Statement by the Chairperson at the Gender and Equity Budgeting stakeholders’ forum at Sheraton Hotel, Kampala
Statement by the Chairperson at the Gender and Equity Budgeting stakeholders’ forum at Sheraton Hotel, Kampala
Mrs. Sylvia Muwebwa Ntambi giving her remarks at the stakeholders’ forum.
Lead Government Agencies on gender and equity planning and budgeting with support from DFID organized a Gender and Equity Budgeting Stakeholders’ Forum to share achievements made through the SURGE programme at the Sheraton Hotel on Thursday 10th May, 2018. It was intended to discuss a way forward for scaling up capacity building in gender and equity budgeting and to launch the National Curriculum and Training Manuals for technical officers.
EOC was represented by the Chairperson who made a statement on the progress made thus far on gender and equity budgeting by Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
The Rt. Speaker of Parliament of the Republic of Uganda
Hon. Minister of Finance Planning and Economic Development
The Hon. Minister of Gender, Labour & Social Development,
The Representative, UNDP,
The Representative, UN Women,
The Representative of Office of the High Commission for Human Rights,
Head of DFID Uganda,
The UNHCR Representative in Uganda,
My colleagues from the Equal Opportunities Commission,
The Honourable Members of Parliament Present,
Representatives of MDAs
The Civil Society Organizations,
The Media Fraternity,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Rt. Hon Speaker and our distinguished guests, on behalf of the Consortium that includes the Equal Opportunities Commission, Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED), Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development (MGLSD), SURGE and the National Task Force on Gender and Equity. I express gratitude to everyone here present for having chosen to be part of this very important Gender and Equity Budgeting Stakeholder’s Forum amidst your multiple obligations. Most unreservedly, your choice signals patriotism for a transformed Ugandan Society from a Peasant to a Modern and Prosperous Country within 30 years and a much better Uganda all the years ahead.
This reflection workshop is in accordance with the Mandate of the Equal Opportunities Commission which is to give effect to the State’s constitutional mandate to eliminate discrimination and inequalities against any individual or group of persons on the ground of sex, age, race, colour, ethnic origin, tribe, birth, creed or religion, health status, social or economic standing, political opinion or disability, and taking affirmative action in favour of groups marginalized on the basis of gender, age, disability or any other reason created by history, tradition or custom for the purpose of redressing imbalances which exist against them; among other related matters.
Enactment of the Public Finance Management Act, 2015 that bears 3 provisions on gender and equity compliance (sections 9 (6) (a) and (b); 13 (11) (i) and (ii); and 13 (15) (i) and (ii), was a blessing as it emphasised the mandate of the Equal Opportunities Commission.
Government commitment to enhance access to equal opportunities through gender and equity budgeting is tandem with the 2030 global overarching framework that aims at equitably addressing the needs of the current and future population in an inclusive and sustainable manner. It cannot be an easy road for Uganda to achieve the 17 SDG targets by “leaving no one behind” or meet the challenges of the 21st century without the full and equal participation of all its inhabitants - women and men, girls and boys, the rich and poor, rural and the urban inhabitants, children, youth and the older persons, persons with disabilities, ethnic minorities among others.
Rt. Hon Speaker and our distinguished guests, through G&E planning and Budgeting we hope to achieve our Uganda Vision 2040 whose ultimate goal is, A Transformed Ugandan Society from a Peasant to a Modern and Prosperous Country within 30 years. Every Ugandan is a shareholder of this land and it’s against the principles of equal opportunities for the disadvantaged groups to be discriminated and marginalised. To be more specific; Economic status should not be a requirement to access the best education. We want to see even the poor, Persons with Disabilities, and Orphans, learners in hard to reach places, Islands among others also accessing the best education in their respective locations. When it comes to health care, a Ugandan should not lose life because they cannot afford the prescribed Medicine or the prescribed medicine is not among the essential medicines stocked by the Ministry of health.
In accordance with Article 32 (1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda provides for affirmative action in favour of marginalised groups. This is a cardinal Principle under Gender and Equity Budgeting. Uganda’s population is estimated to be 37.7million people (UBOS 2017) out of which over 80% constitute the marginalised and vulnerable groups i.e. women (52%), youth (38%), orphans and other vulnerable children (55%), older persons (4%), ethnic minorities (1%), persons with disabilities (12%), the rural and urban poor (21.4%) and persons living with HIV/AIDS, among others.
Rt. Hon. Speaker, as the country strives to transform Ugandans through among other strategies enhancing the average income earned by a Ugandan per year (per capita income) from 1.8 million (2010) to 34 million in 2040, it’s critical to have interventions that uplift the incomes of the less earners who are the marginalised which can be realised through gender and equity budgeting. Rt. Hon. Speaker, there several other targets under the Vision 2040 to which gender and equity planning and budgeting is instrumental for their realization. Among these include; reducing poverty prevalence from 24.5% (2010) to 5% by 2040, increasing the country’s tax base, have 94% of the labour force employed, reducing child and maternal mortality among others.
