Parliament passes Shs 40.5 trillion National Budget

Parliament has in an unprecedented manner passed the 2019/2020 budget totalling 40.48 trillion Shillings without debate on the budget committee report.

The report was presented on Thursday afternoon by the committee Chairperson Amos Lugoloobi as well as a minority report by Butambala County MP Muhammad Muwanga Kivumbi were meant to be debated by the MPs but Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah did not allow debate.

The Shs 40.48 trillion Budget is up from the current 2018/2019 financial year budget of Shs 32.7trillion.

The approval in a plenary session held on Friday morning came after clearance of different budget figures for expenditure to government ministries, departments and agencies ahead of the set May 31 deadline specified in Public Finance Management Act.

Contrary to standard Parliament processes where a debate is held on reports presented before any decision is made, Oulanyah today stopped debate on the budget committee report despite attempts from Budadiri West MP, Nathan Nandala Mafabi to raise queries on the Police budget.

Budadiri West MP Nathan Nandala Mafabi (C) with Butambala’s Muwanga Kivumbi (L) and Ayivu MP Bernard Atiku (R) during the plenary sitting

With promises to Nandala that debate on the budget estimates would come at a later stage before, Oulanyah uninterruptedly steered the appropriation of figures until the final stage when the budget was passed.

Following the passage of the budget, Butambala MP Muwanga Kivumbi, representing the Leader of Opposition expressed dissatisfaction with the passing of the budget without a debate.

Without directly responding to queries of absence of a debate, Deputy Speaker Oulanyah said it has been an abnormal year especially in regard to the consideration of budget. He blamed the abnormality to government’s mismanagement of the budget process.

Government Chief Whip, Ruth Nankabirwa apologized for the mishaps in the budget process promising that the executive is to do better in future.

According to the approved budget, Shs 10.5 trillion is for Recurrent expenditure, Shs 17.3 trillion will be put on Development expenditure while Shs 12.53 trillion is for Statutory expenditure charged directly on the Consolidated Fund.

The budget is to be financed by domestic revenue collections amounting 20.487 trillion Shillings, resources from the Petroleum Fund amounting 445.8 billion, Domestic Financing 2.32 trillion, Domestic Debt Refinancing 6.18 trillion, external budget support 675.2 billion, external project support 9.42 trillion and others.

Domestic and External Financing constitutes 74.5 percent and 25.5 percent of the total resource envelope, respectively.

According to the approved figures, Works and Transport sector takes the largest share of the budget with an allocation of 6.4 trillion Shillings up from 4.7 trillion Shillings, it is followed by the Security Sector with 3.6 trillion Shillings up from 2.06 trillion and the Education Sector allocated 3.2 trillion up from 2.7 trillion.

The other sector allocations are Energy and Mineral Development Sector at 2.9 trillion, Health 2.5 trillion, Accountability Sector 1.9 trillion, Justice Law and Order Sector at 1.6 trillion, Local Government Sector 1.2 trillion, Water and Environment 1.04 trillion, Agriculture 1.01 trillion an others.

Some of the least funded sectors are Tourism with 157 billion, ICT 123 billion, Trade and Industry with 171 billion, Science and Technology 159 billion, Lands and Housing 193 billion, Social Development 218 billion and others.

The 2019/2020 Budget themed ‘Industrialization for Job Creation and Shared Prosperity’ is structured along six major thematic areas including harnessing key growth Sectors of Agriculture & Agro-Industry, Tourism, OiI, Gas, and Minerals; Enhancing Private Sector Growth and Development; Promoting Human Capital Development; Strengthening Public Sector Investments and others.

The others are Improving Governance and Sustaining Security; developing a financing framework anchored on both an effective Domestic Revenue Mobilization Strategy and a responsive Debt Management Strategy.

The passed budget is to be read out to the public on  June 13 by Finance Minister Matia