Download for PrintingDownload

Tuesday, 4 September 2007
Parliament met at 10.30 a.m. at Parliament House, Kampala.
(The Speaker, Mr Edward Ssekandi, in the Chair.)
The House was called to order.
THE SPEAKER: Honourable members, I want to welcome you and thank you for keeping time. Yesterday we agreed that we would sit from 10.00 a.m. so that we complete the work, which was supposed to have been completed on 31 August 2007.
Although I know there was an announcement, which they wanted me to make in respect to the exhibition on climatic change, I declined because I thought it would interrupt us. I do not know whether it is going on down in the hall and whether it might have affected the attendance, but honestly, we are borrowing time. We should have completed this work last week but we did not. Let us really be diligent and use this week to finish the estimates and then next week we start on the Finance Bill, then Appropriation Bill so that by end of this month the process is completed. Anyway, since the time was agreed on, I think there is nothing preventing us from proceeding.
We have to proceed, receive the committee reports and then later, maybe in the afternoon if we have finished receiving all of them, we may continue with the debate on the motion to resolve ourselves into a Committee of Supply so that we can start the supply tomorrow and go on for two days. I think we will be able to finish.
MR ODONGA OTTO (FDC, Aruu County, Pader): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I rise to seek your guidance and advice. Yesterday during the plenary session when we brought up the issue of the Parliament football club, it was agreed that Members make some small contribution to support the Uganda Cranes. Because it is was during the plenary session, it is all over the media that each Member of the Parliament of Uganda has contributed Shs 50,000 to support the Uganda Cranes. However, I realised yesterday that we did not formally pass a resolution that Members of Parliament would make that contribution other than us moving from Member to Member.
To make our work easy, I need your guidance because during our match with the Kenyan Parliament, in the programme it indicates that you should hand over a contribution on behalf of the Ugandan Parliament to the Uganda Cranes. I felt that just for formality, since there was agreement yesterday, you will guide us and we see how we get a formal resolution from Members of Parliament.
THE SPEAKER: I also heard on CBS that Parliament of Uganda contributed Shs 16 million. Well, this is what the public knows. I think what you are saying is that we should formalise it with a motion. Rt. Hon. Prime Minister, maybe I will start with the Leader of Opposition and then I will hear from you.
THE OPPOSITION CHIEF WHIP (Mr Kassiano Wadri): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. It is not the first time this Parliament has made contributions towards noble causes. I remember in the last Parliament Members were able to make contributions towards the purchase of motor vehicles to facilitate the Police to execute their duties. I think the motion and request put by my colleague, hon. Odonga Otto, is in the right direction. When Uganda Cranes wins, it will be the pride of the entire country. We also do appreciate that the sports department in the Ministry of Education and Sports is one of those departments, which is ill-facilitated. In that light, therefore, I wish to support the idea that Parliament passes a resolution to the effect that every member contributes Shs 50,000 during the month of September towards facilitation of the Uganda Cranes in the forthcoming match. I beg to move.
THE PRIME MINISTER (Prof. Apolo Nsibambi): Thank you, Mr Speaker. I also support the resolution but my worry was what the sanctions against those who do not pay are. I think the solution should be a request because you do not really have sanctions. There are those considerations. Otherwise, we support the resolution depending on how you move it. However, do not make it compulsory. You should request hon. Members of Parliament to pay Shs 50,000 each. Do not use hon. Wadris method of coercion. (Laughter)
MR LIVINGSTONE OKELLO-OKELLO (UPC, Chua County, Kitgum): Thank you, Mr Speaker. I support the Rt. Hon. Prime Ministers position. In this country we love sports and if it is a request, everybody will pay. However, I think the resolution should be amended (Interruption)
THE SPEAKER: Maybe let us first hear the resolution.
MR OKELLO-OKELLO: I mean the request for a resolution should be amended to read Shs 50,000 or more; why do you restrict the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister, for example, who may wish to pay Shs 100,000? Why do you restrict him to paying Shs 50,000? Therefore, let it be Shs 50,000 or more so that those who are willing to pay more can contribute more.
THE SPEAKER: Then I think we should hear the resolution. Do you have a formal one? Can you read it?
MR ODONGA OTTO: Mr Speaker, the following is a motion for a resolution of Parliament to contribute to Uganda Cranes through the Parliamentary Football Club, moved under rule 46(1)(k) of the Rules of Procedure of Parliament of Uganda:
WHEREAS the Uganda Parliamentary Football Club was revived on 01 August 2007 under the patron-ship of the Speaker of Parliament, whereupon an executive committee was constituted to manage the affairs of the Parliamentary Football Club;
AND WHEREAS there is need to support and promote football from constituency to national level by giving support to the national team, the Uganda Cranes, and the Uganda Parliamentary Football Club;
NOTING THAT there will be a match on 6 September 2007 between Uganda Parliamentary Football Club and the Kenya Parliamentary Football Club;
APPRECIATING that we leaders can make individual contributions to Uganda Cranes versus Niger in qualifying for the Africa Nations Cup on 8 September 2007;
NOTING FURTHER that through football we shall forge and promote unity for the East African Federation;
NOW, THEREFORE, be it resolved that each Member of Parliament contributes Shs 50,000 through the Uganda Parliamentary Football Club which in turn will be donated to Uganda Cranes.
