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MPs approve Shs3.8 trillion supplementary budget

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Parliament has approved supplementary funding for the Financial Year 2020/2021 worth Shs 3.815 trillion, in line with Article 156 (2) of the Constitution and Section 25 of the Public Finance Management Act.

The funding comes under two schedules – schedule one worth Shs1.363 trillion where the supplementary expenditure requests presented to the House does not require prior approval within the 3 per cent legal limit.

Schedule two of the supplementary funding worth Shs2.063 trillion, and an addendum to Schedule 2 that was laid before Parliament on 6 October 2020 worth Shs389.367 billion; both required prior approval of Parliament.

Parliament in May 2020, approved a total national budget of Shs45.49 trillion for the Financial Year 2020/2021, having appropriated Shs29.99 trillion, and Shs15.49 trillion approved as statutory expenditure.

Presenting a report to Parliament justifying the supplementary funding, Budget Committee chairperson, Hon. Amos Lugoloobi said the supplementary expenditure under schedule one for Financial Year 2020/2021, resulted from the supplementary expenditure for Financial Year 2019/2020 approved by Parliament on the 26 June 2020.

“Time would not allow these funds to be released during Financial Year 2019/2020 and have therefore, been released within the 3 per cent legal limit of Financial Year 2020121. The source of funding the supplementary has been indicated as additional borrowing, a matter that requires a separate resolution of Parliament,” said Lugoloobi.

He also called on government not to alter the original appropriation by Parliament, as a source funding the supplementary.

The Shs3.815 trillion supplementary funding will serve budgets of State House, agencies under the ministries of Finance, Agriculture, Foreign Affairs, Health, Trade Works and Transport Science, Technology and Innovation, Defence and Justice and Constitutional Affairs.

The funding will also cater for additional budgets for Kampala Capital City Authority, Uganda Revenue Authority, Uganda Prisons Service, National Medical Stores, National Agricultural Advisory Services, Director of Public Prosecutions, National Animal Genetic Resources Centre, Electoral Commission, as well as various central government and local government votes.

Speaking to the supplementary funding, Budadiri County West MP, Hon. Nathan Nandala-Mafabi queried the high amounts of money requested by different sectors of the country, to fund deficits.

He cited an additional funding of Shs110 billion to finance the Emyooga Fund, yet Shs120 billion had already been approved by Parliament in a previous supplementary budget.

“The leadership of the Microfinance Support Centre that is supposed to handle the Emyooga is in prison, and we know that Shs 22 billion for teachers is already missing. Who is going to manage this money?” asked Nandala-Mafabi.

He also queried why an additional Shs50 billion under schedule two had been requested by the Health Ministry for Covid-19 response, yet Shs 89 billion had been previously approved by the House.

“With the money we appropriated for Covid-19, those who were above the age of six would have received masks at least three masks by now. Why should we appropriate more money before we get the Shs89 billion?” the Budadiri County West legislator asked.

State finance minister for planning, Hon. David Bahati, said the money provided for in schedule one had already been disbursed to the beneficiary sectors, and thus was not double appropriation.

“Schedule one (Shs1.3 trillion) has already been implemented and spent as requested. Bringing it before the House was a technical way of handling it according to the law,” Bahati added.

Bugiri Municipality MP. Hon. Asuman Basalirwa asked whether the Budget Committee had scrutinised the agreement between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), to implement strategic infrastructure projects in the latter country.

According to the Hon. Lugoloobi, the Ministry of Works and Transport requested for Shs200 billion to construct and maintain 223 kilometres of road network connecting Uganda and the DRC, in order to boost trade between the two countries, ease business, and improve people to people connectivity and security.

Basalirwa said the funding to the project was all that was public information, but other details of the agreement were not known by anybody else.

“I say so because so many times, Uganda has had agreements with other governments and international organisations and it has turned out that Uganda has had a bad deal,” said Basalirwa.

The total recurrent expenditure of Shs1.3 trillion shillings under the supplementary expenditure in schedule one, will also benefit 131 districts in the country, whereas four districts will benefit from a development funding of Shs55 billion, under the same schedule.

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