Members of the Budget Committee of Parliament have rejected a fresh government supplementary request of 15.8 billion Shillings. The Committee received the request on Thursday from Gabriel Ajedra, the Minister of State of Finance in charge of General Duties.
According to Ajedra, part of the money about 10 billion Shillings is to facilitate the Uganda Industrial Research Institute-UIRI to operationalize the machining, manufacturing and industrial skills training centre at Namanve. Ajedra said that UIRI urgently needs the funds because the facility has been completed.
Another 3.9 billion Shillings is urgently needed to meet salary obligations under the privatization unit and 1.9 billion Shilling required to settle outstanding energy bills for Fine Spinners and Nyanza textiles.
But the Budget Committee chaired by Ntenjeru North MP Amos Lugoloobi rejected the 15.8 billion Shillings request saying that it had not passed the required legal regulations.
Lugoloobi said that the Ministry of Finance needed to explain the urgency of the funding at a time when the financial year is almost coming to an end.
Ajedra was equally tasked to explain the required 3.9 billion Shillings to pay salaries yet there was a budget process under which the funding would have been captured. Lugoloobi also questioned a move by the government to pay energy bills for a private company.
Rubanda East MP Henry Musasizi said that the three items for which government seeks a supplementary budget are all things that the Ministry of Finance could have incorporated in the budget process. He said that supplementary requests are supposed to be unavoidable and unforeseen.
West Budama County MP Richard Othieno Okoth equally questioned whether the requests fronted by meet the legal parameters for supplementary budgets.
Rukungiri Municipality MP Roland Mugume also questioned why the Minister had not presented to the committee explanatory notes about the items for which money is being sought.
Kumi County MP Charles Ilukor said that the country was currently facing a crisis and that the items for which government seeks funding do not seem urgent in face of the fight against coronavirus.
Ajedra said that he would present to the commitee the required justification and detailed breakdown on how the budget is going to be used.
The request for another supplementary budget comes hardly three weeks since parliament approved a 304 billion Shillings supplementary budget for COVID-19 activities. This recently passed budget has partly become controversial specifically on the allocation to facilitate MPs activities in the fight against Coronavirus disease.