Rt. Hon Speaker and our distinguished guests as we reflect on some of the achievements registered to date, I wish to note that beyond the normative requirement to eliminate discrimination and promote inclusive development in society, there is empirical evidence showing the negative consequences if a country fails to embrace gender and equity budgeting; and among the consequences may include;
- Political insecurity more especially when certain groups of people are excluded from the development process. The EOC is expected to check for inclusiveness in all development frameworks
- Efforts dedicated towards poverty alleviation will not realise desired targets. The Poor will get poorer and the rich will get richer.
- The tax base of the country will remain constrained due to the fact that the vulnerable population constitutes the majority and their exclusion from development programs renders them economically inactive
- Exclusion breeds unbalanced growth and development with certain locations or regions dominating others.
- Loss of trust from government by the People
- The purchasing power may also remain low due to the fact that incomes will be in the hands of a few people.
- Unemployment will increase due to the limited opportunities that will be created by the few individuals.
- Crime rate will increase as disadvantaged citizens will resort to survival for the fittest using rudimentary and constitutional ways of making ends meet.
- Government would end up incurring huge expenditures on social protection programs and social services due to high poverty levels and inability of the populace to afford basic needs.
Rt. Hon Speaker, Hon Ministers and Distinguished guests, since enactment of Public Finance Management Act, the Equal Opportunities Commission has worked with varies actors majority of whom were invited for this forum and in addition to the achievements shared by SURGE, I also wish to bring to your notice that gender and equity materials have been developed to support the process and among these include;
i. 8 sector specific gender and equity compacts
ii. Assessment tools for both MDAs and Local Governments
iii. Gender and equity guide for Parliament
iv. Assessors Guide;
v. National Compendium on sector/vote specific gender and equity issues;
vi. viii. Gender and equity simplified messages showing day to practical application of gender and equity budgeting
Rt. Hon Speaker, Hon Ministers and Distinguished guests, to date, the Commission has assessed four sets of Sector Budget Framework Papers and Ministerial Policy Statements (2015/2016, 2016/2017, 2017/2018 and 2018/2019). In this stakeholder’s forum I wish to share some key highlights for a few sectors starting with;
i. The Commission noted that the Health Sector Budget for the FY 2018/2019 has been reduced by 136.64 billion i.e. from 1.85 trillion to 1.714 amidst the health challenges being faced by the country most of which relate to gender and equity i.e. maternal mortality, drug stock outs, low staffing, lack of equipment, Lack of housing for health workers, Limited Infrastructure Development (59 Districts do not have general Hospitals, 29 Constituencies do not have Health Centre IVs, 93 sub counties do not have any Government Health Facilities and 225 only have a HC II); among others. Government allocation for health as percentage of the total Government budget has been averaged at about 8% from 2010/11 to 2016/17, which is 1.8 percentage points below the Health Sector Development Plan (HSDP) target of 9.8%. These are also still far below the 15% threshold of the Abuja Declaration (2001) hence constrain efforts to equitable health service delivery.
ii. During the assessment, the Commission also noted that UBTS planned to reduce on the units of blood collected for transfusion was due to inadequate funding. In the FY 2015/2016, Uganda Blood Transfusion Services targeted 266,400 units of blood and 280,145 in the FY 2016/2017. On the contrary, in the FY 2018/2019, the targeted units of blood to be collected (240,000) were reduced. It’s important to note that on several occasions various hospitals have experienced blood shortage whose effect mainly affects the vulnerable.
iii. As you are aware, government through the Ministry of Health has made commitment to focus on Health Centre III and ensure they provide effective and efficient services to our people. However, there is need for a clear plan on how these HC IIIs are going to be equitably up graded.
i. Best education has turned out to be for those in better economic class. Economic status should not be a requirement to access the best education. We desire to see even the poor, PWDs, and Orphans, learners in hard to reach areas, Islands among others also accessing the best education in their respective locations. Such commitments in the sector BFP were not satisfactory.
- Analysis of the PLE, UCE and UACE UNEB results over the years reveals that all the worst performing sub regions are located in the Eastern Region and these are; Elgon, Busoga, Teso and Bukedi. These are followed by West-Nile, Lango and Acholi sub Regions. In addition, the Eastern Region contributes 73% (22) of the 30 poor performing districts of which 6 of the districts are in Busoga (Iganga, Luuka, Bugiri, Kaliro, Mayuge and Buyende). However, during the assessment, the Commission noted that there was no explicit commitment by the Ministry to address the above performance inequalities.
- Secondary school enrolment rate has remained below 35% over the years. Limited access to secondary schools is among the concerns. The sector highlighted no funding for construction of secondary schools in sub counties without any government secondary school to improve access to secondary education.
- There is also a crisis of science teachers with reference made to the Commission’s audits more especially in the rural schools and hard to reach areas which compromises equal learning opportunities. The sector highlighted this gap as a non-funded priority.
