The Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) is a coalition formed in 2004 to bring together CSOs at national and district levels to influence Government decisions on resource mobilization and utilization for equitable and sustainable development. CSBAG was created out of a desire to collectively influence government and effectively participate in setting national budget priorities. It was formed by a group of NGOs led by Uganda Debt Network (UDN), Uganda National NGO Forum, and Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE) and Oxfam GB in Uganda. Since 2004, CSOs in Uganda under CSBAG have been engaging in influencing the budget process to ensure that both the local and national budgets incorporate the views of the poor and that they are gender sensitive.
A Uganda with a people centered budget that dignifies humanity
Working towards ensuring that budgets at local and national levels are financed, designed, implemented and monitored to promote prudent and transparent allocation of national resources for the benefit of marginalized groups.
1. To influence Government decisions on resource mobilization and utilization for equitable and sustainable development.
2. To advocate for increased transparency and accountability in national priorities, financing and public spending at all levels.
3. To build and strengthen the capacity of CSBAG to carry out its mandate
oUR TRACK RECORD
Since 2004, the Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) has engaged in the budget process in an effort to incorporate the views of the poor and marginalized people, taking into account the gender sensitivity of government programmes. CSBAG has mobilized its members under the 9 Thematic Working Groups of Health, Education, Agriculture, JLOS, Accountability, Roads, Trade and Tourism, water and environment, Social Development to mainstream gender equality in the national resource allocation, mobilization and utilization. Below are specific cases on our work in advocating for a people centered budget that dignifies humanity.
1. Influencing Public Finance management: CSBAG’s core focus is to have government develop and implement Public Finance legislation and programmes that impact on the poor. In effect, the pressure mounted on Government since 2012 from both CSOs at national and local levels yielded results, as Government incorporated key CSO proposals on the Public Finance Management Act, 2015. CSBAG and its members including FOWODE specifically succeeded in making Uganda the first country in the world to have a Certificate for Gender and Equity in the Public Finance laws of Uganda.
2. Enhancing Citizens Participation in budget accountability work: CSBAG works through a Participatory Budget Club (PBC) model that empowers communities to interrogate; debate and demand for improved service delivery from the duty bearers. The PBCs are instrumental in tracking of service delivery at the district level. To date, we witness these community members where we operate capably putting their duty bearers to task to ensure that they deliver to citizens services that due to them in the right quality and quantity. In addition, increasingly, citizens are effectively shaping local government budget processes.
3. Linking Local budget advocacy to National budget processes: CSBAG works to increase synergies between CSBAG and other CSOs at national and local level for a stronger collective voice on pro-poor resource allocation and utilization. This strategy ensures that budget implementation challenges such as delayed receipt of funds, noncompliance to new finance reforms, poor service delivery and accountability; are effectively challenged by the CSOs at all levels. This worked successfully in our campaign against Taxing Agriculture inputs, the Public Finance Bill, 2012 and during our annual Budget Advocacy campaigns. These linkages and partnerships are vital to the Government budget performance monitoring work that CSBAG does at the Local Government level which started in the financial year 2014/15 and is to continue through to other financial years.
4. Increasing access to simplified Budget Information: CSBAG takes pride in the production of evidence-based, easy-to-read budget information materials that supports; legislators when debating the budget and helps CSOs’ build a stronger and effective budget advocacy. Key to this is the Annual “Citizens Budget”, Citizens Budget Guides, among others. Key documents that previously shaped our advocacy include the “7 Reasons Why Taxing Agriculture Is A Bad Idea”, a publication published and shared with legislators urging them to reject proposal to tax agriculture inputs, another key documents was the “14 Clauses To Consider When Debating The Public Finance Management Act” targeting legislators. CSBAG publications have enabled both CSOs, legislators effectively argue for our causes and they have shaped key government decisions on the budget and public finance management.
5. Capacity strengthening in budget analysis and advocacy: To ensure sustainable budget advocacy, CSBAG builds the capacity of its members to effectively analyse and engage the budget making process in Uganda. Between 2012 and 2015, a total of 250 CSO representatives have been trained in gender budgeting, budget tracking, the local government budget cycle, budget analysis, rights-based approach to public service delivery and other budget concepts. To date these CSOs are equipped with the right skill and knowledge to engage government on its budget proposals in the various. sectors
5. Influencing National and Local Government Budgets: Every Financial Year, CSBAG significantly contributes to shaping national budgets from a pro-poor perspective. Since inception, CSBAG mobilises member CSOs to analyse budgets and develop position papers on key sectors of the economy with essential issues concerning the poor incorporated. CSBAG has indeed re-directed the position of Government on key issues that concern ordinary citizens in the National Budgets. In conformity with this, for the Financial Year 2014/15 and 2015/16, 167 recommendations were made to 11 sectors and 70 were fully adopted by the Parliamentary Committees.