Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Parliament’s budget committee has recommended reallocation of 2020/2021 financial year budget to other key programs.
This is highlighted in the Budget Committee report presented to Parliament by the Committee Chairperson Amos Lugoloobi.
In the report, the committee made adjustments to the proposed 45.48 trillion shillings National Budget and identified resources for reallocation to priority areas.
According to Lugoloobi, the identified 402.5 billion resources for re-allocation to priority areas were informed by a review of Parliamentary Sectoral Committee reports on the Ministerial Policy Statements of financial year 2020/2021, deliberations by the Budget Committee and other relevant documents.
The biggest chunk of the 402.5 billion shillings was cut from the Treasury Operations Vote where 32.6 billion was picked from the Court Awards activity and another 37 billion picked from the Administration Programme of bank charges.
“Due to increased pressing needs of government in other sectors, there is a need to rationalize resources among the different areas. Shillings 100 billion increase for bank charges were found to be on a high side. Shillings 37 billion reallocated to address other pressing needs,” Lugoloobi justified the suppression of Treasury Operations budget on different activities.
The Committee also made a reduction of 40 billion from the Local Government Agriculture and Commercial Services Vote. Lugoloobi said that this was an unjustified increase of the Vote’s budget in disregard of the Committee’s concern on disharmony in the activities of the Vote & duplication in other entities of the sector.
The committee also reduced 30 billion shillings from the Road Fund programme on National and district road maintenance. According to the committee report, the budget on this item has increased by Shilling 44.11 billion.
Lugoloobi says that these funds and others should be reallocated to other sectors like the Ministry of Education where 5 billion is required under the skills development programme to support the Competency-based Education and Training (CBET) Curriculum.
The Budget Committee also recommended a re-allocation of 5 billion to the Office of the Auditor-General under the support to audit services programme to facilitate the restructuring of the Office of the Auditor-General.
Also re-allocated is 2 billion to the Ministry of Finance to reawaken the spirit of enterprise among the population and to develop enterprises in Uganda, 4 billion to conduct studies on population, health and environment and 10 billion to the microfinance support center to host MIS system for 400 SACCOS and 300,000 groups.
The MPs also recommended a re-allocation of 50.15 billion under the Ministry of Works and Transport to support the community roads improvement project, 6 billion to enable the National review board to operate effectively given the worsening trend of collapsing structures on account of ineffective supervision and another 2.8 billion for construction of Muwafu- Fungwe bridge in Tororo district.
Also provided is 2.7 billion under Kiruddu National Referral Hospital to strengthen the dialysis unit by procuring lab and other EMS supplies for the dialysis unit, 6.6 billion under the Ministry of Health to upgrade and operate newly rehabilitated Kayunga hospital from General to Referral hospital status.
“Existing General hospital in Kayunga has been greatly expanded and justifies elevating its status to a referral hospital to access more funds and to serve a wider community,” said Lugoloobi.
Another 45 billion Shillings is provided under the Ministry of Defence to benefit Uganda Air Cargo Corporation as a subvention from the Ministry. Lugoloobi said that the corporation was established by an Act of Parliament (cap 322) and that the project seeks to overhaul existing aircraft C130 to transact cargo business for the military and potential exporters and importers. He told parliament that the entity will become self-sustaining after this support.
The MPs also provided 5 billion under the Directorate of Government Analytical Laboratory for the construction of the DNA database building infrastructure in a multiyear approach of 5 years.
According to the Budget Committee, the project will cost Shillings 108 billion over five years and the establishment of the DNA database will not only solve the problem of national security and criminal identification but will also eliminate massive arrests in many instances innocent people that lead to congestion in prisons and the associated costs of feeding them.
“A DNA data bank will help resolve many problems associated with determining the rightful beneficiaries of the properties of the deceased,” Lugoloobi added.
The other reallocation are 10 billion for Ministry of Water and Environment to increase access to safe water in rural growth centres and small towns under the Ministry, 7 billion for Busitema University, Namasagali campus to start a marine institute with funds to cater for infrastructure development, staff costs, teaching materials, transport equipment, student academic requirements and others.