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Uganda: MPs asked to exempt tourism sector from budget cuts

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Tourism has a high transformative power for the Ugandan economy if fully exploited

KAMPALA, Uganda, January 13, 2022 / APO Group / –

Members of Parliament have been asked to exempt tourism ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) from budget cuts to renew the sector affected by COVID-19.

Upon presenting the budget framework document for the tourism sector for fiscal year 2022/23 before the Parliamentary Committee for Tourism, Trade and Industry on Thursday, January 13, 2022, H.E. Bahinduka Martin Mugarra, Minister of State for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, was dismayed by the persistent lack of funding and budget cuts on consumer goods in tourism.

“The allocation to the tourism sector has historically been below the threshold required for the industry to play its role in a meaningful way. A sector that generates around 10 percent of GDP cannot be continuously allocated less than 0.4 percent of the national budget, ”said Mugarra.

The tourism sector has lost more than SHS 22 billion financially in the last two years due to budget cuts on consumer goods.

In the next fiscal year 2022/23, the Tourism Development Program has a provision of Medium-Term Expenditure Framework of Shs176.9 billion, which is a reduction of Shs20.5 billion that the sector has as a budget approved in 2020 /twenty-one.

According to the Minister, his efforts to achieve a faster recovery of the tourism sector are being frustrated by inadequate budgets and he subsequently asked the Committee to exempt the sector from budget cuts and also fund the sector’s key unfunded priorities by an amount of 87,200 million Shs.

The tourism sector demanded that its budget cap for 2022/23 be increased to Shs 259.1 billion from the current Shs 176.9 billion if they want to renew the sector that was severely affected by COVID-19. The ministry revealed that foreign tourist arrivals fell 69.3% to 473,085 from 1,542,620 visitors in 2019, causing foreign exchange earnings to fall from US $ 1.6 billion in 2019 to US $ 500 million in 2019. 2020.

“Tourism has a high transformative power for the Ugandan economy if it is fully exploited. If we can attract 100,000 additional tourists to the country, our tourism exports would increase by US $ 98 million and add one percent to GDP, ”said Mugarra.

The Committee promised full support to improve budget allocations for the tourism sector on the condition that they come up with creative and strategic interventions to attract domestic and foreign tourists.

“It is a great concern that the tourism sector runs into budget deficits everywhere, but the sector has the potential to prosper. We will support you. We can cut money elsewhere and make sure tourism is fully funded, ”said Hon. David Mugole Mauku (NRM, Kabweri County) said.

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