28 February 2012

Uganda: MPs Dismiss State House Team Over Extra Shs92 Billion Expenditure

Ministry of Finance has tabled a supplementary budget of 216 billion shillings in parliament for financing recurrent, development and statutory ... ( Resource: Uganda: Govt Tables Shs 216 Billion Supplementary Budget )

The Presidential Affairs Committee of Parliament has rejected State House request for Shs92b in supplementary funding, citing failure to account for the billions of shillings allocated to the institution in the last financial year.

After hours of haggling, the acting Minister for the Presidency, Mr Muruli Mukasa, and State House officials were ordered to leave the committee. Committee chairperson Barnabas Tinkasiimire told them to return today with the accountability of the funds allocated to State House.

State House comptroller Lucy Nakyobe tried to provide partial accountability but it was dismissed by the committee. Ms Nakyobe said by November last year, State House had spent its entire budget, meaning there is little if any Parliament can do to stop the expenditure of Shs92 billion in additional funding.

"The whole of the Shs92 billion was released to us in November and we are already using it," Ms Nakyobe said. "As for accountability, we don't have it now, we have to go back and look at the system to get the details."

This angered lawmakers on the committee, who resolved that State House budget be halted until they have accounted for what was given to them. "Ugandans want to know the justification for Shs92 billion for State House when there are no drugs in hospitals," Mr Stephen Ochora (Serere) said. "We want to get details of what was released, spent so far and the balance."

At one point, Mr Tinkasiimire asked Mr Muruli whether State House is running a hospital after the latter has said "the situation is acute".

But Mr Muruli-Mukasa responded by saying: "Acute things are not only in hospitals, the money is needed to enable the President perform his duties. The President is the engine, he is the fountain of honour and running of the country revolves around him."

Other members led by Mathias Mpuuga (Masaka Municipality) and Dr Lulume Mayiga (Buikwe South) faulted State House officials over poor budgeting. The lawmakers accused President Museveni of being insensitive to the needs of the country.

In her explanation, Ms Nakyobe said State House runs specific budgeting and that there was no cut-and-paste in the figures for water and electricity. State House wants Shs870 million for electricity and Shs601 million for water.

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