The State House Comptroller, Ms Lucy Nakyobe has listed key areas that strain the state house budget, among which include support to cultural and religious leaders, sports and state burials especially of former legislators.
While appearing before the Public Accounts Committee yesterday to respond to audit queries, Ms Nakyobe noted that State House is unique in nature, saying that even with sufficient planning, several issues come up that require intervention.
She explained that although some of the issues such as sports fell under specific ministries, they too run to state house for help.
She also claimed that cultural leaders run to State House with most of their problems, saying their monthly allocation of Shs5 million under the Gender Ministry is insufficient. She however failed to cite specific examples when tasked by the PAC Chairperson, Angeline Osegge.
Ms Nakyobe instead explained that State House meets the accommodation expenses of some cultural leaders who stay in Kampala, provides them transport, upkeep and training among others.
She also explained that the absence of a substantive ministry that caters for religious institutions forces state house to address their concerns. However, some of the legislators wouldn’t have any of this, saying the provision of vehicles for religious leaders falls under donations, which are provided for annually under the State House budget.
State House receives Shs80 billion towards donations.
The Lwemiyaga County MP, Theodore Ssekikubo asked Ms Nakyobe whether she isn’t obliged to operate with the mandate of the State House Comptroller.
But in her response, Nakyobe said her mandate is to facilitate the president at all times and that if the president wants to help somebody, it is her duty to make sure that the person is helped.
Ms Jacqueline Amongin, the Ngora Woman MP and her Agago counterpart, Franca Akello tasked Ms Nakyobe to explain the criteria used by cultural and religious leaders to access financial support from state house.
Mr Alex Byarugaba, the Isingiro South MP, claimed that some of the religious leaders get more State House support compared to others. The Buliisa County MP, Moses Mukitale claimed that Buganda Kingdom gets Shs9 billion while Bunyoro Kingdom receives a paltry Shs200 million.
However, Ms Osegge ruled the MPs out of order. She directed Nakyobe to furnish the committee with a written response on the matters raised and the procedure used to support cultural and religious leaders.
In his audit report of June 2014, the Auditor General John Muwanga noted outstanding commitments of Shs529 million utility bills with electricity taking a big chunk of Shs387.8 million followed by water Shs119.7 million and Shs22.2 million for telephone.
In 2016/2017 financial year, state house received a budgetary allocation of Shillings 257 billion. The Finance Ministry has budgeted Shs242 billion for state house in the next financial year.