MPs to decide on govt’s Shs1.7t loan request

State Minister for Finance in charge of General Duties Henry Musasizi. PHOTO | DAVID LUBOWA

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Lawmakers on Parliament’s Committee on National Economy on Monday tasked Mr Henry Musasizi, the State Minister for Finance in charge of General Duties, to give a distinctive accountability of the Shs1.7 trillion loan request from the government amid worry that the money might be diverted by unscrupulous individuals for personal gains.

The committee is expected to give a report to the House on their conclusive decision on the request tomorrow. 

The loan, according to the approval request tabled by Mr Musasizi before the committee, is to distribute money to the consolidated fund to finance the appropriated domestic development budget. 

“It will finance the development and infrastructure budget for the Financial Year 2022/2023,” he said. 

Mr Musasizi later told journalists on the sidelines that it was a general support budget loan that would be injected into infrastructure and other development activities. 

 “The money will be spent appropriately and won’t be re-directed or used for other activities as it [loan] caters for activities that are already passed by Parliament,” he said.

 The loan request, if approved, will be bankrolled by Standard Chartered Bank and other financial institutions. 

Although Mr John Bosco Ikojo, the chairperson of the National Economy Committee (Bukedea County), told lawmakers that their business was to make an informed decision so that Parliament approves the loan, a section of them raised concerns on accountability. 

“It is very critical to know where this money is going. If we just send money to the consolidated fund, it might get misused or misdirected,” Mr Denis Oguzu Lee (Maracha County) said. 

Ms Susan Jolly Abeja (Otuke Woman) demanded that the minister tells them the exact purpose for the loan.   

She asked Parliament to stop appropriating money for loans because the habit was shaming the country. 

Mr Nathan Byanyima (Bukanga North County) faulted the Finance ministry for not always following up on approved loans.  

“So, when they talk of these projects, for example, you don’t have the capacity to see where the money goes and that is the problem I have had with you for some time,” he said. 

 Mr Isaac Etuka (Upper Madi-Okollo) agreed with his colleague, saying: “We have a report of the performance of the previous loans and found out that almost 99 per cent of these previously requested loans have not performed to their expectation. Where the loans have been performed, the works are shoddy or incomplete.”

Mr Etuka said even when the loan is finally approved, the ministry should ensure that implementation is done. 

Mr Stephen Baka Mugabi (Bukooli North), however, supported the loan request. “I understand our government is broke. My appeal to the committee is to expedite the process of approving the loan so that we save the situation or the government,” Mr Mugabi said. 

 “I look at this as working together rather than defeating each other so that we attain consensus to help the government to achieve its aspirations and promises,” he added.