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BUDGET: Gov’t to cut billions off travel, focus on agriculture

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#UGBUDGET20
✳ Sh45.5 trillion
✳ Cuts on travel, conferences
✳ Security Sh4.5 trillion
✳ Works Sh5.8 trillion
✳ Govt to borrow Sh11trillion

✅ 2020 – Sh45 trillion
✅ 2019 – Sh40 trillion
✅ 2018 – Sh32 trillion
✅ 2017 – Sh22 trillion
✅ 2016 – Sh20 trillion

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Government will announce a cut of billions of shillings off travel and conferences and ensure that ministries, departments and agencies become efficient as it faces limited funding to run the 2020/21 financial year budget to be read on Thursday.

Also, the government will seek to use agriculture as a resilient sector that will anchor the country’s growth next financial year as uncertainty over coronavirus crisis lingers on.

Margaret Kakande, the head of the Budget Monitoring Unit (BMAU) at the Ministry of Finance said the government will step back on sectors like tourism, giving it limited resources because it is now next to impossible to attract any visitors.

The tourism sector will be allocated 197 billion Shillings, a slight improvement from 193 billion Shillings in the 2019/20 financial despite it being the most battered by the effects of COVID-19. Kakande said that the government has cut billions off all ministries’ travel budget both for inland and foreign trips.

This started early from April with most agencies having their travel budgets cut to ‘zero’. Kakande said this will continue with the new financial year. Travel for different officials takes more than 100 billion Shillings in a particular financial year.

The budget which is expected to be at least 45.5 trillion Shillings will look to address three things – support the recovery from the coronavirus crisis, disaster-prone areas and then bear in mind of the 2021 general election.

Finance Minister Matia Kasaija will announce the biggest allocations to works and transport, security, interest payments, education and health in that order.

Works and Transport in particular will be allocated 5.8 trillion Shillings accounting for 12.5 percent of the budget. This is a slight drop from the 6.4 trillion Shillings the sector got in the 2019/20 financial year. Still it taking the biggest chunk is an indicator that the government hasn’t moved away from its focus on roads despite having a health pandemic. Kakande said some of the projects have been committed and it’s a legal obligation that the government continues paying them.

Security will be allocated 4.5 trillion Shillings but much of this money is classified. Interest payments, the money government pays to lenders for lending their money will be 4 trillion Shillings up from 3 trillion Shillings last year while the Health sector will get 2.7 trillion Shillings a slight improvement from the 2.5 trillion in the 2019/20 budget.

Kasaija will also announce a wide range cut in taxes in the push to recover from the coronavirus crisis but also appear to appease the 2021 general election voters. These include most agriculture inputs, cooking gas and processed milk.

Allan Mugisha, an auditor at Ernst and Young, said some of these cuts are good for the environment and boost the agriculture production. Of interest in the budget will be the source of funding. Kakande said domestic taxes and international taxes have been cut by the closure of businesses, borders and limited consumption.

She said they don’t expect a lot of grants from donors as their own countries are also suffering from coronavirus impact.

The major source of funding will be borrowing, she said. According to figures presented by Ernst and Young, the government will borrow up to 11 trillion Shillings from external sources for the 2020/21 budget. It expects grants of 1.7 trillion Shillings.

The money will go to both budget and project support.  The government hopes to raise 33 trillion Shillings from domestic sources.

Original Post: Independent

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FARM NEWS

Govt to import 10 million vaccines to control cattle disease

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Entebbe, Uganda.  Government is set to import 10 million doses of vaccines to enable scaling up of ring vaccination as the fight to eradicate Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in Ugandan cattle enters a new phase.

Cabinet chaired by President Yoweri Museveni on Monday also proposed that once ring vaccination is complete, farmers start paying for the FMD vaccines in a compulsory vaccination scheme, and thereafter, trade in animal products, will be restricted to those adhering to the plan.

Minister of Agriculture, Animal industry and Fishers Frank Tumwebazwe on Monday shared the resolutions after Cabinet laid out strategies to contain the disease that has hit 36 districts.

Cabinet agreed to create a revolving fund to enable procurement of sufficient FMD vaccines to facilitate compulsory bi-annual vaccination of the susceptible domestic animal population. It also approved a plan for farmers to pay for the vaccines while government covers other costs.

“Vaccination is to be made compulsory. Proof of vaccination will be a precondition for any farmer to sell any animal products,” said Minister Tumwebazwe.

“I appeal to fellow livestock farmers and stakeholders to understand and appreciate these effort as we steadily move to eradicate FMD in Uganda just like other animal diesases like rinderpest wre eradicated.”

Ntoroko veterinary disease surveillance team conducting FMD surveillance and sample collection

The 36 districts currently affected and under quarantine are Budaka, Bukedea, Bukomansimbi, Bunyangabu, Butaleja, Fortportal City, Gomba, Ibanda, Isingiro, Kabarole, Kasanda, Kayunga, Kazo, Kiboga, Kibuku, Kiruhura, Kumi, Kyankwanzi, Kyegegwa, Kyotera, Luuka, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Mbarara, Mbarara City, Mityana, Mpigi, Mubende, Nakaseke, Nakasongola, Namisindwa, Ngora, Ntungamo, Rakai, Rwampara and Sembabule.

All districts neighboring the affected districts are at high risk, under strict surveillance, and the authorities have been advised to remain vigilant.

