June 10, 2014

Budget Indiscipline Fuelling Wastage-CSO’s

The Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group is calling on government to reduce wastage and increase emphasis on improving service delivery. The group is a coalition of CSO’s formed to influence government in setting national budget priorities.

Finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka
Finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka

It is concerned about the increased budget indiscipline as observed from the consistent supplementary budgets requests from government ministries, departments and agencies. These requests, the group argues, lead to loss of huge sums of money through flouting public expenditure regulations.

Coalition members are thus calling for the amendment of Clause 21 (6) of the public Finance Bill 2012 on supplementary budget to ensure that all supplementary spending is approved by Parliament and that the provision for retrospective approval of the supplementary budget spending is abolished.

They cite incidents in which government entities like the Uganda Police Force spent Ugx 10 billion to inspect jets and the expense of Ugx 4 Billion by Ministry of Agriculture to teach citizens how to eat Silver fish as extravagant and wasteful spending.

Leonard Okello, the Executive Director Uhuru institute, one of the coalition members, says such monies would construct over 53,000 bore holes given each costs Ugx 81 million. It would also procure 73,500 primary school blocks with office and store, 36 three-seater desks, 2 chairs, two tables, two blackboards and lightening arresters.

According to the Auditor General’s report for the financial year 2013, over Ugx 4.3 billion was lost to theft which has had a damaging effect on the economy.

Nabwohe Angella, the Programs Manager Initiative for Social and economic Rights, another coalition member is concerned that government is planning to reduce the capitation grant for Universal Primary Education instead of curbing such wastage. She observes a need for a review of priorities in order to save more in critical sectors like education, health and agriculture.,

similarly, Henry Nickson Ogwal, from Action Aid Uganda says that as Ugandans await the budget reading this week, they are eagerly looking out for Budget investments in areas that will improve their general welfare.

On Thursday June 13, 2014, Finance minister Maria Kiwanuka will deliver Budget Estimates for the Financial Year 2014-2015 outlaying budgetary allocations to various sectors and priorities for the Year.

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