I beg to move, Mr Speaker.
THE SPEAKER: Honourable members, you have heard the motion. Shs 50,000 is just fair. I think administratively it becomes easier to administer when the sum is uniform. Do we need a debate?
THE SPEAKER: So, I will put the question.
(Question put and agreed to.)
(Resolution passed.)
MR JOHN ODIT: Mr Speaker, just a few minutes ago I saw the minister and he walked out probably for consultation.
THE SPEAKER: Maybe we should stand over it?

MRS KABAKUMBA MASIKO: He is around. (Laughter)

THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR FINANCE, PLANNING (Mr Omwony Ojwok): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I beg to move that this House considers and approves the Supplementary Appropriation Bill, 2007. I beg to move.
THE SPEAKER: Certificate of Financial Implications? (Laughter)
THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR FINANCE, PLANNING AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, GENERAL DUTIES (Mr Fred Omach): Mr Speaker and honourable members, this is supplementary to the Appropriation Bill and we had already submitted the Certificate of Financial Implications.
THE SPEAKER: But they are two separate Bills; arent they? I think the Supplementary Appropriation Bill we are bringing is to cover the supplementary of the last financial year. Is that the case? -(Interjections)- so, it is a different Bill. Appropriation will be to cover the monies for this new financial year. That Certificate of Financial Implications is very simple because it is the amount actually in the Bill. That is the issue. So maybe you prepare it and bring it in the afternoon. (Laughter)
MR OMACH: Most obliged, Mr Speaker.
THE SPEAKER: Maybe before you present it, I want to repeat what we agreed upon. We agreed to debate four reports and receive the other reports but without prejudice to future debates of these reports in detail on policy matters. I want to receive them for purposes of the Budget. So, after we have cleared the Budget process, we shall arrange to debate whichever report you want us to debate. Earlier I had pointed out the Social Services Committee report, Agriculture Committee report and then others that you may find demanding.
THE CHAIRPERSON, COMMITTEE ON GENDER, LABOUR AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT (Mrs Teopista Ssentongo): Thank you, Mr Speaker and honourable members. I take this opportunity to present this report in accordance with the provisions of Article 90 and 155(4) of the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, rule 161 of the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament of Uganda, and Section 9 of the Budget Act, 2001.
The Committee on Gender, Labour and Social Development received, examined and discussed the policy statement and budget estimates for the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development for the financial year 2007/08 of Vote 018.
The committee further examined the ministrys mandate. The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development is a lead agency in the social development sector. To this end, it promotes the protection and empowerment of communities so that the poor and vulnerable, who constitute the majority of the population, are enabled to meaningfully participate in the development process -(Interruption)
MR ODIT: Mr Speaker, yesterday you guided the House that the remaining reports would be laid on the Table today so that we receive them and after concluding the budget, we shall be able to see how to debate them. Now the chairperson of the Committee on Gender, Labour and Social Development is presenting a full report and we do not even have copies of it. I would like to seek your guidance on how to go about with this presentation or the laying of reports on the Table.
THE SPEAKER: Yes, this is what we agreed; you lay the report on the Table, but you can make a very brief summary and then you go on. Do not read the report itself.
MRS SSENTONGO: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Regarding the circulation of copies, this was done earlier and Members have already got copies with them.
Basing on what we have agreed, I will just go through the pages and then where I really feel there is a need to maybe talk about an item, I will be able to do that.
The methodology is on page 2, followed by performance of the previous budget, recurrent activities -(Interruption)
MR KIGYAGI: Mr Speaker, we still think that we do not need to go through the report. If she has a one-page summary, let her read it and we proceed. We do not need to go through the pages.
THE SPEAKER: If you do not have a summary, its okay; just table the report.
MRS SSENTONGO: Thank you so much, Mr Speaker. I would like on behalf of my committee to beg the House to approve the budget that is allocated to the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development.
I beg that this House approves a total of Shs 22,610,438,000, of which Shs 14,564,133,000 is for recurrent and Shs 8,046,305,000 is for development (including donor funds), as the total budget required for the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development for the financial year 2007/08. I beg to move and I would like to lay our report on the Table. Thank you very much.
THE SPEAKER: Thank you very much, chairperson and members of the committee.
THE CHAIRPERSON, COMMITTEE ON INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (Mr Edward Baliddawa): Mr Speaker and honourable members, I would like to present the report of the Committee on ICT. This report is made in accordance with the provisions of Article 90 and 155 (4) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda and in compliance with rule 161 of the Rules of Procedure of Parliament and Section 9 of the Budget Act.
Mr Speaker, I am aware of the time constraint and would like to lay the committees report on the Table. It discusses at length our findings, observations -(Interruption)
THE SPEAKER: Can you please introduce yourself, honourable member?
