By Jackson Onyango
The Speaker of Parliament Anita Among prematurely suspended plenary sitting on Wednesday morning.
Among said the two-hour hiatus was intended to allow the treasury to draft a letter of assurance that Parliament shall not be ambushed with more budget corrections technically known as corrigenda.
Junior minister for general duties in the finance ministry, Henry Musasizi tabled at the 11th hour a second corrigenda that could potentially increase the budget beyond the revised Shs51.9 trillion.
The committee scrutinized the first budget review last week, which increased it from Shs50.9 trillion to Shs51.9 trillion.
Musasizi told the committee that the increase was because government had received assurances about receiving external grants worth Shs700 billion and an additional Shs300 billion of internally generated revenue.
The budget committee was meant to present the budget to the plenary for approval.
However, the report was not readied which was partly the reason for which plenary was suspended to allow the committee to finalize the report and also process the second corrigenda.
Members of the committee were yet to receive the reviewed budget to detail the exact shift in the budget for financial year 2023/24.
The first corrigenda had Shs285 billion allocated for Covid-19 emergencies and Shs254 billion for reducing treasury liability with the Bank of Uganda.
Musasizi indicated in an interview that the money was not meant for Covid-19 detection but for the establishment of Intensive Care Units (ICUs) at the regional referral hospitals.
Michael Atingi-Ego, the deputy governor Bank of Uganda told members of the budget committee that government had during the Covid-19 pandemic failed to pay back the redeemed securities, treasury bills and bonds leading to the Shs3 trillion debt.
Atingi-Ego indicated that an agreement was reached to have government clear the arrears in two installments each worth Shs1.25 trillion beginning with the current financial year.
However, he did not furnish the MPs with an answer on how the remaining money shall be cleared which caused concern among the lawmakers that it could be written off.