Experts Ask Gov’t to Invest in Think Tanks to Drop Unnecessary Budget Hikes

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Experts are warning against increasing budgets for key sectors like agriculture without ensuring that people who implement projects are well versed with what they are supposed to do.

Delivering a paper on how to sustain public investment strategies in the agriculture sector and promotion of industrialization on Thursday, Dr Fred Muhumuza a researcher and former senior economist at the Ministry of Finance said while a lot of government programmes are hanging on the improvement of the agriculture sector, majority of the people in the agriculture sector don’t interact with the economy and will therefore not contribute to reduction in imports or increasing agricultural exports.

He said many of the programmes that are targeted to changing the status quo are implemented at the level of local government and yet many of the people involved in such programmes are clueless.

Francis Gonahasa, the shadow minister for agriculture said there is need to come up with think tanks where researchers are consulted during planning other than coming up with programmes and interventions that end up failing.

Gonahasa, who gave an example of the meat factory in Luweero and the Soroti fruit factories, said that innovations are not studied properly before implementation which leads to loss of money and yet the country is still pushing for an increased to meet the 10% of the national budget being allocated to agriculture as agreed upon in the Maputo declaration.

He noted that the other challenge is that the country makes more political decisions than technical ones and for him even if the budget is increased, the intended targets will not be met.

According to the budget frame work paper, the agriculture sector is set to get 950. 6 billion shillings from a trillion last year financial year.

Experts are worried that this budget might be reduced more this financial year since the country hasn’t been performing well in terms of revenues. Muhumuza says such volatility in the budget affects planning.

Dr. Willy Kakuru, a Climate Change expert at the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) said that instead buying hoes like proposed in the frame work and yet farmers don’t raise them as part of their problems, the government needs to invest more in research and in avenues that prepare the country to mitigate and prevent some disasters like inter-sectorial collaborations.

(URN)

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