Minority Report on Supplementary Budget Tabled

Parliament is still discussing the Supplementary Budget
Parliament is still discussing the Supplementary Budget

Following a presentation of Supplementary Budget Schedule 2 that amounted to 46.9 billion by the State Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development Fred Omach of Financial Year 2012-2013 early this month, the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga referred it to the Budget Committee for scrutiny.

The Supplementary budget was supposed to cater for wage shortfalls of civil servants in different ministries and institutions including Police, Ministry of Education, State House and Mulago Referral Hospital.

The Budget Committee convened immediately and received supporting documents necessary for the supplementary budget from the Ministry of Finance and also received explanations from the Ministry of Finance Director Budget Kenneth Mugambi hence approving the supplementary last week.

The Chairperson of the Budget Committee Tim Lwanga presented the committee report to parliament for debate but surprisingly another committee member MP Cecilia Ogwal also presented a minority report moving under rule 194(1) which provides that a member dissenting from the opinion of the majority of the committee may state in writing the reason for his or her dissent and a statement of reasons shall be appended to the report of the committee.

Rule 194 (2) of the Rules of Procedure also provides that the member dissenting from the opinion of the majority on the Committee, shall be given time to present a minority report at the time of the consideration of the committee report in parliament.

Ogwal noted that she was presenting the minority report in good faith and that she had observed over years that issues of concern raised in the committee reports have continued to be raised on the floor of parliament for many years and that parliament was witnessing complete disregard of the recommendations made by both Budget Committee and Parliament.

In the minority report, Ogwal said that the legal requirements were not adhered to in the consideration of the supplementary expenditure schedule 2 saying that two fundamental laws were breached and not at all adhered to as required citing The Budget Act of 2001 and The Public Finance and Accountability Act 2003.

She said that section 16(2) of the Public Finance and Accountability Act states that supplementary estimates prepared shall indicate any effects on the financing requirement of government submitted and any estimated changes while the Budget Act under section 12 (3) states that any reallocation of funds shall be made in consultation with all the affected ministries, departments, institutions and organizations.

Ogwal alleged that there was clear evidence in the committee deliberations that the referred to consultations were not made by the Finance Ministry but instead there were arbitrary recaps of sector budgets to finance activities that were not of emergency as required by the law.

Ogwal noted that out of the total 46.9 billion shillings, none of this money is for the flood victims, the hunger stricken people of Karamoja or any calamity that has befallen any part of this country in the last 12 months.

She argued that instead, the bulk of money is for predictable expenditures which would have ordinarily been budgeted for citing wages, police operations, domestic utility arrears and State House operations saying that this is a total violation of the law which sanctions supplementary expenditures.

MP Ogwal further noted that the Supplementary has Budget indiscipline that in addition to legal expenditures, good financial management requires good management of budgetary resources saying that consequently a supplementary expenditure should be made for activities and expenditures that were not foreseen or arose as a matter of emergency.

She questioned whether the executive is realistic with planning and budgeting exercise saying that the minister of finance should give answers.

Ogwal begged for the indulgency of the Speaker and asked her to demand an apology from the executive for by-passing the procedure.

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