Uganda Women Parliamentary Association (UWOPA) on Wednesday through its gender responsive budgeting roundtable gave its stand on the National Budget 2013-2014 that was read by the Minister of Finance Maria Kiwanuka to Parliament last week Thursday.
The Vice Chairperson of UWOPA Rose Mary Nyakikongolo said that the interventions taken by the minister to widen the tax base will negatively affect the poor people especially the women and girls who form the majority of the poor and use kerosene on a daily basis.
She noted that the Association is concerned with the tax on Kerosene which the minister said is meant to reduce cases of adulterated fuel which can be dangerous to diesel cars saying that majority of poor women who use kerosene have no mandate to monitor fake undertreated fuel.
Nyakikingolo said that clamping down on fuel stations dealing in adulterated fuel is the work of Uganda Bureau of standards who are financially supported by the same budget to do their work.
She suggested that much as kerosene is dangerous to human life, government should make a deliberate effort to support household’s access to solar energy and solar lumps at subsided prices which she said that the budget is silent on in a country endowed with sunshine.
MP Akello Judith Franker, a member of UWOPA, said that there was no specific intervention geared to agricultural productivity in the budget like access to inputs like fertilizers, implements like tractors and others.
She said that they have seen no resources for the supply chain such as value addition and marketing which she said that in the absence of real marketing strategies middle men will continue exploiting the majority poor.
She further added that in the budget money allocated to education is mainly going to wages saying that this made a wrong implication that education is among the highly funded sectors and that the proposal by the president to give 5bn to teacher’s SACCOs is not going to correct the damage in the sector since teachers need a pay rise not money to borrow that is even going to attract interest.
MP Jova Kamateka, also a member of UWOPA, said that the tax on piped water will have a negative bearing on the women who need water more for their day to day activities.
She added that women will resort to using unsafe water which will make the population vulnerable to water borne diseases hence creating a burden to the already overstretched Ministry of Health and the individuals themselves.
The association however applauded the government on the growth rate of GDP of 5.1% in the economy despite the donor cuts, the fact that the country is going to finance the bulk of the budget to the tune of 80%, the allocation of money to priority sectors which stimulate growth citing Roads, Energy, and Education among others.