Lawmakers sitting on the Parliamentary Committee on Tourism, more about Trade and Industries yesterday dismissed officials from the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development for once again showing up without the Minister, Matia Kasaija.
The Minister was supposed to appear before the committee to explain why some priority areas were not allocated funds in the coming budget as earlier recommended by the committee while they were considering the Ministry’s Budget Frame work Paper.
“This is not the first time we have invited the Minister to appear before the committee on the same issues, this is the second time but he has all along been taking us for granted and treating us with contempt,” ranted the committee Chairperson, Kenneth Lubogo.
The Minister was invited last week and he told the MPs he was on the Parliament steps entering, but they waited up to 1:30pm and he was nowhere to be seen.
“Today, he first sent his junior officials to hoodwink us that he was coming yet other Ministers from different ministries were already before the committee; we had to send the officials back and handle other Ministers who were present,” Lubogo said.
The committee chair expressed concern that public funds are not being put in areas that will boost the country, create employment, bring in more foreign exchange and create markets for produced products.
“The president laid down priorities and when you look at how the priorities that have been translated in the budget it is like they have been disregarded; for example, Tourism which is a very important sector is getting 0.1% of the budget but contributes to 10% of the GDP and the highest foreign exchange earner for the country.”
Lubogo noted that the committee will brief the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga on the conduct of the Minister so as to compel him to appear before the committee.