MPs have been tampering with the budget says PS Ggoobi

Ramathan Ggoobi, the permanent secretary to the ministry of finance and secretary to the treasury -PSST

Ramathan Ggoobi, the permanent secretary to the ministry of finance and secretary to the treasury (PHOTO /Courtesy)

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Mr Ramathan Ggoobi, has said Members of Parliament have always played “budget games” by tinkering with the estimates presented before them.

Mr Ggoobi, who is also the Secretary to the Treasury, said MPs tamper with the National Budget, sometimes moving the government priorities and replacing them with their own needs in their constituencies.

“Uganda has a lot of budget games; I call them budget games…. We have several priorities and enablers of economic growth and we put the resources there and then present the budget; then Parliament sits in a room and they say, ‘no, cut some of that money’ and they allocate their own resources,” he said.

“And they say, ‘now the most critical priorities are the following; a primary school in my constituency, a water point somewhere, some bridge;’ they go and put that money there; others tell the accounting officer, ‘do you want some more money? Yes, come and talk to us; we shall put more money but you must return some ….’ You are hearing what is now happening … [police investigations]” he added.

Mr Ggoobi was addressing Ugandan ambassadors to the East African member states during their retreat at Serena Hotel Kigo on the shores of Lake Victoria yesterday.

His remarks come as police investigate several MPs in connection to allegations of budget corruption.

According to Mr Ggoobi, the practice has been going on for years, even before he joined government.

“Before I became Secretary to Treasury, I knew very well how the Budget of Uganda was working because I was a researcher; I have been researching for many years and I analysed that budget in and out. So I went to Parliament for the first time and I told the MPs that ‘Honourable Speaker and MPs, the budget of Uganda will not deliver us anywhere if we continue managing it this way,” he said.

Mr Ggoobi said all those involved in the budget games will be rounded up by police.

“I told my officers in government not to be part of the budget games and now CID is doing some work there, as you hear, but it has been going on and on for some time; the budget is prepared in a certain way but then you receive another budget, and then you find money for some critical statutory obligations has been removed; then you have to reverse it and Parliament is always quarrelling with us; asking who are you to usurp the powers of Parliament?” he added.

Mr Ggoobi said whereas Parliament is mandated to approve the National Budget, the MPs must do it professionally.

“I understand very well their discretionary powers but there are also priorities of the Executive; and as head of Treasury, I have to ensure these priorities are honoured,” he said.

The four-day ambassadors’ retreat, which started yesterday, is organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

It seeks to brief the ambassadors about the need to use their offices and promote Uganda’s export agenda in the countries where they serve.

The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs-in-charge of Regional Affairs, Mr John Mulimba, stressed that commercial diplomacy is crucial for Uganda to access markets outside the country, while a regulatory framework within the East African Community and African Continental Free Trade Area is necessary for mutual bilateral and relationships.

“If we deepen investment, we increase production and if we increase production, we need markets, but we must trade within a framework that’s regulated within the frameworks of EAC and African continental free trade area,” he said.


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