Parliament passes Shs 32.5trillion budget

After failing to beat the May 31 deadline set under the Public Finance Management Act, Parliament finally passed the 2018/19 National budget, allocating more than Shs 13.1trillion on development expenditure and Shs 10.1trillion on statutory expenditures.

On Thursday, May 31, the last day that Parliament had to pass the National Budget according to the law, saw the House suspended several times as the Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah bought time for Parliament’s Budget Committee to conclude its report.

Even when the committee chairperson Amos Lugoloobi (Ntenjeru North) finally pieced together the report and tabled it, some figures could not tally.

Oulanyah suspended the House for 20 minutes to allow both the Ministry of Finance and Budget Committee to harmonise the figures.

On resumption, Oulanyah announced that they couldn’t beat the May 31 deadline because the Ministry and the Committee had failed to harmonise the figures.

He accused the Finance, Planning and Economic Development minister Matia Kasaija of messing up the budget process by tabling addendums and corrigenda, wondering why it too the Ministry too long to do so.

“I am running out of words to describe the kind of things you do. The last one (corrigenda) came last week. How do you expect the Budget Committee to go back from the time of the Budget Framework Paper? You are presenting corrigenda in the last week in the month we are supposed to pass a budget, to be considered in the budget,” Oulanyah wondered.

“Looking ahead, the issue of corrigenda, addendum after you have submitted the budget to Parliament shouldn’t be entertained anymore. It jeopardizes the process, messes up the figures, why they are running around balancing figures is because even as of today (31st May 2018), some figures were still being brought,” he added.

Kasaija was forced to apologise, saying that it isn’t within his tradition to do things shoddily, and blamed the messy budget on the many activities that were going on at the Ministry that got him distracted and lost track of the budget process.

Oulanyah adjourned the House at about 10pm on Thursday night, and pushed the sitting to Friday morning.

In the new budget, government intends to spend Shs 9.4trillion on recurrent expenditure which includes salaries and wages as well as government transfers.

The Works and Transport sector is getting the biggest share of the budget with allocations amounting to more than Shs 4.79trillion.

Education and Sports has been allocated Shs 3.12trillion, Energy and Mineral Development will get Shs2.47trillion while Security has been allocated Shs 2.12trillion.

A whooping Shs 8.66trillion will go to payment of interest.

The Justice Law and Order sector has been allocated Shs 1.4trillion while the accountability sector has been given Shs1.23trillion and public sector management will get Shs1.81trillion.

The agricultural sector which is the biggest employer of Ugandans received slightly below Shs 48bn increase from its current budget of Shs 866.75bn to Shs 914.72bn.

Water and Environment has been allocated Shs1.27trillion while Shs 595.67bn will be spent on public administration.

Parliament will consume Shs 459.6bn while Lands, Housing & Urban Development will receive Shs 222.35bn. Social Development Shs 209.38bn, ICT and National Guidance Shs181.07bn, while Tourism, Trade and Industry will take Shs 158.29bn and Science and Technology 209.31bn.

To finance the budget, government expects to collect more than Shs 16.4trillion in revenue which is equivalent to 14.3% of the revenue to GDP ratio.

This represents a Shs 1.23trillion increase from the outgoing financial year revenue collections of Shs 15.18trillion.