The Government is seeking parliamentary approval for a supplementary budget of sh770b critical and urgent items which cannot wait for the next financial year. The sh770b supplementary request consists of sh60b government needs to spend on purchasing CCTV cameras to boost the fight against crime in the country.
The letter from the finance ministry requesting for parliamentary approval is dated February 19, 2019. Parliament’s budget committee is yet to debate the request. The finance ministry, in its letter, informed Parliament that supplementary expenditure of sh403.5b, which does not require parliamentary approval, has been spent.
The Public Finance Management Act allows government to undertake supplementary expenditure that were not budgeted for in the national budget without seeking parliamentary approval, as long as it does not exceed 3% of the total budget. The finance ministry explained that when Parliament approves the sh770b request, the total supplementary expenditure for the 2018/2019 financial year will be sh1,173.8b (sh1.1 trillion).
The supplementary budget that the Government is seeking includes sh24.8b for the Ministry of Local Government, which will be spent on purchasing motorcycles for the sub county chiefs. The supplementary request also constitutes sh57.3b which the Government needs to cater for salary arrears and retirement benefits for the teaching and non-teaching staff at the public universities.
In 2017, government committed itself to increasing salaries for the teaching and non-teaching staff of public universities but not all the money required for doing so was released. Since then, lecturers have been pressurizing the Government to fulfill the promise.
The supplementary budget has a component of sh11b that the Government requires urgently to meet outstanding arrears for Uganda’s contribution to the African NEWS Union and other international organizations and another sh6.3b as a contribution to the East African Community secretariat.
If Parliament approves the supplementary request, Bugisu Cooperative Union, will be one of the beneficiaries as government will be compensating it with sh2.9b. The ministry of finance explained, that sh13b will be given to the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development to compensate persons affected by the Amuru sugarcane project.
The National Medical Stores (NMS) is also meant to benefit from with sh20b to cater for outstanding obligations for medicines supplied on credit by M/S CIPLA Quality Chemical Industries to avert stock outs. State House, which is always one of the beneficiaries of the supplementary budget, is supposed to get sh64.5b for classified expenditure.
If the classified expenditure and other few items for State House are approved, the State House total budget for the 2018/2019 financial year will increase from sh259b to sh323b The Government also requires sh32.6b for the energy ministry to spend on activities under Karuma and Isimba hydro power plants. According to the Auditor General’s report for the 2017/2018 financial year, a total of sh1700b (sh1.7trillion) was spent on supplementary expenditure.