Kampala – Parliament’s Budget Committee halted the consideration of a motion to move the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) to the mother Ministry of Energy after realizing that Shs4Bn was missing from the Agency’s budget.
It should be recalled that early this month, the Cabinet approved the proposal to transfer the Ministry of Science and Technology to the State House and REA to the Ministry of Energy.
Henry Musasizi (State Minister of Finance-General Duties) while appearing before the Budget Committee on Thursday, August 8, said that the transfer would see Shs527.114Bn budget that had been allocated to REA to be transferred to Ministry of Energy, a move that would see the Ministry’s budget increase to Shs 1.203Trn from the earlier Shs676.7Bn the Ministry had been allocated in the 2021/2022 budget.
The Minister told the Budget Committee of the urgency to effect budget reallocations to ensure the staff of REA and Ministry of Science and Technology receive their funds.
However, it wasn’t long before Muwanga Kivumbi (Butambala County) pointed out the loopholes in the figures presented by the Ministry of Finance, saying the money being transferred is different from the figures approved by Parliament in the 2021/2022 budget.
Kivumbi noted, “When you look at appropriation Act 4Bn difference from the figure they are presenting, why the disparity. Look at the numbers of appropriation Acts and what they are coming to request for.”
This prompted Minister Musasizi to ask the Committee to allow him to withdraw the document and harmonise the figures submitted before Parliament.
“Can I withdraw these figures, because Hon. Kivumbi raises a very good point, what we are moving here must be consistent with the Appropriation Act, without any revision, no addition, no subtraction,” said Musasizi.
Despite the plea to withdraw the statement, Ibrahim Ssemujju (Kira Municipality) berated Minister Musasizi for bringing a shabby document to the Committee.
Ssemujju remarked, “I have read poor planning doesn’t constitute an emergency on my part, it is not only figures that are a problem. Even the words themselves, this is a document to bring before Parliament. I want to ask whether the whole document must not be withdrawn.”
Patrick Isiagi, Chairperson of Budget Committee concurred with MPs also tasked the Ministry of Finance to furnish with Parliament a list of procurement and work plan on how the money will be spent.
“We expect what you submit here is a true document which must go on record and it is a document we refer to when we are making a decision, so this document is supposed to be very accurate. You should also have a mention of the activities and also staffing, also the procurement plans. We expect an amended staff list. When do we get the asset register because, in such a process there are people who take advantage to cover up, there are things that end up disappearing.”
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Agnes Atim (Amolatar DWR) also pointed out loopholes in the document by the Ministry of Finance, that REA is yet to present before Cabinet a report on its mainstreaming, wondering why the transfer of funds should come before a mainstreaming report.
With all glaring mishaps in the document, Isiagi said, “Your document had a lot of falsehoods, we, therefore, adjourned for one hour for you to bring a better document.” By press time, this had not happened.