The security sector has continued to get a lion’s share of the national budget with Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs taking a large share of the Shs52.7 trillion budgets for 2023/24 financial year.
Yesterday, Parliament passed the 2023/2024 National Budget following intense debate. According to the budget, the Ministry of Defence was allocated Shs3.8 trillion, followed by Uganda National Roads Authority with Shs2.4 trillion.
The Defence Ministry lost Shs1 billion it had wanted for the construction of the defence museum, due to government policy placing a freeze on multi-year projects.
The budget indicates that Shs21.4 trillion is set aside for statutory expenditure, which covers items such as treasury operations totaling Shs18.9 trillion, pensions and gratuity for retired civil servants amounting to Shs856.2 billion, among others.
State House got Shs417.9 billion, despite the Opposition’s vicious attempt to have it slashed down. During the plenary, MPs rejected a proposed provision for the Directorate of Ethics and Integrity in the Office of the President totaling to Shs8.5 billion for curbing the vice of homosexuality and pornography among the youth.
MPs also plucked Shs30 billion from UNRA following the agency’s failure to rapidly absorb funds allocated towards the construction of the Hoima-Wanseko Road.
The Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development wanted an increase of Shs10 billion to their workshops and seminars budget, which MPs rejected. Parliament also stopped a similar increment of Shs10 billion to the ministry’s travel inland vote.
Kampala Capital City Authority wins big after scooping Shs66 billion from the Uganda Road Fund to cater for the capital city’s dilapidated roads and drainage systems, which in the recent past attracted angry reactions from the public.
Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities lost Shs15.7 billion it had asked to finance conservation efforts, but MPs rejected the idea, saying the allocation was made because the ministry was not collecting any Non-Tax Revenue (NTR) during the #CovidD-19 pandemic, and that since tourism has resumed, it should be able to finance its activities to pre-pandemic levels.
Domestic spy agency, Internal Security Organisation, gets Shs13 billion more to support intelligence gathering, while the External Security Organisation has been allocated Shs5 billion to support intelligence gathering.
The Ministry of Health has been given an extra Shs18.5 billion for the rehabilitation and maintenance of health centre IIs and IIIs across the country.
In a minority report, the dissenting MPs wanted Shs43 billion for ceremonies under the Office of the President reallocated to KCCA for road repairs and maintenance.
MP Ibrahim Nganda Ssemujju wanted parliament to halt allocations to the Office of the Prime Minister until “President Museveni takes political action against officials” implicated in the infamous iron sheets scandal.
Speaker Anita Among, however, guided that the funds are not person to holder, and that the allocations go to the office.
Shadow finance minister, Muhammad Muwanga Kivumbi, faulted the finance ministry for failing to itemize and provide for activities under Statutory Expenditure, a move he claimed is intended to be used as a window of fraud.