Parliament on Wednesday evening passed the Shs 29, no rx 008.5 billion budget for Financial Year 2017/2018 at the last hour as stipulated by the law.
The Public Finance Management Act of 2015 says budget process should be concluded in Parliament that solely appropriates money, approved by May 31.
According to the Chairperson Budget Committee of Parliament, page Amos Lugolobi, the Finance Minister, Matia Kashaija on 29th March 2017 initially submitted the proposed budget of Shs 28,990.6 billion of which Shs 19,065.4 billion (65.8%) was for appropriation and Shs 9,925.2 billion (34.2%) for statutory expenditure.
Mr. Kashaija later returned to Parliament on 18th May 2017 with a new figure of Shs 29,008.5 allocating Shs 19,082.6 billion for appropriation and Shs 9,925.9 for statutory expenditure.
The coming budget will focus on 9 priority areas including increasing agricultural production and productivity for food security and strategic exports, enhancing private sector development for export promotion and import substitution and intensifying energy and transport infrastructure development to lower production costs.
It is also to focus on completing oil related infrastructure development to enable commercialization and the first oil output in 2020, increasing affordable long term credit to finance private sector investment, improve service delivery through human capital development, intensify fights against corruption and boosting domestic revenue mobilization.
The report of the committee of Parliament however stated that the above strategies fell short of addressing wastage during the implementation of the budget.
“The Committee notes that, whereas the budget strategy of FY 2017/2018 is well focused to address the current and medium term economic challenges, it is short of addressing the critical issues of ensuring value for money during execution of the budget,” part of the committee reports reads.
“There is evidence of wasteful expenditure in some areas and lack of accountability for results, which renders the budget weak in implementation.”
In this year’s budget, works and transport is taking the lion’s share of 4,867.49Billion which is equivalent of 21.21 percent of the total figure, followed by Energy and Mineral Development’s Shs 2,999 equivalent of 13.07 percent, while Security is given Shs 1,944.8bn.
Sectorial allocation details in the figure below.
The passing of the budget which went to on night hours of Wednesday was characterized by clashes between the Opposition and the Executive sides of the house.
At the beginning of the session, the front bench (Executive) led by the Deputy Attorney General and Finance Ministers; Matia Kasija and David Bahati, disagreed with the opposition members excessive domestic borrowing.
The Opposition Chief Whip, Winnie Kizza, Cecilia Ogwal, Nandala Mafabi and Kivumbi protested against the government’s attempt to borrow Shs 4.7trillion which they said is above the legal threshold of 10 percent of the domestic revenue of government. The domestic revenue is projected at 15.062tn and therefore the government can only borrow Shs 1.5062.
The two later reached a common ground when the Deputy Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah who chaired the house gave them time to dialogue. Their agreed position was however not communicated to the house.
The budget was passed at 8:26 pm with amendments within different votes but the final figure remained the same.