National Budget: I think as a country we need to take money management/growth as a serious part of our lives- Amos Wekesa.

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Amos Masaba Wekesa, is a businessman, entrepreneur and corporate executive in Uganda, who is the founder, proprietor and managing director of Great Lakes Safaris Limited, a tour operating company, in the African Great Lakes region.

I don’t know how many of you take time to analyse our national budgets but I do. Last week, our parliament passed a 45.5 Trillion budget for the year 2020/2021.

I think as a country we need to take money management/growth as a serious part of our lives. We need to make sure our children learn about budgeting at a very early stage. Poor budgeting isn’t an NRM problem alone, it’s our problem as Uganda.

We also need to teach our children about the value of productivity which should be connected to budgeting. You will realize that people who make our national budgets don’t do it differently from us as individuals.

I keep telling people, Uganda needs to be run like a business for us to achieve our national desires that’s if we have them. Think about of a nation like a small family unit and Uganda is even with the massive potential. Potential doesn’t pay bills.

As a family, before you decide which school your children should attend, which hospital to use as a family, what type of house, how to secure your home, you first think about the source of income.

In Uganda, we first allocate resources to consumptive sectors before we think about where the money will come from. A foreign friend 2 days ago, said, we have put aside 7 lines of borrowing for Uganda to support your budget…..I told him,you guys will sink us. It’s an exciting time for those who lend Uganda.

In the budget for the year 2020/2021 that was passed last week, the first productive sector was number 11 and that’s agriculture. I had a chance of looking at agriculture figures and it’s over 70% air tickets, workshops, sensitisation meetings, and brand new cars. I hope they changed that.

The top 10 priorities are works and transport, security, interest payments, education, health, energy, accountability, justice, local government and Water….and if you look keenly at these, you might be shocked about wasteful expenditure in them. Cars, workshops etc

Tourism is allocated 0.6% of the budget and yes, even on that, it’s mainly to pay bills but not to increase incomes from the sector. It’s very difficult to convince people of finance to increase a marketing budgets for both agricultural products and tourism.

Uganda has 48.9% of East Africa’s arable land which means no country should export more agricultural products than us, but is it the case? A study by world bank showed that with a minimal investment in tourism a few years ago, Uganda can earn a minimum of USD 12 billion dollars annually.

Of course, we partly blame weak private sector in the different sectors. I personally believe that if we sort out the issue of markets, markets that are willing to pay higher prices for farmers efforts then agriculture will attract the educated class.

Right, well all to markets to buy food at prices below the cost of production. Reason why Kenya and Tanzania are now transforming their passenger planes into cargo carriers,it is supply markets that pay higher prices hence sustaining production. The cargo section of Ethiopian airlines which has over 12 planes transformed their agriculture.

Those 12 planes supply over 34 markets across the globe willing to pay higher prices. If we don’t think and act right, we shall have to hand over all our national assets like Zambia is starting to do.

All this budgeting is being done by our Elites and some of these people have been in best of schools and universities…….we must start questioning our type of education. A foreign friends told me, it’s sad that banks aren’t owned by Ugandans.

But what do I know.

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