Government expenditure ; Misplaced priorities

Posted on June 19, 2011


authored by Ddembe on 10. February 2008 at 10:55

6 b for Health versus 10.9 b for Allowances

Mr Tinkansimire’s document reveals how during the 2006/07 financial year the government spent Shs10.9 billion on allowances while just Shs6 billion was spent on primary healthcare. Primary healthcare programmes mainly focus on management of common diseases such as malaria, especially in rural areas where 80 percent of Ugandans live.

Rhetoric and slogans versus actions

Although the government has rolled out several pro-poor programmes such as agricultural extension, primary healthcare, universal primary and secondary education, the allocation of resources, especially money, does not reflect the necessary commitment to see them through.

Opportunity cost

Consequently, many critics have long pointed at the huge cost of public administration as one of the impediments to improving people’s lives in a country where 31 percent of the population lives in abject poverty.

68.5 b for cars versus 14.5 b for district roads

For instance, the report notes, the government last financial year spent Shs68.5 billion on maintaining its fleet of thousands of fuel-guzzling 4WD vehicles (engine capacity ranging between 2000cc and 3500cc), while allocating a disproportionate Shs14.5 billion for the repair of district roads.

23 b for car maintenance versus 4.4 b for urban road repairs!

And while Shs23 billion was spent on buying fuel and oils for public vehicles, a measly Shs4.4 billion was allocated to urban road repairs, fortifying the view that taxpayers were paying more for the driving comfort of bureaucrats than for a public good like roads.

Corruption -who owns those garages?

Maintenance of cars poses a particular headache with the report noting that “most government vehicles are always in garages” where they are “cannibalised … by garage owners well knowing that government will after all buy new spare parts to repair their vehicles”.

2.2 b for entertainment versus 1.5 b for urban water!

Adds the report: “On the other hand transport officers/drivers connive with garage owners to inflate bill on the job cards.” In the same period, the government spent Shs2.2 billion on “welfare and entertainment” of bureaucrats whereas it spent Shs1.5 billion on the provision of urban water.

3.06 b for agriculture versus 10.04 b for inland travel

Agricultural extension received Shs3.06 billion in the same year as the government splashed Shs10.04 billion on inland travel. A vast majority of Ugandans depend directly on agriculture for their livelihood.

Car co-ownership -was that not tried before with disastrous consequences?

In the interest of reducing spiralling public administration costs, they recommended that a car co-ownership scheme replaces the existing arrangement.

Under the scheme, ministers and civil servants would meet 50 percent of the cost of running the vehicle for five years then later own it permanently without paying taxes, which taxes will be waived.

How about presidential jets?

The MPs’ report proposes that only the President, Vice President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice, Deputy Chief Justice, Speaker and Deputy Speaker of Parliament continue enjoying transportation at the taxpayers’ cost.

That many public funded vehicles?

Currently, all ministers, permanent secretaries, directors, senior consultants, commissioners, heads of government projects all totalling to 670 are entitled to a government vehicle.

Other categories of staff use pool vehicles.
At the headquarter level alone, government vehicles numbered 12,004 by 2005, excluding all those managed under government-affiliated projects. This figure may have more than doubled considering that the total number of public officers, starting with the President, who are entitled to cars, today stands at 40,679.

221 billion?

In the 2006/07 financial year, Shs221 billion was budgeted to buy new vehicles reflecting the pressure that transportation of staff exerts on the country’s already limited resources.

Great logic!!! Buying 4WD in preference to fixing roads!!

During the 7th Parliament, Prime Minister Apolo Nsibambi astonished the public when he said that ministers and other technocrats enjoy chauffeur-driven 4WD cars because Uganda’s roads are in terrible shape.

Over to you NRM cadre

What is the official spin?

P.S: I was wndering what was wrong with this years budget when I came across this. It is obvious that the NRM budget in 2011 offers nothing radical over previous budgets and its business as usual!

Posted in: Budget, Health, NRM