Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Parliament’s Budget Committee has declined to approve 336.8 Billion Shillings supplementary budget request by the government to purchase 9 million radio sets for Ugandan homes to facilitate the long-distance learning program.
The decision has been disclosed by a section of MPs on the committee who attended a closed-door meeting on Wednesday to draft a report on the supplementary schedule 3 for the financial year 2020/2021 in which government through the Ministry of Finance appealed for urgent approval of a total provision of Shillings 353.8 billion.
In his earlier presentation to the committee, the State Minister of Planning David Bahati said that out of the 353.8 Billion Shillings, 336.86 billion was for the purchase of 9 million radios, 6 billion shillings to cater for compensation of the Archdiocese of Kampala for land at Nsambya for construction of a modern convention centre.
Another 3 billion Shillings needed by the Ministry of Information, Communication, Technology and National Guidance for support to Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC), 5 billion for Ministry of Finance to implement the Electronic Government Procurement System (E-GP) which commenced in July 2020, Shillings 2 billion under the Office of the Prime Minister for funding of the Integrated Intelligence Computer System (IICS) and 1 billion under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the establishment of an Embassy of Uganda in Angola for security and other bilateral relations.
However, Richard Okoth Othieno, the West Budama North MP told journalists after the committee closed-door meeting that they have found it difficult to approve the required funds, especially that required to procure radios.
“By law, we are not allowed to approve expenditure where there is no revenue. So every expenditure we approve must have matching revenue and in this case, there is no matching revenue and that is the reason,” said Okoth.
He said that the government failed to disclose to the committee the source of funding for money required to purchase radio sets and therefore, they could not approve the proposed budget.
Charles Illukor, the Kumi County MP also said that the committee’s biggest challenge is the source of funding since they were not told where the money is going to come from to fund the supplementary budget requests.
“It was difficult for us to consider the expenditure when we are not sure where we are going to get the money from. We have differed considering much of that request until they come up with where the money is going to come from,” said Illukor.
Speaking about the proposed radio procurement, Illukor said that this was out-rightly rejected since it is wastage of money.
Illukor added that there is no capacity to supply 9 million radios saying that the entire process is suspicious. He questioned why the Education Ministry was spearheading the distribution of radios yet it is not in charge of households.
Last week, a due diligence team from the committee learnt that the local firm-Orion Transformers and Electrics Limited in Namanve Industrial Park being fronted by the Education and Sports Ministry to supply Ugandan homesteads with radio sets mainly deals in assembling transformers and woofers, Parliament learnt.
According to the Ministry of Education, Orion Transformers and Electrics Limited is expected to supply 5 million radio sets valued at Shillings 33,000 each while the remaining 4 million radio sets will be imported at 42,000 Shillings each.
However, Amos Lugoloobi the Budget Committee chairperson was hesitant to comment on the decision reached by the Committee.
He said that their position on the matter would be presented before Parliament on Thursday as required by the rules of procedure.
Bahati previously said that the supplementary budget schedule 3 would be funded from the borrowing of 6 trillion Shillings which is currently before Parliament’s National Economy Committee and any additional revenue.