On 15th June 2014, panelists appeared on Better FM to discuss the 2014 – 2015 Ugandan Budget. “A budget is a financial document used to project future incomes and expenses of a country. A budget shows the physical policy or program for taxation and expenditure of a given country. If a budget is not good, it will affect the country’s local citizens since they are the ones on whom taxes are imposed”, said Mr. Kadiir Rwamabaale, a lecturer at Mountains of the Moon University in Fort Portal Municipality, Kabarole District. The panelist was discussing on ToroDev’s supported radio discussion called ‘Listeners’ Forum’ that discusses issues of accountability every Sunday (08:00 – 10:00) pm.
|Maria Kiwanuka, Uganda's Finance Minister|
During the program, Mr. Kadiir indicated the characteristics of a good budget. “A good budget must reflect the needs assessment of the nation, physical discipline, should be bottom up and promote livelihoods, should be of economic benefit, allocation of resources should be in line with government policy, should support stability and growth, should reflect resource mobilization, increase capital inflow and foreign trade balance, among others”.
The live radio discussion was also attended by Mr. Mitsera Kasukali, the Executive Director of CABS (Community Agro Business Capacity Services), who discussed about the Vision 2040. “We have a big plan of Vision 2040 and this is the second year of its implementation. Vision 2040 reflects the goals to be perceived like 75% of the population having power, 80% of the population accessing good water, 80% of the roads to be tamarked, increasing life expectancy to 85 years, among others by the year 2040”.
Meanwhile, Mr. Kasukali also indicated the advantages of increasing taxation in a country. “High taxation in a country is good because it widens the government’s income. This means that a country becomes independent and free from relying on foreign donation. Increasing taxes on local citizens also helps to open up their eyes since they become eager to know what the government is using the money for which increases the demand for public accountability. However, local leaders should make their over sight role to see that money is used for social development rather than being wasted in making delegations and retreats”.
Local listeners also participated in the live radio discussion through call ins and using the SMS platform to raise their issues and concerns. “This budget is going to make the local citizens suffer”, said John Boomera from Bugaaki Sub County in Kyenjojo District, “The budget will not help local citizens because even the grass root people are not capable to pay the taxes because of the high poverty rates”, said Mugisa Moses from Hakibaale Sub County in Kabarole District, “The high collected taxes will be wasted in the lavish lives of the government cadres”, said Yasin from Ntoroko District, “We should stop mixing political issues with issues affecting the nation”, said Lucy from Kasese District, “Essential commodities should not be taxed”, said Nyanja Etagira.
The live radio discussion was moderated by Mr. Mukonyezi Wilfred and is supported by NED, SIDA/CIPESA on a project aimed at using radio and social media to improve service delivery and accountability in the Rwenzori Region, Western Uganda.