UNRA, ministries eat big in Shs523b additional budget

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Unra, ministries of Defence and Works are taking the biggest share of the supplementary budget tabled before Parliament on Tuesday by junior Finance minister, David Bahati.

Between them, the three entities share Shs244.6b with Unra taking Shs155b, Works (Shs31b) and Defence (Shs60b). The Office of the President and State House have Shs1.7b and Shs2.9b respectively.

The supplementary budget was tabled in line with Section 25 of the Public Finance Management Act (2015), which compels the Ministry of Finance to table before Parliament, for approval, any additional resources over and above what was approved by Parliament.

Where the funds have been expended, the law says, supplementary estimates showing sums spent shall be laid before Parliament within four months after the money has been spent. Those estimates are now before the House committee on finance.

Other sectors to benefit are the Ministry of Finance itself with a Shs11b allocation, Ministry of Agriculture with Shs16b and Office of the Prime Minister with Shs15b, among others.
The Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda Executive Director, Ms Cissy Kagaba, argues that: “As per the Public Finance Management Act, that money was spent like four months back. Was it deducted from other sectors? If yes, what is the impact on those other sectors considering that defence in most cases has classified expenditures and works has always been riddled with corruption related tendencies.”

As the practice is, the House committee on finance will scrutinise the supplementary schedule and report to Parliament for debate.

According to the supplementary budget details, Unra will spend Shs7b of its money to facilitate preparation of feasibility studies, preliminary designs, environment and social impact studies and resettlements action plans on Hoima- Wanseko oil road. The rest will be reallocated to items that have shortfalls on various projects including the monitoring and appraisals of works on Mukono-Katosi-Nyenga road and other roads in the Albertine region.

Kampala Capital City Authority has Shs6b of which Shs1.5b was paid or consultancy services in the just concluded IAAF World Cross Country Championships and another Shs2b is for settling outstanding obligations to Safinet for the purchase of Usafi Market.

Shs23.5b of the Ministry Work’s Shs31b is captured as down payment as per loan agreement for new Kampala Port at Bukasa and Completion of resettlement plans and Shs7.4b as mandatory requirement by Bank of Uganda to pay opening fees for a letter of credit or M/S Sumitomo to enable supply and delivery of Japanese earth moving equipment.

According to the supplementary estimates, Shs2.9 billion was spent by State House as classified expenditure while Shs20m was spent on drinks and special meals by the Office of the President. Shs49 was spent on welfare and entertainment and Shs22m on books and periodicals. Outstanding medical bills and burial expenses for the late deputy head of public services were also settled as well as the outstanding bills accrued from hosting official delegates in Commonwealth Resort Hotel Munyonyo during the swearing in of the President.

In the Office of the Prime Minister, Shs15b was spent to purchase emergency food for people in hunger stricken areas. Ministry of defence justified its Shs60b expenditure above its original approved Shs810b as classified expenditure and operational shortfalls.

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