Ezra Suruma: Trim Presidential Powers In Public Finance Bill

Parliament will lose 33% of its powers to the executive once the public finance bill is approved in its current state former finance minister Ezra Suruma has warned.  

Former finance minister Ezra Suruma
Former finance minister Ezra Suruma

According to Suruma, this means the President will have powers to approve up to 33% budget spending without parliamentary consent and approval.

He was presenting a paper on the fate of parliamentary influence in the Budgeting process in light of the new public finance bill in a dialogue organized by Parliament Watch Uganda at Hotel Africana.

Clause 12 of the bill allows the President to approve spending of money from the consolidated fund for government expenditure during the time parliament is discussing and approving the budget.

Suruma warns that vital powers of parliament will fade if the bill is passed in its current state ,key of them all being the Vote on account, which is the money required to run government during the time that parliament discusses the budget.

He also questioned clause 28 of the bill that seeks to grant the minister powers to invest monies from the consolidated fund in financial institutions.

Suruma questioned how the government would determine the financial institution in which to invest the credit and whether it won’t give rise to corruption.

He also slammed the government’s proposal to have oil money invested outside the country and in infrastructural projects.

He called upon parliament to outline the powers under the act clearly so that accountability can be carried out.

The public finance bill was first tabled in parliament in January 2012 but was later shelved to allow for amendments on the bill.

Now Suruma says the changes majorly targeting the management of oil revenues are merely cosmetic and require a stricter eye before the bill can be tabled for debate in Parliament.

The Public finance bill will be the key law for the investment of oil funds. It has attracted a wide range of criticism from different stakeholders.

Tim Lwanga, a member on the committee of finance planning and economic development promised to take into consideration the proposals made by Suruma and incorporate them into the act.

Subscribe for notification