Friday June 27 2014

Kadaga makes U-turn on budget

The Speaker of Parliament Ms Rebecca

The Speaker of Parliament Ms Rebecca Kadaga. PHOTO BY GEOFFREY SSERUYANGE 

By Yasiin Mugerwa

Kampala- The government on Wednesday used its majority in Parliament, to force through a request for Shs7 trillion the President urgently needs to finance critical spending pressures, amid protests from legislators across the political divide that the rules of game had been bent.
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga ignored procedural calls from the lead Opposition members; Nandala Mafabi (Budadiri West) and Geoffrey Ekanya (Tororo), who had put up a spirited fight dismissing the government request as illegal and a vote of no confidence on Parliament which is mandated to scrutinise the budget.

The two MPs, who were joined by James Kakooza (NRM, Kabula), objected to a Vote on Account that exceeded the constitutional threshold of one-third of the total budget. After Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi and Finance junior minister Aston Kajara failed to convince Opposition members, Ms Kadaga who had accused the government of smuggling the Vote on Account, in an apparent U-turn, immediately put the question for those in favour to support the government request and ignored Mr Mafabi who kept asking: “What have you passed?”
The Vote on Account the minister presented yesterday exceeded the statutory requirement of one- third of the total budget by more than Shs122.7 billion due to what Mr Kajara called “front loading” of the funds in the 2014/15 budget to finance “the vital activities” such as the foot and mouth disease in Karamoja and Teso areas.