MR BALIDDAWA: I am Baliddawa Edward, Member of Parliament Kigulu North. I am the Chairperson of the Information, Communication and Technology Committee.
I am aware of the time constraints and would like to lay on the Table the committees report, which discusses at length our findings, observations and recommendations. However, I would also like to highlight just a few important issues raised in this report.
The total budget earmarked for the sector amounts to Shs 9.17 billion, of which Shs 585 million is for wages and Shs 1.64 billion is for non-wage recurrent expenditure; Shs 4.26 billion is for development expenditure and Shs 2.67 billion is to cater for taxes. A further breakdown of the budget is in the report that I have just laid on the Table.
Mr Speaker, we did observe a number of issues and we made the following recommendations:
Fast-tracking a Legal Framework Necessary for the ICT Sector:
We feel that there must be an expeditious process to fast-track the legal process so that we can have an ICT regularised sector.
E-Governance and National Databank: 
Our committee recommends that the ministry should expedite the process of putting in place mechanisms to manage and operate the national databank now that the fibre optic cable has been laid.
We also recommend that the ministry should expedite the establishment of a telecommunications tribunal, which will be an arbiter among all the stakeholders in the sector.
In conclusion, our committee recommends that Parliament approves a total of Shs 9.17 billion for the Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology. I beg to move.
THE SPEAKER: Thank you very much, chairman and the committee.
THE CHAIRPERSON, COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES (Mr Emmanuel Dombo): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker and honourable members. This report is being presented in accordance with the Rules of Procedure and the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda.
Allow me to just make one comment, which those who are familiar with the Bible know very well; when God created the natural resources, he did not go ahead to create any additional resources after the six days. People, who are multiplying everyday, are increasing the competition for the utilisation of the available natural resources. This puts a lot of requirement on the people living now to judiciously use the existing natural resources to ensure that the future generations can also benefit from the use of the same natural resources. It is for this reason, Mr Speaker, that I wish to lay the report on the Table and also to make a summary of the observations, given the importance of the areas which are covered.
Members should note the specific areas covered under the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development: you know how important energy is to the economy.
Secondly, there is oil exploration and you know all that has been said, including the killing of the experts and the conflict between Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo. Also covered is the utilisation of the environment and the forests of Uganda, including Mabira, and you know what has been happening with the Mabira crusade and what the committee has done about it.
Finally, we also covered water. We know very well that water is life.
I wish to note that in the abridged summary, the committee observed certain things under the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, which we feel the relevant committees of this House should pick specific interest in. A notable point is that although Amber House is the property of government, there is a company called Amber House Ltd, which continues to collect colossal sums of money in rent from the Ministry of Energy, to the tune of about Shs 600 billion every year, and they also collect money from the other tenants. This money has never been declared, it has never been audited and nobody knows how it is being utilised. These are issues, which this Parliament should get interested in.
I want to say, on a positive note, that recently the Shadow Minister for Energy, other Members of this House and I represented this Parliament at the commissioning of Bujagali Dam. The Bujagali Dam is being commissioned during the tenure of this Parliament, and we shall go into the annals of history as having made a significant contribution to relieving the people of Uganda from the problem of energy.
Mr Speaker, the other issue that has been noted is that when distribution of energy was privatised in Uganda, there were salient issues which emerged and which necessitated our committee to interact with the ministry officials and also with UMEME as a private company. We discovered certain issues, which we would want to find out about in greater detail. For example, UMEME is required to make an investment of about US $60 million over a period of time, but it is implementing about US $11 million funded by World Bank on behalf of the Republic of Uganda. The question and the concern of the Members was: How best can the implementation be done without reflecting the resources from the World Bank to be counted as investments by UMEME? This requires a protracted forum by this Parliament and this committee. There are other issues that came up, which I will not go on to mention.
Allow me to state that our biggest concern when we met UMEME was that the very reasons why power distribution was privatised in the country are the same reasons UMEME is now coming out to cry about. They are talking about energy losses, for example; they were supposed to have reduced this substantially, but recently these losses have stagnated at 33 percent.
There is another huge problem, which we would want the government and the people of Uganda to help UMEME overcome; this is the stealing of the cables, especially the copper cables. Over a period of time UMEME has lost over 1,000 km of wire. We do not want all this to be reflected in the future bills of the people of Uganda. It is very painful.
Finally on energy, the public and the people do not know that out of 100 percent energy produced in Uganda, at about 70 percent of the cost, thermal energy contributes about 20 percent of the energy in Uganda. This is the use of generators. Unfortunately, thermal energy constitutes about 80 percent of the total cost of energy, and this makes it astronomical. Government should be urged to find resources to ensure that we adopt renewable energy so that progressively, the bills become less so that the goods of Uganda can become competitive in the markets that we are yearning for. If we do not do this, we shall be giving a very raw deal to our people in Uganda.
