Parliament Fails to Pass Supplementary Budget,as Opposition Mps Walk Out

Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanya.

Parliament has failed to pass the supplementary budget of 555.7 billion shillings after opposition members of Parliament walked out.

With a composition of 386 members only 118 members were present following a roll call process instead of the required 125 MPs to form quorum.

Some MP’s from both the ruling NRM and the Opposition had expressed disappointment that 138 billion shs was meant for State House compared to the 5.3 billion needed in health and 13 billion for agriculture.

After the debate Wafula Ogutu, MP Bukholi, noted that the budget cannot be passed due to lack of quorum and in a few minutes walked out leaving his bag behind.

This annoyed Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah whose sentiments were shared by the Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi who wondered how many members would be present if they were discussing other topics.

Abdu Katuntu, MP Bugweri County, expressed his discomfort with the NRM side for referring to the opposition side yet NRM alone would have formed a quorum would they have all attended the sitting.

Frank Tumwebaze, the Minister for Presidency, contested saying it’s not a matter of party affiliation but integrity of MPs from both sides to remember that they are serving Ugandans.

Before the standoff it was noted that State House alone was to take 138 billion out of 555.7 billion shillings in the supplementary budget.

Presenting the report, Achia Remigio MP Nakapiripirit district provided a recurrent budget of 291.824 billion and development expenditure of 215.465 billion shillings in the financial year 2012/2013.

The deputy budget committee chairperson suggested sources for the supplementary expenditure such as activities in the budget and re-allocations amounting to 313.68 billion. Others are treasury Bonds issued by the Central Bank worth 200 billion and Issuance of treasury bills, Non tax Revenue and Non resource Taxes amounting to 42.10 billion shs.

The Ministry of Finance however informed the budget committee that out of the total supplementary budget, 275.44 billion had already been spent by government prior to submission to Parliament. The committee is thus seeking for approval of 280.24 billion shs.

However, Lulume Bayega, the Buikwe county MP, presented a minority report rejecting the supplementary budget on grounds that it violates the provision of the budget act.

Bayega notes that known emergencies approved by government were not considered in the supplementary. These include emergency relief of Mt. Elgon and Kasese flood victims in addition to the supplementary request of 24 billion for emergency in 2012 August for the mudslide and flood victims which was ignored.

MP’s queried State House programmes such as the outreach community programme and welfare activities amounting to 49.826 billion shillings for 20 community functions.

Another outreach project meant to mobilise masses towards poverty reduction, peace and development worth 13.748 billion to host 25 district delegations.

Bayega recommended that government tables a new supplementary budget that captures all emergency and relief problems, including funds for Kitagata, Kawolo, Rubare and Jinja referral hospitals. They also demand that government recovers the 38 billion shillings refunded to donors due to misappropriation of funds in the office of the Prime Minister.

Evelyn Anite, Youth MP, said the supplementary should not be passed if money lost in the office of the prime minister is not recovered. Musasizi Henry, MP Rubanda County, noted that it is time to get rid of the supplementary budget through amendment of the law and setting up a contingency fund.

Kajara Aston, state minister for investment, stated that government has taken action and in the proposed amendment of the Public Finance Bill they are proposing to address the matter in the contingency fund.

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