On 16th May, 2014, a team from UDN and other Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) members met Mr. Kenneth Mugambe, the Director of the Budget Office in the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Developmen to discuss the Civil Society perspective of the 2014/15 National Budget.A number of CSOs were represented at the meeting, including; the Southern and Eastern African Trade, Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI) Uganda, African Youth Development Link (AYDL), the Anti-Corruption Coalition of Uganda (ACCU) etc. During the meeting, the Civil Society members presented a number of concerns, such as; i) Low allocations to the Agricultural Sector, ii) Continued low performance by URA, iii) Need for credit facilities for small scale farmers, iv) Worrying national debt accumulation levels and the need for compliance to controls by Government to deal with domestic arrears, v) Need for proper management of Proposed loans and contraction processes (the need to learn from past mistakes e.g. with CAIIP I & II) and vi) Need for more Local Government Transfers which are key forproper service delivery.
Among other issues, Mr. Kenneth Mugambe pointed out that concessional borrowing is beneficial when the money is used well and better returns achieved. He also noted that domestic arrears would be addressed within two years, with measures such as pre-paid meters for utilities in Government facilities being put in place. Mr. Mugambe further hailed UDN's campaign against the unjustified expenditure on Government vehicles and revealed that the Ministry of Finance, for instance, had placed a ban on further purchase of vehicles after an independent study by the Ministry also revealed that they were consuming a lot of funds.
The Director also informed the visiting Civil Society members that emphasized that Government had plans to organise quarterly joint press conferences regarding how public funds are being used and that Civil Society would be invited to these meetings. He added that Government was now tackling the Budget Transparency initiative with more vigilance in order to keep the public in the know. He called on other CSOs to actively participate in tracking of public resources.