Public Finance Bill Silent On Local Govt – Sseggona

Busiro East Member of Parliament Medard Sseggona has said the proposed Public Finance law does not address issues of local governments which are the main dispensers of the budget.

Sseggona, who is also Shadow Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, says the Public Finance Bill in its current form seeks to centralize power. He argues that the Bill defines government to mean Central government which excludes local government.

Sseggona quotes Article 176 of the constitution that states that the system of governance is based on decentralization covering economic, political and social power. He adds that the Bill leaves out the two arms of government, Parliament and the Judiciary, which check excesses of the Executive. The bill comes three months before the reading of the 2013/2014 budget.

He adds that Parliament had given an allowance of up to three percent of the budget to be spent by government without approval. Sseggona, however, notes that the most dangerous thing is in Clause 21 of the Bill which allows the minister to authorize spending of ten percent of the budget without Parliament approval.
The Bill seeks to repeal the existing financial legislation and incorporate oil resources into it.

Sseggona says they would have no objection to the Bill but it has become a practice for government to bring a law under which they smuggle what he called some unacceptable and mischievous provisions.
He warns that if passed in its current state, the Bill will openly facilitate corruption by the executive.

The Public Finance Bill 2012 presented by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning is yet to be tabled for discussion on the floor of Parliament.
Five committees of parliament were recently tasked to examine the Bill before it comes up for the second reading and subsequent debate in the House.

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