The Parliament of Uganda has passed a supplementary budget of 3.81 trillion Shillings, mostly for stimulating the economy hit by COVID-19 and security-related interventions.
The Capital Times has learnt that Of this, at least 1.3 trillion Shillings was already spent within the 3 per cent legal limit which the government can spend and seek approval later from Parliament, while 2.4 trillion Shillings is for prior approval by Parliament.
400 billion Shillings was approved under the Ministry of Defence to meet operational shortfalls, 27 billion Shillings approved for the Office of the President to support the work of presidential advisors, settlement of court awards and salaries, while 198 billion Shillings was provided to the Ministry of Health for the different COVID-19 interventions.
The House also approved 100 Billion Shillings for the Ministry of Finance to support small businesses affected by COVID-19, and 13 billion Shillings for the contractual obligations under the Integrated Financial Management System as well as facilitate the rollout of electronic Government Procurement System to 21 entities. Another 45 billion Shillings was provided to the vote as external financing to facilitate the completion of outstanding works for the Albertine Region Sustainable Development Project.
The chairman of the Budget Committee of Parliament Patrick Isiagi Opolot presented the committee report endorsing the supplementary in its totality. The committee also approved 56 billion shillings for setting up a COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing plant, and an anti-tick development project all under State House.
A minority report signed by three MPs including Butambala County MP Muhammad Muwanga Kivumbi rejected the supplementary request on grounds that no source of funding was provided, but also that the items listed as urgent now were foreseeable then, and didn’t need a supplementary.
But the Minister of State for Finance, Henry Musasizi said that the funding constraints were enhanced by the pandemic which crippled revenue collection. Musasizi further assured Parliament that the supplementary request fully complies with all the legalities entailed in the Public Finance Management Act contrary to what members had stated.
Meanwhile, despite opposition to government’s continued investment in Atiak Sugar in Amuru district, the Deputy Speaker Anita Among said that the money is going to the Uganda Development Corporation and not the Horyal Investment Holding company. Members had raised concern that governments’ shares remained static despite government continued investment. The committee approved 108 billion shillings for the sugar factory.
She asked the government to look through the concerns raised by the minority report and consider them when making decisions.