On the petroleum sector, we noted that Uganda is negotiating a current interest of 25 percent shares with a private company for the Uganda-Kenya Railway pipeline. Although this innovation is good, it requires prudent negotiation and proper monitoring by this Parliament to ensure that we do not get a raw deal out of that.
I also want to mention one other thing we noted and observed. Recently when there was lack of enough petroleum in the country, we discovered that Uganda does not have enough stock of fuel in our reserves to carry us even for over a period of two to three months. This is very risky for a country that is landlocked. Anything can happen. We are happy that Uganda has made sufficient discoveries of oil resources and we can have reserves underground, but these will only be meaningful if we are in the process of refining the same oil.
We did strongly recommend that negotiations or the current interests with the private developers in regard to the Kenya oil pipeline should be consciously done, as it can lead to losses in future. The government should ensure that the amount of fuel in the reserve is adequate to serve the nation during emergencies.
On oil exploration, Members know how important and strategic the oil exploration programme is. To us, the biggest issue was that there is growing insecurity in the oil exploration areas, especially between Uganda and Congo, which resulted into the killing of one expert and some more of our soldiers getting injured in the process.
We also noted that Uganda is in advanced stages of coming up with an oil policy and also of beginning a high production scheme to ensure that we refine oil in Uganda. These are strong issues, and allow us to make this strong observation as a committee: According to the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, under the National Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy, the state shall protect important natural resources including land, water, wetlands, minerals, oil, fauna and flora on behalf of the people of Uganda.
The committee notes that the current oil explorations are being done by government on behalf of the people. Parliament, as the peoples representatives, should be provided with information at every stage of exploration to keep the people of Uganda informed about their resources.
Mr Speaker, these are the issues that we stated. We specifically want to say that security concerns at the Congo Uganda border should be addressed with the urgency they deserve. Government should take expeditious steps that clearly re-establish the colonial boundaries, and make sure the exploration in the joint management zone is done with the consent and cooperation of the neighbouring countries.
We also note that the committee should be briefed on the oil and gas policy and oil exploration. The oil exploration and production sharing agreements should, as soon as it is appropriate, be put before this Parliament, preferably before the early production scheme commences. We make this recommendation because if Parliament through the relevant committees is going to monitor the exercise through the implementation of the agreements, it will be futile to monitor agreements that you have no information about. It is for this reason that Parliament is insisting as such.
Finally, in the mineral sector we discovered that there are two huge problems. The first one is lack of adequate information to guide the prospective companies and people who would want to do that. The second one is that there are many people and companies that have acquired mineral prospecting licences when they do not have the capacity to do it, and they want to trade in the prospecting licences. This will be very unfortunate. It will be like trading in chits, which the NRM government came to fight.
We, therefore, recommend that the mineral prospecting licensing regime should be revised to ensure that only competent companies are licensed to do the prospecting. The committee intends to visit some areas to acquaint themselves with what is happening on the ground.
I, therefore, wish the recommend that the following funds be provided for the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development for the financial year 2007/08:
Vote 17 - Energy and Minerals: recurrent expenditure is Shs 6,072,082,000 and development expenditure is Shs 522,944,644,000.
For the Ministry of Water and Environment, I did make brief observations as follows:
On the counterpart funding, which we raised yesterday, we also observed that outsourcing for products and programmes being undertaken by the ministry is being done at the expense of the people who have been hired by the ministry, and they are many.
We also observed that although the national water coverage is 62 percent, this statistical figure remains deceptive because some areas are far above, that is 90 percent, and some areas are as below as 30 percent. To this we recommend that those areas that are far below the national average should be given affirmative action to ensure that they also cover the national average. This should be done through provision of sufficient funds in the budget process.
We also noted strongly that for Northern Uganda, a lot of funds have been committed to the provision of water in the camp areas but right now people are being decongested and asked to go back to their rural areas. There must be a co-ordinated provision of water services to encourage safe livelihood in the villages where the people are. The Office of the Prime Minister should ensure that in the implementation of these programmes, there is co-ordination on the ground to avoid duplication of services given the multiplicity of NGOs in that area.
Finally on water, we noted that there is increasing discrepancy in the resources being provided for sanitation. Sanitation is either taken as a school activity or a responsibility of Ministry of Health or that of the Ministry of Water and Environment.
As a committee, we recommend that government comes up with a properly co-ordinated sanitation policy to ensure that proper sanitation is provided for the people. This will reduce on the amount of money that we spend on curative medicine.
We also want to recommend that in future when we implement our work, we must always focus on some Millennium Development Goals, which we have to achieve by certain a specific date. Further, we recommend that in future, committees must be in a position to report how far they are moving towards the fulfilment of those specific Millennium Development Goals.
On wetlands, we noted a serious problem. Allow me to report that there are about three important things that the committee observed:
Mr Speaker and honourable members, you will note that recently there were media reports that National Water and Sewerage Corporation was pumping greenish water for use, and also that the water had faecal material. I want to say that the committee got interested in this issue and even got some results from the lab tests that were conducted by the professional organisations before they assured the population that the water was good and meeting international standards. I want to report that as a committee, we wondered about the motive of the person who published the information that scared the people of Uganda, especially during this time when Uganda is preparing for CHOGM. We strongly recommend that an investigation be done.
