Uganda: House Approves Shs33.3 Billion Supplementary

Parliament — Barely two months after Parliament passed a Shs932b supplementary budget, another Shs33.3b was yesterday provided for the government by three ministries before the end of Financial Year 2019/20.

In the last supplementary budget, key appropriations included Shs284b Covid-19 fighting cash that went to different government Ministries, departments and Agencies deemed to be on the frontline of fighting the pandemic; and Shs400b for defence classified expenditure. It is out of the same supplementary that Parliament allocated itself Shs10b which was distributed to MPs, with each legislator getting Shs20m to ostensibly help fight Covid-19.

In the current supplementary budget, MPs approved recommendations of the Budget Committee chaired by Ntenjeru North MP Amos Lugoloobi to provide for Shs10b to finance the maintenance of roads under Kampala Capital City Authority. The roads on which the money will be spent are Upper Kololo Terrence, Queensway, Wilson, Sikh, Channel Street, Johnson, Lubiri Ring, Sir Apollo Kagwa, among others.

Shs10b for UIRI

Also provided is Shs10b to the Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI) for purchase of machinery to run the training institute in Namanve. The UIRI facility, which was commissioned by President Museveni last year, was established by the government to enhance industrial skills by providing platforms for hands-on training and apprenticeship, engage in modern methods of machining and manufacturing of metalic parts, accessories and implements; and creating capacity for development of indigenous technologies and reduce technology import bill.

Responding to questions raised by MPs during time of debate of the supplementary expenditure on why the Shs10b for UIRI cannot wait for the new financial year, Mr Lugoloobi said there was need for money to make the facility operational.

"We have not had that facility before. It is a facility that manufactures machinery but it does not have cash to become operational," Mr Lugoloobi said.

Parliament also approved Shs9b for upgrading of health centre IIs to health centre III status, and construction of Seed secondary schools in some parts of the country under the Ministry of Local Government. The same ministry also got Shs776m additional funding.

The Ministry of Finance received Shs1.09b for payment of five-months salary for staff of the privatisation unit, which were never captured in the 2019/2020 Budget.

Meanwhile, the committee could not proceed with the scrutiny of the Shs1.9b that government wanted to reportedly clear electricity bills for Fine Spinners and Nytil, both privately-run manufacturing companies. According to the committee reports, this request was withdrawn by government.

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