Officials from the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs have today left Parliament with no hope of more money being added onto their meager budget.
The Justice, Law and Order sector appearing before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee are seeking an increment from the inadequate 3.5 billion shillings budgeted for the sector in the coming financial year 2013/2014.
Steven Tashobya, the committee chairperson, noted that the sector’s budget has had a steady and systematic decrement from 35 billion in the financial year 2010/2011 to 3.5 billion in the coming financial year. The money covering the sector’s non-wage Bill is not even enough to pay for the sector’s rent, water and electricity bills.
Maria Kiwanuka further dampened the JHLOS hope when she said that they would like to be able to finance the sector 100 percent but the reality is they are very much limited by the resources available.
Kiwanuka then read to the committee a mini economic lecture by stating that the country in the last 18 months dealt with an inflation crisis and the withdrawal of the development partners.
She added that they have used a three prong approach for the budgeting with emphasis on production and productivity when allocating disposable revenues. Government is focusing on infrastructure, roads, power and irrigation in order to reduce the bottlenecks faced by the private sector in agriculture and agro processing.
Kiwanuka explained to the committee that surveys carried out show that the four major requirements by the private sector is reliable power, passable roads, piped water and a skilled workforce. These would then trickle down to helping Ugandans deal with poverty, ignorance and disease.
She revealed that the budget for the next financial year is projected at 13.5 trillion shillings with the unfunded priorities standing at 3.6 trillion and they are aiming to see that the funding for the budget is achieved.
Matia Kasaija, the state minister for planning, expressed sympathy with the JHLOS sector. He was quick to add that if they do not as managers put their limited resources to things that will spur the economy then sustainability will be put to question.
Even though the Justice Ministry requested for 30 billion shillings as money for emoluments and recruitment of judges, government has only allocated 10 billion shillings.
Kasaija wondered how they would sustain the budget in the following year if they decided to increase salaries of teachers, doctors, judges and nurses among others if they do not build a base.
Retired Lt. Gen Moses Ali, the third Prime Minister, apologized on behalf of government for their inability to provide for every requirement.
He said that he has heard with sadness that there is a proposal that the Judiciary is going to close down due to lack of adequate funding.
The Judiciary has also in previous financial years raised the matter of the JHLOS house in order to stop spending 20 billion shillings in rent annually. However, Kiwanuka told the committee that they are still working on a public private partnership with development partners so as to acquire a loan to construct the house.