The Ministry of Finance recently proposed (Interruptions)
THE SPEAKER: I think there was an apology, which was tendered by the Kampala City Council because of that statement, which originated from Kawempe.
MR DOMBO: Yes, Mr Speaker. As a committee we got copies of that apology but like I earlier on said, after reading it we could not establish the objective of that publication.
Let me also say something on the environment. Recently, the Ministry of Finance came up with a very strong proposal to ban buveera (Interruption)
THE SPEAKER: Honestly, honourable chairperson, please wind up. You had come to the conclusion when you read the approval of Vote 019 and we expected you to be moving to other Votes and conclude.
MR DOMBO: Mr Speaker, allow me to say that there are two more issues; one is in respect to the forest sector. I must say that as a committee we have made strong recommendations, which we shall have an opportunity to go through when the time for debating the report in full comes.
Finally, I wish to move that the following funds be provided to the ministry for the financial year 2007/2008:
Vote 19  Ministry of Water and Environment: recurrent expenditure is Shs 5,925,871,000 and development expenditure is Shs 96,955,463,000.
Vote 150  National Environment Authority: recurrent expenditure is Shs 1,802,972,000 and development expenditure  is Shs 6,769,806,000.
Vote 157  National Forestry Authority: recurrent expenditure  of Shs 200,000,000.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move. Thank you very much.
THE SPEAKER: Thank you very much, chairman and all the members of the committee, for this report.
MRS OKURUT: Mr Speaker, with all due respect to the chairman, I am seeking guidance from you on the way forward. Whereas I appreciate that water is life and that when the story appeared in the press that our water was contaminated, many people did not have breakfast, I do not think that what the chairman presented is a summary. I am begging that you give guidance on what a summary should be. I am saying this because I do not think that a summary can last the length of time that this particular one did. I thank you, Mr Speaker.
THE SPEAKER: I think what you are trying to say is that the report is raising a number of issues yet as a summary it has taken a very long time to be presented. I expect other people who are going to present theirs to be very brief. I want to assure you that we shall have time to debate these reports extensively. Thank you.


THE CHAIRPERSON, COMMITTEE ON TOURISM, TRADE AND INDUSTRY (Mr Pereza Ahabwe): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. As earlier mentioned, the Constitution and our Rules of Procedure mandate this committee to make this kind of presentation.
The committee made a few observations. One of them is that although tourism continues to be the highest foreign exchange earner for Uganda, government budgetary allocations are still very little.
The other observation is that whereas this sector belongs to some international organisations, our contribution as a government to these organisations has been shortcoming. As we talk now, government owes US $380,000 to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA); it owes US $260,000 to the World Tourism Organisation and a number of others.
I must add that sometime back we were informed that actually Uganda has been suspended from the World Tourism Organisation because of reneging on their contributions.
Mr Speaker, the other serious observation we made regards the activities of the Uganda National Bureau of Standards. The Uganda National Bureau of Standards is mandated to check standards of all goods and services offered in the country especially for those goods that are imported from foreign countries. The National Bureau of Standards is supposed to check 52 border points but because of lack financial resources, it only covers 14. Our observation is that the counterfeit issue that we always hear of is a result of that shortcoming.
Let me also say one or two things in regard to the department of industry. You are aware we received a petition from the manufacturers of buveera. The petition came to your office although it also came to us. Our genuine observation is that it is not true that manufacturers are objecting to the banning of the buveera of 30 microns; they are only complaining about the short time that was given to them to wind up business. So they are praying that government reconsiders this period. In fact they argued that if they were given six months to reorient their businesses and another about three months to clear their stock, they would be in line with that government proposal.
I have one general observation regarding the sector of tourism -(Interruption)
MR KIGYAGI: Mr Speaker, before he lays the report on the Table, I beg your guidance on one thing: I am not debating the report but I have noticed that recommendation No.5 says that the banning of the small gauge (below 30 microns) buveera should be temporarily lifted to give time to the users like the bakeries, et cetera to adjust their materials. My observation is that if this recommendation is passed, it will be against the spirit of the East African Community and this House. I am saying this because of the resolution that was tabled here by hon. Banyenzaki.
The government has come out to say that in liaison with the whole of East Africa, buveera of gauge 30 microns should be banned. I know that manufacturers were given the months of July, August and now they have up to the end of September to reorient their businesses. Surely, if this recommendation is adopted will it not be against this position, given the fact that government is already collecting taxes from plastic materials? Will it not reverse the deal and be injurious to the whole thing? It is in that spirit that I propose that recommendation No.5 be (Interjection)
THE SPEAKER: We are not passing anything now. As I said, we are going to debate these reports in future. When you make that statement, however, you should know what is happening in other partner states; what is the status in the other partner states? Anyway, we are not debating this report, we are only receiving it.
