Article 101(1) of the Constitution provides that “The President shall, at the beginning of each session of Parliament, deliver an address to Parliament on the state of the nation”.
In the address, the President is commanded by the constitution to inform the country about the state of the nation since his last address the previous year, including what he or his government did during the year, what he plans to do the coming year and the enabling policies and laws that he is going to pursue and/or propose to Parliament and the country in the year ushered in by his address for the purpose of achieving government’s objectives on development and delivering services to the people.
Unfortunately in the long tenure of President Museveni he has never managed to fulfill this duty, even though every year he duly makes a speech at the beginning of every session of Parliament saying anything he likes.
The President’s address (today) comes at a time when Uganda has just passed a budget of far reaching proportions.
On May 30, 2015, the Parliament of Uganda passed a budget of UGX 24 trillion for the FY 2015-2016 under questionable circumstances.
The figure is an increase from UGX 18 trillion for the just ended FY, 2014-2015. For the lack of better words, this astronomical jump this is outrageous and reckless.
What is disturbing to us is that a big part of the increase is for consumption, NOT for wealth creation.
For example, President Museveni is going to have at his person over 1,147bn shillings to spend.
In his direct control is the money for State House, 330bn shillings up from 249bn shillings, classified expenditure of 660bn shillings, (doubled from 330 in the FY 2014/15), 77bn shillings for the President’s Office and money for his personal gifts of 80.4bn shillings.
Uganda is not at war with anybody or country.
South Sudan is on record that they are funding the UPDF engagements in their country and AMISON funds the UPDF engagements in Somalia.
From the money available to him in the budget, the President’s expenditure will be on average, over 3bn shillings per day.
He has over 10 different Presidential fleets of vehicles to himself, wife and children.
As he moves around the country, the President has pocket money/ donations of over 80bn shillings for dishing out in brown envelopes to supporters for votes.
It is a question of misplaced priorities for government for government to allocate 660bn for classified expenditure, yet the agricultural sector which is the No.1 core sector in the National Development Plan for economic transformation is allocated a mere 482bn shillings (about 2% of the National Budget), yet 25.5 million Ugandans directly depend on this sector.
It is also saddening to note that the President has 80.4bn shillings for gifts; the Tourism industry, which brings in about 3 trillion per year is allocated a only 79bn shillings.
Does the President’s donation budget generate more revenue to this economy than the tourism sector? What is the justification for this misallocation of our national resources?
How can government be so illogical and extravagant in expenditure when they know that only 11 trillion of Uganda’s FY 2015/ 16 budget will be financed by local revenue collections, and a whooping 13.5 trillion will be financed by borrowing?
For how long are you going to feed Ugandans on lies while you ride in fleets of bullet proof vehicles, with mobile toilets, state the art presidential jets, mega two state houses to yourself as the tax payers continue paying rent for the Vice President? What level of greed is this? Is this the state of the nation you are proud to tell Ugandans about?
We hope your address this year provides solutions to these injustices.
Hon Wafula Oguttu is the Leader of Opposition in Parliament