Parliament stays approval of UGX 292Bn supplementary budget after letter is ready from the Uganda Land Commission
Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Parliament has postponed the approval of a Shillings 292billion Supplementary budget request by the government to among others procure more facemasks, ambulances and compensate Lusanja land eviction victims.
The Finance Minister tabled the supplementary budget expenditure request under Schedule No.4 amounting to Shillings 94.32 billion on December 18th, 2020.
However, the money increased on February 2, 2021 when the Minister laid an additional (addendum 1 and 2) request to Schedule No.4 amounting to Shillings 111.477billion and Shillings 86.597billion respectively.
The supplementary budget for the financial year 2020/2021 requires prior approval by parliament as provided for by the Constitution and the Public Finance Management Act, 2015.
Prior to this request, Parliament approved supplementary budgets worth Shillings 4.224 trillion Shillings mainly towards the Covid-19 pandemic response between Oct 1st, 2020 and November 18th, 2020.
The decision by the Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga to stay the approval of the supplementary budget followed disagreement by MPs in regards to the Shillings 12.1billion request under the Uganda Land Commission -ULC to settle outstanding compensation under the Land Fund to 6 beneficiaries.
Johnson Muyanja Ssenyonga, the Mukono South MP brought to the attention of Parliament a letter by the Chairperson ULC, Beatrice Byenkya Nyakaisiki raising a red flag on the approval of funds.
In the letter readout on the floor of parliament addressed to the speaker, Byankya said ULC was not privy to the compensation list before the House and that the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Beti Kamya needed to be brought to order.
Some of the beneficiaries on the list include Kasiya Rwabukurukuru with land at Kiyunga, Sheema (6.43 billion), Stephen Peter Nagenda of Kibale, Rwanswa (1.06 billion) and Julius Busuulwa of Buyaga in Kibaale (1.4 billion). Others are Natalia Namuli (1.6 billion), Yisaka Lwakana (125.3 million) and Mugisha Geoffrey (1.49 billion), all with land at Buyaga, Kibaale.
In response, Minister Beti Kamya said that the Uganda Land Commission was not acting in good faith since they were addressed about the matter.
Kasilo County MP, Elijah Okupa raised a matter of procedure, saying the matter is settled away from the floor of parliament so that there is an agreed position.
Kadaga directed the Budget Committee to resolve the issue of Uganda Land Commission and report back and stayed the approval of the entire supplementary budget until Thursday.
Besides the land compensation, the other supplementary budget requests that await approval are the Shillings 34.6 billion request by the Ministry of Health to procure ambulances for each district other than pickups, which are prone to abuse.
Patrick Isiagi, the Budget Committee Vice-Chairperson, said the Minister had proposed to procure 282 pick-up vehicles for the Local Governments (valued at USD 22,900 each) given the transport challenges of hospitals and Local Governments.
The other funds are to carter for the construction of two Border Health Posts at Vurra and Cyanika (2.4 billion) and phase one of two blood banks at Soroti and Arua (3.3 billion). Also, yet to be approved is the Shillings 33.5 billion budget request to procure and distribute more face masks by the Ministry of Health.
The trade Ministry is also seeking for Shillings 11.251billion to cater to the compensation of tobacco farmers in Bunyoro. The money arose out of the unpaid bill by two Tobacco Companies including Continental Tobacco Company Ltd (7.2 billion) and Nimatabac (U) Ltd (3.97 billion).
Also required is an addition Shillings 9.243 billion to be allocated for compensation for Cooperatives including Banyakole Kweterana Cooperatives (1 billion), Wamala Growers Cooperatives (1.5 billion), Busoga Growers Cooperatives ( 1 billion), Okoro Cooperative Union (743 million), Teso Cooperative (1 billion), West Nile Central Cooperative (1billion), Masaba Cooperative Union ( 2 billion) and Lango Cooperative (1 billion).
However, Kadaga said that justification for these particular funds is not yet clear and has since directed the line minister to provide the necessary information.
State House Parliament also delayed the approval of a request for Shillings 2.27billion to cater for the Anti-tick Vaccine development Initiative and establishment of Ngoma Field Tick Farm, Laboratory Restructuring, expression and production of proteins, equipment and personnel expenses among others.
The other money waiting for approval is Shillings 1.28billion for Uganda Cancer Institute to cater for outstanding payment to Ms Roko Construction Limited for pending certificate arrears, Shillings 600 million for Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) Covid-19 activities, Shillings 1.45 billion for Mandela National Stadium to meet staff, administrative and operational costs and others.