Budget Speeches in East Africa

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Recently, the EAC countries have published their 2014/2015 budgets. All countries plan to focus on infrastructure development and local trade and business promotion.

In Rwanda, the government plans to spend RwF 1.75 trillion in the upcoming fiscal year. 38% of the budget, which is themed “Infrastructure development to accelerate export growth”,  is funded through external loans and grants. Priority areas of the budget include energy, agriculture, export promotion, urbanization & rural settlement, employment programs & skills development including TVET, social protection and promotion of green economy. 10% of the budget will be spent to promote productivity and youth employment. The budget is projected to close with an overall deficit of RwF 177.2 billion.

The Ugandan government is also emphasizing investment in the infrastructure sector, planning to spend Shs 75 billion of its total budget of UgSh 14 trillion for road construction and rehabilitation. The strategy is built on four key interventions: improving the business climate through infrastructure investment while maintaining peace, security and macro-economic stability; leveraging government assistance for the agricultural sector, tourism, industries and services;  improving education, health services  and access to water; strengthening institutional governance, accountability and transparency. Of the total budget, UgSh10.1 trillion will come from domestic revenues. The projected deficit amounts to 821 billion UgSh.

Kenya presented the biggest budget in the region (Ksh 1.77 trillion), focusing on infrastructure development, security, the promotion of commercial agriculture, entrepreneurship and a conducive business environment, education, health services, social protection. 86.3 % of the presented budget will be covered by domestic revenues. The largest share of the budget goes to education (27.3%), followed by energy, infrastructure and ICTs (22,6%). Health and agriculture/ rural and urban development have only been allocated about 5 % of the budget respectively. The predicted deficit equals about 342.4 billion Ksh.

Tanzania announced a TzSh19.5 trillion budget for the 2014/15 financial year, aiming to improve people’s lives and expand infrastructure. The government intends to reduce the cost of living and tax exemptions; improve social services, roads, access to energy, irrigation; create employment opportunities and enhance good governance. The biggest chunk of the budget goes to education (3.456 trillion), followed by transportation infrastructure (2.109 trillion) and health (1.588 trillion). Yet, compared to the previous fiscal year, the budget for the health sector has been cut by approximately 22% and the education budget by appr. 5 %. About 15 % of the budget will be covered by external grants and concessional loans. The predicted deficit equals about 3.8 trillion TzSh.

(Burundi’s budget reading is not aligned with the other EAC members’ readings.)

What do you think of the budget planning of the governments? Are they setting the right priorities? Are there any particular sectors that should receive more funding?

The UN Member States had committed to reach the following Millennium Development Goals by 2015:

  1. To eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  2. To achieve universal primary education
  3. To promote gender equality and empower women
  4. To reduce child mortality
  5. To improve maternal health
  6. To combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
  7. To ensure environmental sustainability
  8. To develop a global partnership for development.

Do you think their budget planning will allow the EAC countries to get closer to achieving these goals?

All countries are expected to close their budget with a high deficit. Do you think this is necessary to invest in  future development or are governments taking too many risks and making their countries even more vulnerable and dependent on foreign sources of funding?

***************************** Let us debate *****************************************

Sources:

http://allafrica.com/stories/201406130290.html

http://www.statehouse.go.ug/media/news/2014/06/12/budget-speech-financial-year-201415-delivered-meeting-4th-session-9th-parliame

http://www.statehouse.go.ug/media/news/2014/06/12/20142015-budget-poised-boost-infrastructure-sector

http://www.thecitizen.co.tz/magazine/success/education-budget/-/1843788/2351536/-/2kmmi3/-/index.html

http://www.minecofin.gov.rw/index.php?id=123&tx_ttnews[year]=2014&tx_ttnews[month]=06&tx_ttnews[day]=12&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=242&cHash=8f8d32ff9d2568da897550cab75da857

http://www.treasury.go.ke/index.php/resource-center/cat_view/79-budget-/144-budget-2014

 

The State of Human Rights in Tanzania: Light or Plight?

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Before our weekend session on human rights starts in a few days, we would like to invite you to already start the discussion about the state of human rights in Tanzania on our blog. Press articles from different media and the “Tanzania Human Rights Report 2013” published by the Legal Human Rights Centre (LHRC) identify several areas where human rights violations repeatedly take place in Tanzania. The human rights abuses named by these reports include amongst others:

·    In 2013, at least eight police officers have been killed by angry civilians, while, on the other hand, 23 civilians were killed by  excessive use of force from security forces such as policemen, military personnel, wildlife reserve officers or local militias.

·     Mob violence is another pressing issue. Not only individuals who committed a crime, but oftentimes innocent persons become victims of this terrible form of “street justice”. The rising number of deaths caused by mob violence from 1234 in 2012 to 1669 in 2013 is alarming.

·     Furthermore, a shocking number of 765 persons were killed last year due to witchcraft belief. Yet, the reports claim that sometimes, the accusation of witchcraft is only used to foreshadow the true motives of a murder, such as the wish to access land or property of the attacked individual.

·       So far, the death penalty has not been banned from the Tanzanian Constitution, although the last hanging of a person took place in 1994. It is not clear yet, if the Constituent Assembly will decide to abolish capital punishment in the new constitutional draft.

·        Sadly, gender-based violence, including female genital mutilation, still takes place in Tanzania’s society.

What can be done to improve the protection of human rights in Tanzania? Is the constitution making process a chance for Tanzania, to better protect the rights of its people? The constitution will only provide effective protection if non-discrimination and equality are fundamental principles of the new draft and if minorities that are likely to be attacked or discriminated against are included in the constitution making process. Does the Constituent Assembly represent the diversity of the Tanzanian society? Are vulnerable persons being heard in the constitution making process?

What can be done to promote the rights of Tanzanian women? Can inequality and violence be eradicated by the constitution or do these problems have to be addressed socially and not legally?

Are “street justice”, mob violence and attacks against security personnel a consequence of the poor performance of the country’s security institutions or is this just an excuse of those who engage in violence?

Is the belief in witchcraft the result of poor education or is it simply part of Tanzania’s culture?

We are looking forward to hearing your opinions on these questions and other issues you consider to be important! 

Please read the following reports and articles for more details:

- The role of human rights in Katiba

- US faults EAC over human rights abuse

- Human rights reports by LHRC