MR KIGYAGI: Are we not adopting it?
THE SPEAKER: I said we are only receiving it.
MR KIGYAGI: Okay, I thank you for that guidance.
MR AHABWE: Mr Speaker, when you said that you had asked the Chairman of the Budget Committee to constitute an ad hoc committee to look into this matter, I realised that we are moving at the same pace. I am saying this because the chairman of the Budget Committee had asked the Committee on Natural Resources and the Committee on Finance to constitute a committee and discuss this matter at length. I want to report that we actually did that, and in our resolution we agreed to make a follow-up on that issue within the region.
In that regard, I want to report that according to the information we have, I can say without any reservations that hon. Kigyagi is not being very honest. As a committee we have information that actually in Kenya the ban has been temporarily lifted and they are to review it in January next year. Therefore, this kind of review by Uganda to take into consideration the interests of our industrialists and traders is not contrary to the East African spirit as he is saying.
It is not true that the principle of banning is unacceptable; the issue is, why not give us enough time to wind up, to relocate and to reorient our industrialisation and factories elsewhere. That is the argument. The argument is not against a total ban. The issue is, give us enough time so that we can wind up business.
Mr Speaker, it is known that the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry is not taken seriously by government, and the evidence to this effect is the dismemberments to this sector.
We observe that although the Uganda National Council of Science and Technology is supposed to belong to this sector, it is currently under the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development. We further observed that Uganda Investment Authority is also wrongly placed under the Ministry of Finance yet it should be under this sector. Because of this the ministry is constrained in terms of co-ordination and realising its mandate. Accordingly, we observed that the AGOA office, which is supposed to handle exports in relation to the AGOA programme in America, is not under this sector but under the Office of the President.
Given this situation, our observation is that it looks like government does not have confidence in its own institutions. Our recommendation in respect of this is that there must be re-organisation in these sectors so that there is a one-stop centre to handle matters of trade and industry.
Lastly, we have a general observation that without a well functioning Ministry of Agriculture and without Ministry of Finance taking adequate seriousness in availing finances to these sectors, the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry will never function though it is one of the most necessary and productive ministries that we have.
Therefore, this committee recommends that something similar to the Justice, Law and Order arrangement is established to correct the confusion between Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry, so that these ministries can start to move together and we can ably realise the potential that is obvious in this sector.
The committee recommends that this Parliament passes Vote 015 as follows: recurrent expenditure, Shs 13,249,323,000; development expenditure, Shs 27,616,145,000; and the total, Shs 40,865,468,000. Mr Speaker, I beg to move.
THE SPEAKER: Thank you very much, chairperson and members of the committee for the report.
THE CHAIRMAN, COMMITTEE ON PHYSICAL INFRASTRUCTURE (Mr Nathan Byanyima): Thank you, Mr Speaker and honourable members. Following all the normal parliamentary procedures and our Rules of Procedure, I beg to brief you on the report of the Committee on Physical Infrastructure on the estimates of the financial year 2007/2008. The report is supposed to be circulated (Interruption)
THE SPEAKER: Do you have copies?
MR BYANYIMA: The copies are available.
The sector covers two ministries, that is, the Ministry of Works and Transport and Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development. When the issue of roads comes into this House, I know everybody gets jittery about their performance. I will begin by saying that the committee has concerns and then will share achievements that they have noted.
Generally speaking, while the Ministry of Works and Transport has had some problems especially as regards supervising, we feel that the government has not realised that of all public utilities like roads, education and health, it is only the road sector that does not have any private sector connected to it. As a result, the money apportioned to road maintenance has been very little.
It was, therefore, to the amazement of this House that the Shs 45 billion, which was meant for road maintenance all over the country in your constituencies, has been reallocated for CHOGM in Kampala. The committee is of the view that come rain or shine, the moment that money continues to go for CHOGM, the situation will be aggravated especially in the Eastern region where we have had heavy rains and also in the Northern region. The committee is gravely concerned that the Minister of Finance did not listen to this problem. How many of you Members of Parliament have gone to Mulago for treatment? You always go to private clinics and hospitals. How many of you take your children to government schools? Everyday you use these roads and that is why the Ministry of Works and Transport should be given this money, after that it will be our responsibility to monitor performance, rather than treating it like any other service ministry.
The committee was also concerned about the delays of some projects especially the Soroti-Dokolo-Lira Road, the Jinja-Bugiri Road, the Kampala Northern By-pass and many others.
At the same time, the committee was fairly happy that the ministry was able to concentrate on development projects especially in Karuma, Olwiyo, Pakwach, Nebbi to Arua, which was a very good sign of development. However, it was noted that the road from Moyo to Sudan should be given priority so that we can provide an outlet to Sudan and business can boom. All this can only be done if the Government of Uganda makes roads a priority or an engine of economic development.
