Parliament approves Shs600b supplementary budget amid protests

Members of Parliament during plenary on May 20, 2022. The ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party members used their numerical strength to frustrate any attempts-from the Opposition MPs- to block the supplementary budget. PHOTO/ PARLIAMENT

What you need to know:

  • State Minister for Finance (General Duties), Henry Musasizi tabled the supplementary that will see the country borrow over 80 percent (Shs510 billion) while the balance of Shs107.6 billion will be raised from additional local revenue and external financing.

Parliament on Friday approved a-Shs617.9 billion supplementary budget, two months to the end of the current financial year.

State Minister for Finance (General Duties), Henry Musasizi on Wednesday tabled the supplementary schedule No.2 that will see the country borrow over 80 percent (Shs510 billion) while the balance of Shs107.6 billion will be raised from additional local revenue and external financing.

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Of the monies to be borrowed, Shs77 billion was allocated to State House for classified expenditure while the Uganda People's Defence Forces has been allocated Shs152 billion through the Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs.

A total of Shs64.4 billion will fund Operation Shujja jointly undertaken by Uganda’s armed forces and Congolese national army against Allied Defense Forces (ADF) rebel group based in the eastern part of DRC, while Shs87.5 billion will facilitate security operations in Karamoja sub region.  Uganda is expected to withdraw UPDF soldiers fighting in DRC in two weeks, according to a recent statement from the UPDF commander land forces, Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba.

However, in the event the two presidents agree to jointly extend their offensive against the rebel group, Ugandan troops will stay in DRC and continue with the mission.

In addition, Shs25 billion will be channeled to the Ministry of Works for the construction of security roads in the Karamoja.

On the approved supplementary also is Shs1 billion and Shs0.6 billion to Fort Portal and Greater Ankole dioceses to facilitate Martyrs’ Day Celebrations. Cars for two Mission heads in Cairo will cost Shs0.39 billion while Shs215.7 billion will cover wage and salary shortfalls for civil servants.

Budadiri West MP Mr Nathan Nandala Mafabi questioned wages supplementary and reasoned that it was not logical since government had already planned for this when the budget was approved in May last year. He was however, unsuccessful. The ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party members used their numerical strength to frustrate any attempts-from the Opposition MPs- to block the required additional funding.

For the Defence docket, Mr Musasizi reasoned that the salary and wage arrears arose from the recruitments in various government entities, promotion of UPDF officers and also appointment of presidential advisors as done by President Museveni that was done after the budget was passed.

 “The reason as to why I am against this shortfall of salaries is because this is a danger to the country. If we are going to pass this one today, it should be done as a warning. In future those that hire people, then should have proper planning,” Mr Mafabi retorted.

Speaker Anita Among interacts with Members of Parliament shortly after passing the Budget  for the FY2022/23.

Other legislators were however, opposed to the process followed to approve the supplementary.

Patrick Oshabe (Kassanda County North)  said: “We have allowed the minister to borrow which would ordinarily be done through the committee on national economy where the minister would go first then comes to Parliament with proof and [confirmation] of due processes.“

The MPs explained that the format used to approve the latest government supplementary makes Parliament look “shabby”.

While opposition lawmakers argued that such untimely budgets on matters of non-emergency in nature should be discouraged, Mr Musasazi informed the House chaired by Speaker Anita Among that he cannot dictate when a supplementary arises.

Mr Atkins Katushabe (Bukonjo County West) was however, concerned that the items considered in the supplementary are not a priority in the welfare of majority of Ugandans.

MP Ibrahim Ssemujju suggested that Shs17.2 billion meant for buying cars for RDCs be transferred to cater for rehabilitation of general hospitals. He also suggested that money meant for rent of offices for presidential advisors be scrapped.

"The list of presidential advisors include Full Figure, Buchaman & Catherine Kusasira.For God's sake, even if you are a blind loyalist, how can you approve rent for Full Figure when you don't have money for maintaining ICU across the country?"Mr Ssemujju said.

Breakdown

tem

Amount in Billion

National Science Technology Engineering and Innovation Skills Enhance Project (NSTEI-SEP)

86.311

State House

77

Operation Shujja

64.497

UPDF operations in Karamoja

87.546

Security roads in Karamoja

25

Ministry of Health

0.066

Elections in Ugnada Muslim Supreme Council

2.5

Cars for two Mission heads in Cairo

0.396

Salary and Wage shortfalls

251.779

Local Government

21.068


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