several decades,” the Minister said.
As such the minister said government will be taking more steps to maintain this security.
The Shs 3.6Trillion budget according to the minister, will be spent on a number of measures to strengthen the country’s military.
Government, he said, intends to “continue to professionalize the UPDF through equipment and Training.”
“To this effect, security has been allocated an additional Shs. 1,500 Billion to enhance its capacity,” he added.
The enormous defence budget also caused speculation that it was inspired by the recent diplomatic row between Uganda and Rwanda.
According to the Ministerial Policy Statement for the new (2019/2020) budget) of Defense and Veteran Affairs ministry. A colossal sum of money has been set aside for the purchase of an unnamed item by the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces.
The classified asset is billed at Shs 1.9Trillion, which is separate from the customary classified expenditure of Shs 225bn also planned for in the same financial year.
Meanwhile in his speech, Minister Kasaija also revealed that government in the new financial year will be installing electronic gates and kiosks at major border points, including Malaba, Busia, Katuna, Mutukula, Atiak and Mirama Hills.
He also reiterated government’s commitment to fast track implementation of Safe City infrastructure by rolling out installation of CCTV to municipalities and urban centers.
In terms of Good Governance, the finance minister has allocated Shs 20 Billion to help commence construction of the new Supreme Court.
He also allocated Shs 22 billion to enhance pay for judicial officers, state attorneys and prosecutors.
Another Shs 223 Billion has been earmarked for commencement of the implementation of the Electoral Roadmap for the 2021 General Elections.