Army seeks extra Shs400b for classified expenditure

Thursday March 05 2020
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Talks. President Museveni, who is also the Commander- in Chief of the Defence Forces, engages some of the commandos. PPU PHOTO

The Ministry of Finance has written to Parliament to approve additional Shs400b worth of supplementary request for the classified expenditure under the Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs.

The request is 60.3 per cent of the total Shs662.3b supplementary schedule for the year 2019/2020 presented to Parliament on Tuesday.

Mr David Karubanga, the junior Public Service minister, presented the supplementary request on behalf of Finance minister Matia Kasaija.

Daily Monitor has also obtained a copy of the letter dated February 28, 2020 by Mr Keith Muhakanizi, the secretary to Treasury, requesting for an interface with the Committee on Budget to defend the request.

Under the new supplementary request, State House needs additional Shs35b to finance “urgent classified expenditure requirements” and another Shs17b for the purchase of undisclosed transport equipment.

Education ministry also needs Shs10.33b to support the rollout of the new curriculum for lower secondary education under the National Curriculum Development Centre.

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Section 25 of the Public Finance Management (Amendment] Act, 2015, requires the minister of Finance to seek parliamentary approval for all additional expenditures over and above 3 per cent of the approved annual budget.

“In line with the above Section of the PFMA 2015, Supplementary Schedule II has been prepared, amounting to Shs662.3b and has been authorised within the 3 per cent legal requirement,” Mr Muhakanizi’s letter reads in part.

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga referred the supplementary request to the House Committee on the Budget for further scrutiny.

The committee is expected to meet all the beneficiaries of the new supplementary budget. A small committee of about three MPs, including the committee chairperson of Public Accounts Committee, is mandated to scrutinise classified expenditure at the end of the accountability cycle.

If approved, the Budget for 2019/2020 will increase from Shs40.48 trillion approved by Parliament in May 2019, to Shs43.6 trillion.

To cover the gaps in the 2019/2020 budget, the government recently secured a resolution of Parliament to borrow Shs2.4 trillion from Stanbic Bank and the Trade Development Bank. Shs1.47 trillion of the borrowed funds was for classified expenditure.

The budget changes will also see an upward shift in the ministry of Defence budget to Shs8.6 trillion from Shs8.2 trillion.

In the approved annual budget for the year 2019/2020, the army received Shs1.9 trillion for classified assets and another Shs225.4b for classified expenditure.

Lawmakers, particularly Opposition MPs on House Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs have constantly complained about the country’s heavy investment in the military yet the country is not at war.

Other beneficiaries

Shs81.23b Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development
Shs52.51b Uganda Police to cater for telecommunication intelligence monitoring system and the data monitoring system.
Shs6.20b Makerere University towards feeding government students and Health Summit.
Shs10b KCCA for emergency road maintenance.
Shs9.06b Local government towards completion of seed schools and upgrading of Health Centre IIs to HCIIIs.
Shs11.97b Public Universities
Shs2.03b Missions Abroad (Embassies)
Shs6.05b Bugisu Cooperative Union

mkyeyune@ug.nationmedia.com

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