By Gad Masereka
Kampala, February 1, 2024
In a spirited address at the CSO PRE-BUDGET DIALOGUE Financial Year 2024/2025 conference, held at the Imperial Royal Hotel in Kampala, the Minister of Finance, Hon. Matia Kasaija, reassured the nation that Uganda’s economic future remains secure under his stewardship. The conference, held under the theme “Repurposing the 2024/25 budget: What are the key priorities for inclusive economic growth and service delivery?” aimed to explore strategies for shaping the upcoming financial year’s budget.
The minister, with a robust presence, expressed gratitude for the opportunity to address such a distinguished gathering, emphasizing the importance of inclusive economic growth in the budget formulation process. He highlighted the key priorities and strategies that would guide the financial planning for the year 2024/25.
Minister Kasaija, known for his candid demeanor, didn’t shy away from addressing the challenges faced by the government in balancing a myriad of demands within a limited budget. He drew attention to the pressing need for responsible spending and a judicious allocation of resources.
“Reducing expenses is my headache,” the minister candidly remarked. “People could be wasteful; they want to go into things even when they cannot afford it. Your government is faced with difficult decisions; there is never enough money for all demands.”
Using a metaphorical analogy, Minister Kasaija compared managing the budget to a long-lasting marriage, asserting that “money will never be enough.” He urged the younger generation to understand the importance of prioritizing and making intelligent choices in resource allocation.
The Finance Minister touched on the challenge of competing demands from various sectors, acknowledging that the government cannot satisfy everyone’s needs simultaneously. However, he emphasized the government’s commitment to prioritize essential services, such as healthcare and education, ensuring that basic needs are met.
“I will never mortgage Uganda as long as I am still the Finance Minister,” Minister Kasaija declared, instilling a sense of confidence and hope among the Ugandan populace. He highlighted the importance of making strategic investments that yield long-term benefits for the country.
Addressing infrastructure development, the minister cited examples of poorly maintained roads hindering agricultural productivity. He stressed the crucial role of infrastructure in facilitating the movement of goods and services, ultimately contributing to economic growth.
Minister Kasaija also discussed the challenges in the mining sector, emphasizing the need for transparent and responsible exploitation of mineral resources. He expressed optimism about the potential benefits from implementing a government framework for exploration and establishing more beneficial facilities in the country.
In his closing remarks, the minister encouraged Ugandans to adopt a prudent approach to financial management, drawing on personal anecdotes and lessons from his own experiences. He stressed the importance of saving and wisely using available resources for sustainable economic development.
The conference attendees, comprised of civil society organizations, government officials, and various stakeholders, listened attentively to the Finance Minister’s address. The optimism in the air resonated with the theme of the conference, leaving participants hopeful about the future of Uganda’s inclusive economic growth and service delivery.
As Minister Kasaija concluded his speech, the sentiment in the room was one of cautious optimism. The challenges were acknowledged, but the commitment to responsible financial management and strategic investment for the benefit of all Ugandans provided a beacon of hope for a brighter economic future.