Kasaija left guessing as Museveni picks Lugoloobi to read Budget

Friday June 11 2021
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State minister for finance Mr Amos Lugoloobi interacts with Finance minister Mr Matia Kasaijja before presentation of the FY2021/22 budget speech at Kololo Independence grounds on June 10. PHOTO/COURTESY

By Elizabeth Kamurungi

President Museveni yesterday chose former Budget Committee chairperson Amos Lugoloobi (Ntenjeru County North MP) to deliver the 2021/2022 Budget speech, leaving out Finance Minister designate Matia Kasaija.  

Mr Lugoloobi, whom Museveni appointed Minister of State for Finance in-charge of Planning, now has his name imprinted on the budget documents, as he awaits his confirmation in the position.  

The President’s decision raised questions as to why he left out Mr Kasaija. 
Caught in a similar dilemma, the President in FY 2016/2017 asked Mr Kasaija in his capacity as Buyanja MP to read the Budget on his behalf. 

By June 2016, Mr Kasaija had been appointed Finance Minister but pending confirmation by the vetting committee.  
However, this time, the President chose Mr Lugoloobi despite the fact that Mr Kasaija took part in the processing of the 2021/2022 Budget.  

According to the Constitution, however, the President, who is mandated to read the Budget, is at liberty to delegate anyone to fulfill this responsibility. 

In his speech, President Museveni expressed his joy in seeing younger people take on responsibilities. 
“I want to thank the Hon Lugoloobi, you heard he very well presented the Budget,” President Museveni said at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds yesterday, adding that it’s important to give responsibilities to the young people. 

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Mr Museveni’s interest in working with persons out of his generation also came to the fore during the recent State of the Nation Address where he said he would deploy young people to fight the corruption menace because they are not greedy for money. 

For Mr Kasaija, it was the first miss since 2014. 

He told Daily Monitor last evening that the President could have chosen Mr Lugoloobi because he[Kasaija] is yet to be vetted and confirmed in his position by Parliament. 

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Ntenjeru North Member of Parliament and Minister of State for Planning designate, Amos Lugoloobi presented the Budget speech for FY 2021/22 on behalf of President Museveni. PHOTO/COURTESY

Mr Kasaija who has been in-charge of the finance ministry since 2014 was reappointed to the position on the Cabinet list released on June 8. 

According to Mr Kasaija, this is a normal development and Mr Lugoloobi most likely presented the budget speech in his capacity as a Member of Parliament and not as junior Finance minister. 

“I cannot fully explain but since I have not been confirmed by Parliament, then the President had a choice to send who should read the Budget. It is the President’s choice, why he did so, I do not know,” Mr Kasaija said. 

He added: “We cadres take commands from our bosses, whether you agree or not. I have no quarrel with it, I have no problem.”

According to Mr Gilbert Olanya (Kilak South), there is nothing deep to read into the decision as the President could have chosen anyone. 

“The President has a right to give a delegation to anybody to read on his behalf. Right now we do not have any minister, all those ministers are still appointed ministers and have not been approved by Parliament. If the minister of Finance was approved I am sure he was going to delegate to them. He could have taken anybody. We do not know his intention but he has a right to pick anyone since there is no substantive ministers,” Mr Olanya said.  

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