Shaping Uganda’s fiscal policies from a people centered perspective
Since 2004, the Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) has continued to bring together Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) at national and district Levels to influence Government decisions, on resource mobilization and utilization for equitable and sustainable development. CSBAG has a membership of 100 CSOs with 45% of these from the sub national level.
HOW WE WORK
CSBAG works through an outreach structure from grassroots to the National level. In the districts of Kibaale, Abim, Agago, Sheema, Rubanda, Kanungu, Bushenyi, Pader, Budaka, Kakumiro, Kabale and Kibuku 1200 citizens are organised into Participatory Budget Clubs that engage the planning and budget process at the lower local governments.
CSBAG members work through 10 Thematic Working Groups of Health, Education, Agriculture, Energy, JLOS, Accountability, Roads, Trade and Tourism, Water and Environment, Social Development to ensure National resource allocation, mobilization and utilization is people centred and gender sensitive.
In 2017, CSBAG established 9 Regional Budget Coalitions (RBCs) composed of CSOs operating in the regions of Kigezi, Bukedi, Sebei, Soroti, Bugisu, Busoga, Bunyoro, Tooro, and Ankole. This is part of our broad objective of increasing representation as well as consolidating the subnational CSO voice and action across the country for a people-centred budget. Through these RBCs, CSBAG for the first time mobilised 127 sub-national CSOs from 61 districts to engage various budget advocacy interventions in 2017.
CSBAG in 2016 partnered with like-minded MPs and established a Parliamentary Forum on Public Finance Management to have Ugandaâ€™s Parliament at the forefront of supporting prudent Public Finance Management reforms.
ACHIEVEMENTS REGISTERED SO FAR…
Influencing National and Local Government Budgets
Every Financial Year, CSBAG mobilises member CSOs to contribute to shaping national budgets from a pro-poor and gender perspective. CSBAG has indeed re-directed the position of Government on key issues that concern ordinary citizens in the National Budget. In conformity with this, for the last 5 financial years (FY 2014/15-FY 2018/19), 503 CSO alternative budget proposals were made to 11 sectors and 177 were fully adopted by the Parliamentary Committees. The best uptake performance has so far been registered in FY 2017/18 where 52% of our alternative budget proposals were adopted by Parliament of Uganda.
|Financial Years||Adopted budget proposals||Submitted CSBAG proposal||% rate|
Enhancing Citizens Participation in budget accountability work
Citizen Involvement in the budget process is critical to ensuring that services that are due to them are provided in the right quantities, quality and time. Through the CSBAG Participatory Budget Club (PBC) model, citizens are empowered to demand for improved service delivery from the duty bearers. In 2015 alone, a total of 42 accountability and service delivery issues were addressed by duty bearers because of the citizens’ vigilance in Abim, Agago, Sheema, Kibaale and Kibuku district. 57 % of these were in the Health Sector, followed by 43% in Education, the Justice Law and Order and Sector and Roads.
Strengthening CSO linkages and collaboration with Government at National and Local Level
To date, CSBAG is member to 9 Government public finance management bodies at National and Local level. We have utilized these spaces to bring to the fore the citizens voice on public finance management issues. In 2015, CSBAG was appointed to the Public Expenditure and Management Committee (PEMCOM) chaired by Ministry of Finance. In 2017, CSBAG was appointed to the Economic Management Group also chaired by the Ministry of Finance. The EMG’s core focus is to support Government improve its overall economic management. Still, our respective strategic engagements with Local Governments, IMF and World Bank on initiatives around Public Expenditure Management and fiscal transparency have continued to improve. In 2018, Ministry of Health Invited CSBAG to the National Immunization Fund Board and the Ministry of Finance made CSBAG member to the Private Sector Working Group.
Building linkages for effective citizen led advocacy
CSBAG works to increase synergies between CSOs at national and local level for a stronger collective voice on pro-poor resource allocation and utilization. This has been effective in our public campaigns against-through these linkages we ably mobilized over 4million signatures to Petition the President over Tax exemption move by MPs in 2016, in 2015 we mobilized citizens who petitioned Parliament and it dropped Government proposal to tax Agricultural inputs. In 2018, CSBAG mobilized citizens, private sector, CSOs to campaign against the 1% tax on mobile money transactions (sending, receiving and withdrawing). This campaign saw Parliament of Uganda withdrawing the Excise Duty (Amendment) Act, 2018 and revising the tax to 0.5% only on withdrawals. These linkages and partnerships are also vital to the CSO Government budget performance monitoring work that CSBAG does at the Local Government level which started in the Financial Year 2014/15.
Increasing access to dependable, simplified and analyzed information for effective budget advocacy
Whereas Government of Uganda in 2015 improved its ranking in open budget systems by the Open Budget Index-2015, Uganda’s budget documents are still inaccessible especially at Local Government level, and they are complex and written in an exclusive language that is difficult for an ordinary citizen to comprehend. To reverse these trends, CSBAG continues to produce simplified, timely and analysed budget information. These publications (available on the CSBAG website) have enabled citizens to use this information to shape key government decisions on the budget and public finance management .