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MPs question PS Ggoobi’s caliber as finance slashes their budget

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Members of Parliament have questioned the Secretary to Treasury, Ramathan Ggoobi’s caliber following his decision to reduce Parliament’s budget by 50%. 

Nathan Byanyima (Bukanga North) wondered what had befallen the Ministry of Finance because in the previous years, the occupants of the office of Secretary to Treasury were people of high caliber and wondered why Ramathan Ggoobi, the current Secretary to Treasury would announced a 50% budget cut to Parliament and also make statements that Parliament has no powers to alter budgets submitted by the Ministry of Finance.

“I have seen a paper that the Parliamentary budget will be cut by 50%. Where does such a person (Ggoobi) get powers? There is a rule that we must respect each other, treat other people the way you want to be treated. We have been demeaned to nothing. But when the Secretary to the Treasury goes to a Committee of Parliament and says that we have no role to play in the budget & appropriation, it defeats my understanding, has this country changed? I don’t see why we are wasting our time going into the budget. It doesn’t make sense,” said Byanyima.

The development comes at the time Parliament has been in the spotlight over alleged corruption and wasteful expenditures, although, it is not known whether Finance’s decision was informed by findings from these social media allegations.

Speaker Anita Among described the decision as humiliating and demeaning to the Legislature.

“Our deduction of 50%, shall we be paid salary? You even have the courtesy to put it in bold, on a statutory vote that Parliament shouldn’t get money,” Among said.

Sarah Opendi (Tororo DWR) also claimed that while appearing on NBS TV this morning, Ggoobi alluded to the same sentiments, saying that Parliament has no power of budgeting that this is an executive function.

“He said Parliament has no powers to move money from one vote to another because budgeting for this country isn’t our responsibility. That it is the executive that knows the priority of this country. So, what is our role as Parliament? And the challenge we have in this country is picking people who haven’t grown in public service and placing them in such sensitive positions because a Secretary to Treasury used to rise from the bottom and when you pick someone from somewhere, they don’t respect leaders,” remarked Opendi.

However, Henry Musasizi, Minister of State for Finance has asked Parliament to disregard statements made by Ggoobi about Parliament not having powers of appropriation saying such statements are not representative of the Ministry of Finance.

“To the best of my knowledge and experience, appropriation powers rest with Parliament. If the Secretary to Treasury expressed his views and opinions, I am not privy to what the Secretary to Treasury said, but I know and I know the Secretary to Treasury doesn’t have a chance to speak on this microphone. I would like to invite colleagues to disregard what the Secretary to the Treasury said. We should always take what we say as the Ministry of Finance on this microphone. If whatever he said, wherever he said offended the Committee of Parliament or Parliament in general, I would like to apologize on his behalf,” said Musasizi.

Previous holders of that docket include former Auditor General James Kahoza, late Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile, late Chris Kasami and late Keith Muhakanizi.

This website failed to obtain Mr Ggoobi’s response to the legislators over his caliber status.

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