The last minute revision of the 2016/17 budget has seen it jump to Sh26.3 trillion from Shs21.2 trillion, infuriating some members of parliament.
Ministry of Finance officials led by Planning Minister David Bahati presented the changes within the resource envelope to the House Budget Committee as contained in the Budget Corrigenda, highlighting what the minister called “the corrections and adjustments” in the budget.
Bahati explained that they are running an incremental budget system and it is cash budget.
His break down indicates that Shs200b has been allocated to NAADs to boost production, Shs445bn is going to infrastructure projects such as roads, Sh20bn goes into compensation to the people in northern Uganda and Sh10bn for Luweero.
However, the MPs on the Budget Committee have questioned the last-minute revision of the 2016/17 budget and wondered how the various sectoral committees of parliament intend to examine the details when they had already finalised and presented their reports to parliament.
The lawmakers led by Shadow Finance Minister Geoffrey Ekanya (FDC, Tororo County) have also demanded to know the source and purpose of the additional funding amounting to more than Shs5trillion.
“How will the sector committees handle the budget corrigenda when they have already presented their reports? Ekanya asked.
“The budget is going to increase by more than Shs5trillion yet as parliament we don’t even know the source of funding and the implication to the economy. It’s also not explained why most of the
sectors did not comply with the development path- the National Development Plan II.”
Mr Eddie Kwizera Wagahungu (NRM, Bufumbira East) who chairs the Energy Committee stunned members when he revealed that his committee found that Shs10billion which is part of the corrigenda had been allocated to ministry of energy yet the ministry officials did not know what to
do with the money.
The budget committee chairperson, Mr Amos Lugoloobi (Ntenjeru North) also noted that additional Shs54billion was allocated to water sector lacks details. Other legislators raised concerns that the additional funds were going to prop up operational expenses especially in the local government yet development financing had stagnated at only 14 per cent of the total budget in the face of unfunded priorities across sectors.
“You may expand your budget but not to the detriment of the critical areas where we had allocated funds,” Mr Lugoloobi warned and questioned what he called: “Abrupt expansion of the fiscal space
without explanation”. “We have seen a number of new items especially in the statutory that are not explained. For instance, the huge figures under treasury services amounting to Shs4.7 trillion. How does
such arise so abruptly?”
The director budget, Mr Kenneth Mugambe explained that Shs4.7trillion had been included in the budget because Treasury had no completed reconciliation yet the money was needed to finance treasury
redemption, an annual activity. “This money that comes in and goes out, it does not affect the delivery of services,” Mr Mugambe explained.
He said an additional Shs82b in the corrigenda was for external financing. This is money needed to finance key projects. We had not included this money because we had not included financing
arrangements,” Mr Mugambe explained, adding that other funds will cater for the appropriation in aid
Story By Yasim Mugerwa