Parliament has this evening approved a 29 trillion shillings national budget for the financial year 2017/18.

Earlier on, Parliament’s Budget Committee has cautioned government against having a huge Public debt, saying the current public debt situation is unsustainable.

In a 91 Page report on the Ministerial policy Statements, presented by the committee chairperson Amos Lugoloobi, members warn that the debt burden makes the country highly vulnerable, to the extent that the Budget can no longer adequately provide for quality education and health services.

According to the report, out of the shs 28.99 tn Budget for FY 2017/18, only shs 12.9 tn (44.8%) will be available for discretionary spending, while the balance, shs 16 tn is earmarked for debt servicing and project support.

The committee also noted that no new loan request should be approved by Parliament for any Ministry, Department or Agency whose total absorption of loans is less than 50 percent, so as to curb poor preparations and funding of non-priority development projects.

Government has been urged to explore crop financing interventions and buffer stocking so as to stimulate increased agricultural output and employment.

Members of the budget committee note that there is a significant decline in economic activity across the country, evidenced by lower agriculture and industrial output, closedown of large business enterprises and increasing unemployment.

The members have also asked government to make deliberate and direct interventions to boost industrialisation and to fast track the boosting of local content in big procurements.

In the next financial year government has earmarked only 863.4 billion shillings for Agriculture.