Inadequate counterpart funding on the part of government has cost the country enormous interest; most of the donor money is lying idle because of lack of counterpart funding. As we talk now the Kisoro-Bunagana Road has not taken off because Ministry of Finance is not releasing the money for compensation. Yesterday the Minister of Finance said that the donors would be giving us a complete package soon to cater for compensation. However, it should be noted that donors are in for development projects like starting of new roads; road maintenance is entirely our job.
The Ministry of Works is undergoing restructuring. They are divesting their main duties and entrusting all the work with Uganda National Road Authority, which this Parliament enacted. This body is supposed to take on professional and efficient people to run it professionally, so that politicians or big hands do not influence the flow of services. This body is supposed to take off very soon; actually, by October we should have an executive director of Uganda National Road Authority.
This Parliament is earnestly waiting for the Road Fund. You all know that the Ministry of Finance abolished license fees and levied fees on fuel instead, so people who use roads more often pay more money. Unfortunately, while the Minister of Finance had to take all the principles of the Bill to Cabinet, he is almost withdrawing the Bill because he wants the Road Fund to be managed by the Ministry of Finance. However, we feel that this Bill should be brought here and laid on Table so that it goes to the Committee of Finance so that we can have the Road Fund (Interruption)
MR OMACH: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. What the chairman has stated is true. The Bill will be brought here by the responsible ministry. I thank you.
MR BYANYIMA: Mr Speaker, our concern has been that the roads are in a bad state so we should have a special fund ring-fenced specifically for road maintenance because donors are willing to give us development money. We are thinking of Atiak, Moyo, Bundibugyo, Mbale, to Moroto. Since we put up this Road Fund, members of the society have been going to sensitisation workshops to learn about the use of the Road Fund. We further request that we visit some other countries like Tanzania and Namibia where a road fund has been operating.
Surprisingly, however, instead of bringing the Bill here, there is a small component in the Finance Bill. The committee is wondering why we dont withdraw it and handle it in the relevant Committee of Finance. I would want the Minister, before he leaves here, to tell us when the Bill is coming because we want Ministry of Finance to get their hands off the Road Fund. Let them appoint a professional body to handle it so that they can feed the Uganda National Road Authority, and so that the people who are paying levies on fuel get the benefit of having good roads. Mr Speaker, enough is enough. When you look at the bridges in Northern and Eastern Uganda - look at todays paper, for example, some parts of Moroto cannot be reached because the bridges have collapsed. This is because there is no money for these bridges.
I request that the Minister of Works and Transport and the Minister of Finance take us through a days session so that we can be conversant with what is happening in the country concerning roads. There is no point in apportioning blame, but we are in bad shape. All of us use these roads and our constituencies are in a bad shape especially with these rains. Without the Ministry of Finance coming together with the Ministry of Works, we will not move anywhere.
Thirdly, Mr Speaker, the committee has been coming here every year talking about having a second bridge in Jinja because the one we have, which was put up I think in 1954, has already developed cracks. The Minister talks about designs and architectural plans but there is no money to back it up. Recently you all saw what happened in America and in Congo. Many people lost their lives. I think that a stitch in time saves nine. We better think seriously about having a second bridge at the earliest opportunity.
We talk of road safety measures; I am happy that you have been at the forefront in realising that while we used to cry about malaria killing people, now it is vehicles killing them. We have a bad history and it is because of our political hands. Whenever a measure is put in place, our local people run to the President, the Vice-President and the ministers and they say hold on. If we enforced speed governors for example and the road safety rules and regulations that we have, we would minimise the accidents in this country. However, the ministry -(Interruption)
MR DOMBO: Sorry for the interruption, but I specifically wanted to get clarification because we seem to be talking about two important things but we are not putting our resources together. Right now government has commissioned the construction of a second dam at Bujagali and that dam is going to be built across the River Nile. Is it too late to modify the structures and designs so that a second dam could carry the alternative bridge and we kill two birds with one stone? Has the Minister of Works considered seeking that clarification to see whether it is possible so that we harness our resources together?
MR BYANYIMA: I think that will be the work of the Minister of Works and the Minister of Energy; you all know the view of the committee about the contractor of the Bujagali Dam. The same case came up with the Northern By-pass. Kampala City Council wanted to make a channel before the by-pass but when the two departments would have merged and constructed one big channel that would avoid floods in Kawempe, they would not co-operate. As we construct the Kampala Northern By-pass, another World Bank project is coming in to tamper with the work that is being done. Therefore, hon. Dombo, I am happy with that idea and I hope that your ministry and the sector that we supervise will come together.
I was talking about road safety. There is very bad history in Rwanda where they used to have so many people dying after accidents but today the moment you drive into Rwanda, automatically your speed changes to 60 KPH and that is normal. As a result, accidents have more or less been zeroed to four people dying in a month and yet here we have six people dying everyday after boda boda accidents and many other motor vehicle accidents. I think the onus is on this Parliament.
Mr Speaker, you requested our committee to come out with a report on road safety. Concurrently with the budget, we have been interviewing a number of people and we shall come with the report. We want your support to ensure that Members of Parliament are at the forefront of ensuring that we have road safety measures on our roads. As we requested, the minister should take this Parliament through an explanation on the roads because it is too much and we do not have time.
