The Minister of State for Finance in charge of General Duties, Henry Musasizi, has tabled the Supplementary Appropriation (No. 4) Bill, 2021 for first reading amidst concerns from the Opposition about the utilisation of the previous requests.
The bill seeks to provide for supplementary appropriation amounting to Shs4.7 trillion from the Consolidated Fund as provided for under the Constitution and Section 25 of the Public Finance Management Act, 2015, to meet the additional expenditure for the financial year 2020/2021.
The supplementary will among other things support the recurrent expenditure on salaries, wages, and other expenses under State House at Shs481 billion, Shs51 billion for salaries and other expenses in the Ministry of Defence Headquarters, UPDF Land Forces and UPDF Air Forces under the Ministry of Defence and Veterinary Affairs.
Others are Shs714 billion for salaries and other expenses for public administration, tax policy department, Aid Liaison, Financial Management Services, Treasury Services, Uganda Computer Services, Macro-Economic Policy Department, Economic Development Policy, and Research Department, Inspectorate and Internal Audit, Budget Policy and Evaluation Department among others.
Additionally, Shs183 billion in expenses and salaries for the Ministry of Health, Shs150 billion for salaries and other expenses for the Ministry of Trade, Shs109 billion under the Judiciary among others.
While presiding over plenary on Thursday, 27 January 2022, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among, referred the supplementary expenditure to the budget committee for scrutiny.
However, Hon Mathias Mpuuga, the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, questioned what had happened to the previous supplementary requests.
“Two supplementary bills were laid in the House and no report has been made contrary to our rules of procedure. Today, the Minister is laying No.4, there is no report on the two that were tabled in 2021. The related matter is that the Auditor General already reported on those two financial years,” he said.
Mpuuga also said that this raises implications for the bills passed.
However, Anita Among defended the Ministry saying the challenges of COVID-19 and related restrictions during the lockdown affected a lot of businesses and reporting.
“We regret the unavoidable circumstances that caused this. There are people who could not even get closer to each other because of COVID-19 but we should now be able to do this,” she said.
Hon Elijah Okupa, the Kasilo County MP, noted that several entities that were supposed to get the previous supplementary had never gotten the money. The Deputy Speaker said that you cannot give what you do not have.
Honourable Musasizi conceded that the concerns raised were indeed true, understandable and regrettable.
“Sometimes from these debates, we pick lessons which can help the house in future, and also when the Auditor General does reports, we normally use his recommendations to improve systems and methods of work, how I wish as you have guided, we take this as a lesson and going forward we do things the right way,” he said.