Uganda: Opposition Accuses Government of Neglecting Key Priorities

Kampala — The Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, Ms Betty Aol Ocan, has accused President Museveni of neglecting the priorities and issues that affect the average Ugandan during his State of the Nation Address delivered on June 4.

In a response delivered in Parliament on Friday, Ms Ocan said both the President's address and the 2020/2021 budget allocations did not reflect the problems that bedevil Ugandans, which have now been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

"The state of Ugandans is now biting hunger, escalating poverty, no hope of earning as many are out of work, mismanaged food distribution by government, unfulfilled promises, anxiety and despair. With the President not addressing any of these, what state is he presenting in the State of the Nation Address?" Ms. Ocan wondered.

She said government has failed to align budgetary allocation with the priorities and needs of Ugandans.

"Our country has the potential to feed us 100 per cent and export the surplus if we focused resources where they are needed most. Over 75 per cent of the population lives off agriculture and here we are allocating the sector 2.19 per cent of the National budget equivalent to Shs1.3trillion," Ms Ocan said.

In the 2020/2021 Budget, the Ministry of Works and Transport took the lion's share (Shs5.8 trillion), Security came second at Shs4.5 trillion while Health got Shs2.7 trillion.

Ms Ocan said the measures announced by President Museveni in his State of the Nation Address do not offer a lasting solution to the blow dealt the economy by the Covid-19 pandemic.

President Museveni announced a raft of measures aimed at saving the economy from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Experts, however, argued that the measures advanced including the tax deferrals, renegotiation of loan payments, capitalisation of the Uganda Development Corporation worked only to favour big private players as opposed to small scale and informal businesses which have been most hit.

He has also remained optimistic at the performance of the economy sighting the growth of agricultural and industry.

"Our call is the President, through the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development should come to the House and lay concrete time tested and specific interventions aimed at keeping the economy alive," Ms Ocan said.

She further expressed disappointment at the manner in which money allocated as well as donations towards the fight against the coronavirus pandemic has been handled.

She accused government of side lining the Ministry of Health and the health workers while focusing on issues like purchase of vehicles.

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