Civil society queries NRM’s role in drafting budget
Posted Saturday, March 23 2013 at 02:00
The civil society says its role must be visible during budgeting process since it represent views of ordinary people who are the key stakeholders.
The Civil Society is protesting the role of the NRM Caucus in the drafting of the national Budget.
Contributing during the round table discussions on guiding values for sustainable economic policies and social market economy in Kampala yesterday, the chairperson of the African Centre for Trade and Development (ACTADE), Mr Elly Twineyo said civil society is engaging the Ministry of Finance and is scheduled to petition the Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga over the matter.
Mr Twineyo, who is also a member of the Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG), emphasised that the role of civil society must be visible during the initial budgeting process since they represent views of ordinary people who are the key stakeholders.
“The budget must be discussed by the entire Parliament with the input of civil society. The NRM Caucus can only bring in the political angle but through submissions as stakeholders but not owning the entire budget,” said Mr Twineyo.
One of the panelists, Mr Sam Wanyaka, the director of the parliamentary Budget Office, observed that if the Budget Act is repealed, civil society would not be allowed to have its input in the budget formulation like has been the case.
“The citizens’ views should be enshrined in their choices and reflected in the budget,” he said.
He said Parliament may become a rubberstamp if civil society does not stand up to defend its role.
Currently, the NRM parliamentary caucus subcommittees are putting together a draft of the national budget. But opposition legislators and some ruling party MPs are protesting the process they describe as an “illegality” that calls for a constitutional interpretation.
The NRM has, however, insisted that it is trying to translate the budget into the party’s manifesto. Mr David Bahati, the NRM deputy chief whip, said the party made a contract with the people and as a ruling party, their manifesto must be reflected in the budget.
Mr Julious Mukunda, the CSBAG chairperson criticised the Public Finance Bill in its current form The controversial Bill, that among others, seeks to repeal the Budget Act, has been widely criticised.
Ms Kadaga last year mobilised MPs to reject the Bill which if passed in its present form will impact on the parliamentary oversight role and render it a mere rubberstamp.