By Ismail Ladu
It is budget day but, many policy and lawmakers, are having difficulties comprehending government’s approach in implementing the national budget, affecting budget performance.
A mini-survey conducted by Daily Monitor shows that the population is not fairing any better.
The survey conducted in the five divisions of Kampala City, shows there is no clear understanding of the type of budget the government is implementing.
Save for Kampala Central Division where 1 out of 10 polled have the slightest understanding of what kind of budget the government is running.
In divisions of Kawempe, Lubaga, Makindye and Nakawa, majority of responses show that 100 percent lack of understanding pertaining to the Programme-based budget the government has been implementing in the last two financial years running.
But this lack of understating of the workings of the national budget is not just rampant among the “supposedly well-informed city dwellers”, but disturbingly so, a chronic condition most public servants across the ministries, departments and agencies of government (MDA) are suffering from, according to policy, governance and budget experts interviewed for this article.
After years of study and preparations which included taking benchmarking trips to countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Africa — reputed to have strong budgeting practices and systems, the Finance Ministry phased out the output-based budgeting system also known by many as sectoral budgeting, and rolled out programme- based budgeting.
Over the last two years, the government has since transitioned from Output-Based Budgeting which linked public expenditures to specific outputs such as the number of hospitals constructed, vehicles purchased, or kilometres of roadway built to the Programme Based Budgeting