By Amos Wekesa
A Case for Tourism and Export based agriculture Our 2022/2023 Uganda National budget that will be read in June is ushs 47 Trillions but will maybe go upto 49 trillions by the time of budget reading it will be 49 Trillion shillings.
Out of 47 Trillion shillings, Revenue authority is expected to collect ushs 25 Trillion but I predict they will collect somewhere close to 20 Trillion shillings.Out of 47 trillion shillings, 60% will be going towards recurrent expenditure( paying salaries etc) and 18% will be going towards paying debts we owe both within and without.
What the above simply means is that what URA collects can’t pay our recurrent budget( we can’t afford to pay government salaries) because we can’t collect 60% from tax payers. Ugandans don’t forget this, we spend over 900m dollars annually on vehicle imports alone, we spend over 400m dollars on medication abroad, we spend over 300m dollars on tourism abroad( when you go to Dubai, South Africa etc)Our 28 banks ( majorly foreign) combined have a maximum lending capacity of usd 300m annually and all of them combined didn’t make same profit as equity bank in Kenya. Equity bank last year made ushs 1.2 trillions in profits. Ugandas Tourism with a 30m dollars as expenditure annually on branding and marketing, has a capacity of earning us a minimum 12bn dollars a year as a country.
That’s almost equivalent to our annual budget in shillings. Agriculture as is today can’t get anybody out of poverty. The pineapple farmer in Luwero can only grow rich if he access a Nigerian market that pays 7dollars per pineapple. Here farmers slave for those paying below the cost of production. With Uganda airlines and good national positioning across the world like ethopia has done, we can export to sorts of markets across the world who are wiling to pay higher prices. Ethopia has over 12 cargo planes supplying more than 34 markets worldwide with agriculture products.
MPs want their salaries enhanced now but they first discuss how Uganda can earn before we think about expenditure. More money is needed toward an export based strategy, otherwise, we shall sink together.
All groups of people across board, teachers, doctors, MPs, civil servants etc want salaries increased but no one talking about how we can earn money as a country. We need to pull in the same direction as a country.
Amos Wekesa is the owner, @SafarisUganda and Uganda Lodges Ltd.