- Other concerns where the sector’s commitments were lacking included; school drop outs, low completion rates, girl child pregnancy, and sexual violence against girl children by teachers among others.
i. According to the 2014 National Population and Housing Census, a total of 1,064,780 older persons (males 487,020 and females 577,760) were in the age group of 65 and above (as well as 60 and above for the case of Karamoja sub-region) most of whom ought to benefit from the programme. The 2018/2019 sector BFP only targets 153,704 (14%) of the eligible beneficiaries.
ii. Inadequacy of resource allocation is a serious discrimination problem for almost all the programs being implemented by the social development sector.
Works and Transport
Under the works and transport sector, the Commission wishes to bring to your notice the following concerns;
i. First, a lot of resources are being invested in the sector to infrastructure development. All the roads outside trading centres do not have provisions for pedestrians and sometimes cyclists. On several occasions school children are found walking in trenches while going to school.
ii. The Sector is commended for the effort towards upgrading the transport network. However, there is need to allocate resources and subsequently ensure that all districts are accessible by tarmac and also ensure regular rehabilitation of community roads both urban and rural areas. There also still very few islands that can be accessed with a ferry. For instance Buvuma has 52 islands of which only one is accessible by a ferry, Kalangala has 87 Islands of which about 67 are habitable but only One Island is accessible with a ferry.
- It was also observed that UNRA takes care of 15% of the roads in the country but on contrary receive 85% of the funds allocated towards road construction
- Lastly, there have been allegations that roads in some districts get completed faster as compared to other districts. The sector should ensure equitable funding and fairness in the project completion rates.
Rt. Hon Speaker, Hon Ministers and Distinguished guests, the overall national sector BFP compliance to Gender and Equity requirements for the FY 2016/2017 was 57% and 60% in the FY 2017/2018. In the conclude assessments, overall compliance improved to 61%. On the other hand, the national compliance of Ministerial Policy Statements with gender and equity requirements was 53% and 50% in 2016/2017 and 2017/2018. In the concluded assessments, compliance improved 58%. As stated above, the compliance levels are still very low and this is attributed to limited capacity among players within the various MDAs and LGs. Consequently, to realise gender and equity budgeting, it is critical that we as cardinal actors put more effort on building the capacity of MDAs and Local Governments.
- Development of gender and Equity Compacts for the remaining nine Sectors. These are;
a) Accountability Sector
b) Energy and Mineral Development Sector
c) Lands, Housing & Urban Development Sector
d) Legislature Sector
e) Public Administration Sector
f) Public Sector Management
g) Security Sector
h) Social Development Sector
i) Water and Environment Sector
j) Science, Technology and Innovation Sector
- Development of an online system on Gender and Equity Planning and Budgeting
- Training of all Sectors and Local Governments (All key Technical and Political Leaders) on gender and equity planning and budgeting
- Appointment of Desk Officers attached to respective sectors to support gender and equity planning and budgeting
- Tracking implementation of gender and equity commitments made by respective votes
- Enforcing compliance to gender and equity in other frameworks
- Development of a statistics strategy on gender and equity
- Development of popular versions of the various resource materials
- Training all the Committees of Parliament on their gender and equity oversight Role
- Development of G&E issues for address under National Development Plan III
Rt. Hon Speaker and Distinguished guests, as I conclude, allow me recognize the role various stakeholders have played to implement gender and equity planning and budgeting in accordance with the provisions of the Public Finance Management Act, 2015. On behalf of all the Gender and Equity Actors, I wish to acknowledge the various stakeholders for the selfless support extended towards this noble cause.
First, acknowledgment is extended to the Government of Uganda for the commitment to towards Gender and Equity Budgeting. Special appreciation goes to Parliament and the various Committees namely: Gender Labour and Social Development; Standing Committee on Equal Opportunities; Finance, Planning and Economic Development and the Budget Committee for their continued support in the implementation of the PFMA Gender and Equity Provisions.
Special appreciation goes to DFID for the financial support extended through Maxwell Stamp PLC, London under “Support Uganda Response to Gender Equality (SURGE)”. I commend the collective effort made by the development partners that support gender and equity programmes among which includes; UN Women, EU, USAID, UNDP, UN Human Rights, and DGF/GIZ among others. Now that DFID has withdrawn funding we seek your usual support in addressing the financial gap left behind.
Gratitude also goes to the technical representatives from the Government line Ministries, Departments, Agencies and Civil Society Organisations for their respective contribution.
Rt. Hon Speaker and Distinguished guests, the Equal Opportunities Commission is committed to work with all stakeholders to take gender and equity planning and budgeting to another level in the spirit of promoting equal opportunities for all so as to realize a society free from all forms of discrimination and wherein all persons have equal opportunities in accessing goods and services.
Finally and once again Rt. Hon Speaker and Distinguished guests, I thank you, I thank everyone for sparing the time for this important process. Most unreservedly, I trust that at the end of today we shall have strategies whose implementation will advance Uganda to greater heights.
For God and my Country
Sylvia Muwebwa Ntambi,
EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES COMMISSION