Budget does not address slowdown – experts.

The Private Sector faults government for investing heavily into infrastructure when the economy needs immediate solutions to reverse its downward trend.

Growth fell to 3.9 percent this year, down from 4.6 percent last year, as exports fell, agriculture production, private investment and industry all declined.

Government is investing some 16 trillion shillings in infrastructure since 2016 to 2018, mainly in roads, electricity rail and oil and gas related infrastructure.

Speaking at post budget dialogue called by DFCU, Economic Researcher Dr Fred Muhumuza said what is important now is to put investment in sectors that will make an immediate turnaround for the economy, like agriculture.

He says that later, when the economy has picked up, government can return to infrastructure funding.

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DFCU Chief Finance Officer Kate Kiiza told participants that with the bank now being second largest after the takeover of Crane Bank assets last year, they are ready to take on most of the financing needs of Uganda’s private sector.

Edgar Isingoma, Senior Partner at consulting group, KPMG, said that the 2017/2018 budget has many positives including Uganda Revenue Authority’s increased collection target.

He also cites the funding to infrastructure, energy and irrigation as some of the positives the private sector should take from the budget.

Gideon Badaggawa, Chief Executive Officer of Private Sector Foundation Uganda said funding to agriculture was still too low and was unable to cater for the food insecurity in the country.

Uganda is a signatory to the Maputo Declaration 2003, where it committed to increase funding to agriculture to at least 10 percent of the national budget.

The ruling NRM’s manifesto provides for a seven percent share of the budget to go to the sector.

Badagawa also questioned the rationale of Uganda producing 2000 megawatts of power by 2018 when demand is only 50 percent of that, saying the investment will be redundant.