Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs has spent an additional Shs400 billion in classified expenditure over and above what was provided and approved in the current financial year.
The details are contained in a Shs662.3 billion supplementary expenditure for the 2019/2020 financial year, which was spent by the government because but falls below the 3 percent legal threshold which requires prior Parliamentary approval.
Section 25 of the Public Finance Management Act 2015 (as amended) allows the government to spend up to 3 percent of the approved national budget and later seek retrospective approval.
The Committee on Budget, chaired by MP Amos Lugoloobi (NRM, Ntenjeru North), is considering the details of the appropriation but is unhappy with the Finance Ministry for sourcing the funds through budget suppression.
“I think there should be some discussion; the practice has been suppression of the budget to finance supplementary which is a violation of appropriation,” said Lugoloobi.
In budget suppression, the Ministry recovers money from different votes to finance the supplementary, which Lugoloobi says violates Parliament’s constitutional right to appropriate.
In a letter written to the Committee by Keith Muhakanizi, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, who is also the Secretary to Treasury, asked Parliament to make arrangements for the Finance Minister Matia Kasaija to formally table the documents.
State House has also spent Shs35.2 billion in classified expenditure, and an extra Shs17 billion as “funding for the purchase of transport equipment.”
The Uganda Police Force has also used Shs52.5 billion as “institutional support to UPF retooling to cater to early retirement…[and] balance outstanding on telecommunications and intelligence monitoring systems and data monitoring systems.”
To implement the new curriculum, the government is spending Shs 10.3 billion, the bulk of which will be used for sensitization seminars and workshops, while Shs3.7 billion is to be used in stationery.
Ministry of Finance is spending Shs 73 billion, including funds for workshops and consultancy.
Kampala Capital City Authority was given Shs10 billion to cater for “emergency road maintenance”, while the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development has paid out Shs5.6 billion to compensate for ranches taken over by the government.
The government is also constructing seed secondary schools, Health Centre IIs and IIIs worth Shs 9 billion.
To avert future budget suppression, the Committee is drafting guidelines to be submitted to the Ministry of Finance as a checklist for use before any such expenditure is approved in the future.
“We have made it a normal way of doing business…even when they allow the Ministry 3 percent…I don’t think that the framers of the law intended that for every other issue, they will do a supplementary,” said MP Muhammad Kivumbi (DP, Butambala).
The documents are to be laid before Parliament within four months after expenditure as required by Section 25(2) of the Public Finance Management Act.