The office of the speaker has suspended all committee business until the budget is passed. The deputy speaker Jacob Oulanya communicated the directive to the legislators during plenary on Tuesday morning. He said that MPs are currently required to focus on the budgeting process, which is ongoing in parliament.
Oulanyah explained that Parliament needs quorum in the plenary to approve or reject different tax proposals in the 2014/2015 Financial Year Budget. He said those holding committee meetings are doing it in defiance of a directive from the office of the speaker.
He directed the Sargent at arms to call out all Members in the committee meetings to join others in the plenary session.
This is the third week that Parliament is sitting from morning to evening in a bid to conclude the budget process. In the last two weeks, Parliament has been debating and adopting committee reports on ministerial policy statements and Budget Estimates for the Financial Year 2014/2015.
The Budget is likely to be passed this week since Parliament is debating bills that precede the passing of the budget such as the Excise Duty Bill, Finance Bill, Stamps Duty Bill, Income Tax Bill,Value Added Tax Bill and others. Today Parliament is expected to debate the proposed 18% VAT on agricultural supplies such as hoes, fertilizers, seedlings and tractors.
On Monday, Robert Kasule Sebunya, the chair of the finance committee chaired a report recommending that the tax be withdrawn saying it will kill the agricultural sector which employs majority Ugandans.