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Gov’t again requests Shs288.624b supplementary budget to purchase shares in EACOP, construct Hoima City Stadium

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Simon Kabayo
Simon Kabayohttps://eagle.co.ug
Reporter whose work is detailed

The government has presented a request of Shs288.624 billion supplementary budget from the 2023/24 FY for which; Shs132.634 billion is meant for purchase of shares in the East African Oil Pipeline (EACOP) by the Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) while Shs152 billion is meant for the construction of the Hoima City Stadium by National Council of Sports in preparation for the 2027 African Cup of Nations.

Government is also seeking additional Shs1.490 billion for the Embassy in Geneva for the post NAM Summit activities, while Uganda Blood Transfusion Services has been allocated Shs2.5 billion to meet the shortfall in the operational budget for the UBTS for blood collection, processing and distribution.

Henry Musasizi, Minister of State for Finance, defended third supplementary budget request before Parliament’s Budget Committee noting that, the funding for Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) is needed as additional equity acquisition in East African Crude Oil Pipeline to meet the cash call arising from delayed financial close by the financiers.

“This is required before July 1, 2024 in order to meet the funding obligations in the EACOP projects. This funding will be accessed from the Petroleum Fund in line with the Section 59(3) of the Public Finance Management Act 2015. Shs400 billion is currently in the petroleum Fund, I propose to utilize Shs284.634 billion in line with the Section 59(3) of the PFMA to finance the acquisition of equity in East African Crude Oil Pipeline and construction of Hoima City Stadium,” remarked Musasizi.

Minister Musasizi added that Uganda Blood Transfusion Services (UBTS) is also in need of Shs2.5 billion to meet the shortfall in the operational budget for the UBTS for blood collection, processing and distribution for this Quarter and the funds for these activities will be funded using savings from wage after the audit of the wage bill.

“To fund the construction of the Hoima City Stadium, the government has proposed to draw funds from the Petroleum Fund by proposing that the National Council of Sports is provided Shs152 billion as 30% advance payment for the construction of Hoima City Stadium in preparation for AFCON27. This funding will enable the contractor (M/S Summa) commence construction of the stadium to be ready before the deadline of December 31, 2025 required by Confederation of African Football (CAF) for Uganda to co-host the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations,” added Minister Musasizi.

Following Uganda’s assumption of Chairmanship of the Non-Aligned Movement, the Ministry of Finance has proposed to have the Uganda Embassy in Geneva be given additional Shs1.49 billion to address a funding shortfall arising from a loss of poundage.

Minister Musasizi stated, “The Mission requires funds for accumulated dues on rent, salaries, medical insurance, utilities. This needs to be settled by the end of the financial year to avoid legal action from landlords, service providers and contract staff. This will be funded using savings from wages after the Audit of the wage bill.”

According to the Ministry of Finance, the latest supplementary budget will be funded through savings from Wage following the audit report on Government’s payroll that saw Shs3.99 billion saved, while Petroleum Fund Withdrawals worth Shs284.634 billion will fund the proposed activities in the supplementary schedule.

However, Patrick Isiagi, Chairperson Budget Committee rejected the Supplementary request describing it as illegal because it didn’t follow the normal procedures of having the request tabled before Parliament before having it referred for processing by the Budget Committee.

“As such, it will be illegal for this Committee to start processing this supplementary request until it becomes business of the House and then the House will decide either to process it there or delegate it to this Committee,” remarked Isiagi.

Ibrahim Ssemujju (Kira Municipality) described the latest supplementary proposal as fraudulent, wondering how the entities seeking for extra funds will be in position to absorb the funds within 20 days ahead of the closure of the financial year in June 2024.

“It is going to be very difficult for anyone to absorb this money because the Government procedures intended to protect taxpayers’ money are too procedural, they are too many. In the remaining 20 days or one month to close the Financial Year, you can’t fulfill any of the requirements,” Ssemujju said.

“There are no procurement plans, even if the procurement plans are there, you mean these fellows are going to spend Shs288 billion in 20 days? I don’t know what has happened to Uganda that these fellows can sit every day and originate a supplementary budget. But I have been told that when they were in cabinet, the budget kept growing then they said, what do we do? You remove things that are emotional that MPs will pass without scrutiny because we have heard MPs shouting at Akii-Bua stadium so they said those ones you can smuggle them to Parliament through a supplementary budget because they know they are popular,” added Ssemujju.

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