Government accused of avoiding budget scrutiny

By Edwin Muhumuza

The parliamentary Budget committee has expressed concerned about the growing number and frequency of supplementary requests from government.

According to the Chairperson of the committee Hon. Lugoloobi Amos, the trend undermines the credibility of annual planning and budgeting.

The supplementary expenditure requests include, 437 billion of the approved budget for the FY 2O19 /20, supplementary expenditure amounting to 662billion,749 billion of which 90bn was offset and allocated to State House, 6.9bn allocated to Office of the Prime Minister and allocated to Office of the President (Land Inquiry Commission)giving a balance of shs638 b n requiring prior parliamentary approval.

Other requests include 284bn to cater for interventions in combating the COVID 19 Pandemic

According to the committee, entities appear to be avoiding detailed scrutiny during the normal budget process in favor of supplementary budgeting whose expenditure can be allowed to take effect prior to the approval of parliament.

‘It is a known fact that through supplementary spending, government has suppressed the approved annual budget in favor of funding supplementary expenditure. This practice needs to be discouraged by providing written guidelines to the government. ’ the reports states.

In light of that trend, several guidelines are being developed by it for presentation to the house for approval.

The additional Supplementary expenditure requests presented to the House for prior approval include Ministry of Finance 3.9 billion, KCCA 10 billion, Uganda Industrial Research Institute 10 billion, Local Governments Ushs.O.7 billion, Local Governments Additional co-funding of 9 billion for the Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfers Program Project and Ministry of Gender 2.4billion.

This after Cabinet directed the Ministry of Finance to release the balance of shs2.4bn in FY 2O19/2O2O for implementation of the remaining street children activities, including priority interventions targeting 1,500 street children.

In addition he Committee has considered the plight of street kids picked recently by the Ministry of gender and social development and now housed at different permanent and temporary centers and the challenges associated with rehabilitating, feeding and resettling them as well as ensuring surveillance to limit new ones from getting into cities and other urban areas.

The committee has therefore recommended that Parliament approves a total supplementary request of 33billion of which 9billlion is for recurrent expenditure and 24billion, for development expenditure.