These include Apac, Amolatar, Bugiri, Bushenyi, Butaleja, Hoima, Iganga, Jinja, Kabale, Kaberamaido, Kaliro, Kamuli, Kamwenge, Katakwi, Kasese, Kibaale, Kiboga, Kyenjojo, Mbale, Masindi, Mayuge, Mukono, Namalemba, Nakapiripirit,
Palisa, Rukungiri, Sironko, Wakiso and Soroti.

Tumwebaze assured farmers that in the next one or two months, his Ministry expects to receive and dispatch 2.3 million doses of the FMD vaccine to the affected and susceptible districts for ring vaccination scale-up.

He told parliament earlier that as a way of increasing availability of Foot and Mouth Disease vaccines in the country,
Uganda’s National Agiculture Research Organisation (NARO) has started the process of formulating and developing an FMD vaccine for Uganda.

Source: The independent

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FARM NEWS

Farmers losing Shs4 trillion due to livestock diseases

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ScienceDirect has revealed that farmers in Uganda lose more than $1.1b (Shs4.1 trillion) in aggregated annual direct and indirect loss due to the rising spread of tick-borne animal challenges, with the commonest and economically damaging tick-borne disease being the East Coast Fever.

The livestock industry in Uganda and its productivity continue to be threatened by a number of diseases many of which are tick-borne related.

This, Dr Anna Rose Ademun, the Ministry of Agriculture commissioner animal health, said results from arcaricides that have become resistant, thus the need to ensure collaboration and get solutions to the problem.

“There are ongoing efforts by the Agriculture Ministry, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation to support diagnosis of tick resistance to acaricides at regional laboratory centres but this is not enough,” she said during the livestock industry key stakeholders meeting in Kampala, which had been convened to discuss and prioritise areas for tick control.

The stakeholders included veterinarians, extension staff, farmers, processors and government representatives.

Ministry of Agriculture is already working on the Managing Animal Health and Acaricides for a Better Africa Initiative, which seeks to, among others, provide sustainable solutions to enable small-scale farmers maximise the potential of their cattle by developing and practicing methods that can successfully manage tick infections in cattle.

During the meeting, the TickAcademy App, which will support farmers in managing tick infestations was also pre-launched.

By the end of January, farmers and extension workers will be able to access the app’s educational content, which includes simple-to-watch films, to help them become knowledgeable about tick control.

Mr Enrique Hernández Pando, the GALVmed head of commercial development and impact, said the Managing Animal Health and Acaricides for a Better Africa Initiative will be important in tackling acaricide resistance challenges as well as help farmers and animal health officers to access creative methods of addressing the problem of acaricide resistance.

During the meeting, stakeholders jointly agree to train and sensitise field staff and farmers about tick management strategies that work, as well as strengthen the diagnostic infrastructure and testing capabilities for tick resistance and other animal health-related concerns.

Others will involve making it easier for farmers to obtain credit from savings institutions run by farmer groups at a reasonable cost so they may purchase specialized equipment for applying pesticides.

Mr Nishal Gunpath, the Elanco Animal Health country director south and sub-Saharan Africa, said they will support the Initiative to drive livestock in a better direction, noting that it will also help small-scale livestock farmers to maximise their potential.

Original Source: Daily Monitor

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FARM NEWS

Ibanda imposes livestock quarantine to curb anthrax

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Ibanda, Uganda.  Authorities in Ibanda district have enforced a quarantine on the movement of cattle and, the sale of animal products following an outbreak of anthrax.

According to the Ibanda District Chief Administrative Officer Ruhemba Kweronda, the district has registered sporadic cases of anthrax disease in Humans who are suspected to have handled meat from infected dead animals.

Kweronda says the disease that was first noticed in November last year was reported in Rugaaga 1 and IV villages of Keihangara Sub County, where nine people who confessed to having slaughtered a dead animal tested positive for Anthrax.

He adds that early this month one person from Mbonwa Parish Rukiri Sub County tested positive and currently 12 people from Kakoma are showing signs. He also said that two animals died abruptly in Kigarama ward Ibanda Municipality and samples have been collected and taken to the laboratory.

According to Kweronda, all slaughter activities and movement of livestock will be temporarily enforced for one month in Ibanda Municipality and Ibanda South Constituency.

He says other measures put in place to curb the spread of the disease include registering all meat handlers in the district, enforcing the requirement by all cattle traders to have cattle trading licenses issued by the Ministry of Animal Husbandry, carrying out ring vaccination of all suspected animal species in areas of Keihangara sub county Bisheshe Division, Rukiri Sub County and Kagongo division, but also continue sensitization and surveillance activities.

Dr Hillary Arinaitwe, the District Veterinary Officer says that they have written to the Ministry of Agriculture demanding vaccines.

In December, authorities in Kyotera district enforced a complete ban on the movement of livestock and its products to halt the spread of Anthrax.

For nearly a month, the district has grappled with a rare outbreak of Anthrax. This outbreak has claimed at least six lives and led to several hospitalizations.

Anthrax is a zoonotic caused by Bacillus anthracis, a spore-like bacteria that produces strong toxins that are dangerous to animals and humans. Ruminants such as cows, goats, and sheep can quickly die with their carcasses showing little signs of infection but in human beings, symptoms begin with a flu-like illness, raised boil-like lesions on the skin.

Meanwhile, officials in Kiruhura District have extended the closure of four animal markets to control the spread of foot and mouth disease in the district.

The four markets are Nyakasahara, Kyiebuza, Kyeshama livestock markets, and Kitura goat Market.

In the Circular from the Kiruhura District Chief Administrative Officer Charles Kiberu Nsubuga, to all lower local council chairpersons dated 12th January 2024, they should ensure continued enforcement of the directive.

Original Source URN via : The Independent

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