I want to talk briefly about the East African Civil Aviation Academy, which is a centre of excellence agreed upon by the three heads of state in Arusha. However as we talk now, Soroti Flying School is not worth the name that it has. There are only a few students and the aircrafts are as old as Byanyima, who is about 50 years. Why dont we take up Soroti Flying School as our baby because most of the pilots that we have in Africa have come from that school? Instead, we have ignored it. The committee is of the view that the government gives attention to Soroti Flying School.
Concerning the Ministry of Lands, this ministry does not get any donor support yet we all know that land is real property. Lands has suffered so much to the extent that restructuring it and adding Housing and Urban Development means the Minister has no office, no vehicle and no budget. Actually, he has been using money from other departments. It has taken so long for the Ministry of Public Service to decide because the Minister came in July 2006. He has no budget yet this is an important department in the ministry.
Concerning the issue of the building department which used to have minimal revenue, having got communication from Ministry of Works and Housing, it was brought under Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development. However, I am sorry to say that this department has again remained under the Ministry of Works. The committee is of the view that at the earliest opportunity, hon. Prime Minister, a decision must be taken. We voted for money for the building department here under Ministry of Lands but as soon as we had finished appropriating the money, it went to Ministry of Works. Nobody should be fighting because all ministers have schedules of work. We feel that -(Interruption)
THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR WORKS (Mr John Byabagambi): Mr Speaker, the matter the chairman is referring to was resolved last week in Cabinet.
MR DOMBO: Mr Speaker, a couple of days ago I rose on the Floor of this House on this issue and from the presentation of the Chairperson of the Committee on Physical Infrastructure, it is very conspicuous that the matter of land is not being given the due attention that it requires. Right now there are so many reforms in the ministry about policy and administration. Land is a natural resource but because of the reorganisation of ministries, lands and housing was referred to the Ministry of Works and is under the Physical Infrastructure Committee. I want to propose that in future we have a specific committee dealing with matters of land so that we can streamline policy, law and issues governing land and so that we stop cushioning it under physical infrastructure. It has been conspicuous from the presentation that we need to do more in order to give matters of land the due attention that it requires. I thank you, Mr Speaker.
MR BYANYIMA: Mr Speaker and honourable members, our concern is that if the issue of the building department has been resolved, then we need to know where it is going so that we can all be comfortable that this department is again under Ministry of Works or it has gone to its rightful home in the Ministry of Lands.
MR BYABAGAMBI: Mr Speaker, as I had informed the House earlier on, this issue was resolved and the building department has been merged together with the department of quality of materials to form the department of quality control of materials. So, in the Ministry of Works we are supposed to be setting the specifications of construction of public buildings and public works. The housing section, which deals with building and construction and human resettlement, is with the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development.
MR BYANYIMA: Mr Speaker and honourable members, I think that you can all read between the lines. How do you separate the building department from the housing department? This is not really a big case but we felt that you cannot have a Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development and then you remain with a small component somewhere else. With land wrangles all over the country and with people killing each other, such as the case of the Balaalo and many others, it is because the government has not given land a priority. Each of us here has a plot of land or a house and according to the law, land is real property. However, yesterday the minister said that it takes one year for one to get a land title. The Ministry of Lands is really in confusion because there is no money available to them to do neat work.
The committee had proposed that most of the land titles and registries should remain within the ministries to avoid our people walking long distances coming to Kampala and staying for so long to get titles. However, all this requires money and the ministry does not have enough money.
Mr Speaker, with the Land Act, we have cases of people who own land especially in Kibaale, Kasese, Nakasongola, Ankole and many other parts of the country. We were supposed to have a Land Fund so that we compensate the owners of the mailo land. They lost interest but the people who are already staying on their land can get registered interests. The Land Commission, which has its own vote, has only recurrent expenditure. They have no money to pay those people. If you go to the Ministry of Lands or to the Land Commission, you will find people from Kibaale lining up for their money. It has taken so long! It is only the few people who are well connected that get compensated.
The committee is of the view that money should be got so that the ranchers and the people of Kibaale and many other places are paid up, so that we can have some sanity in relation to land wrangles.
Mr Speaker, we feel that the urban development department should be given a boost so that the planning department can be given a task to plan our towns, unlike what we have in Kampala.
Those are the few statements that I wanted to give on both ministries. I feel that at a later stage we shall have a better discussion on the issue.
I beg to move that the following monies be passed for the following ministries:
The Ministry of Lands and Urban Development: recurrent expenditure is Shs 12,940,000,000 and development expenditure is Shs 6,065,000,000.
The Uganda Land Commission (Interruption)
MR AMURIAT: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I think it is necessary for the figures to be read correctly. The chairperson of the committee misread the total and referred to it as recurrent expenditure. It was a total and not the recurrent expenditure.
MR BYANYIMA: I am sorry, Mr Speaker and honourable colleagues. Patrick is the shadow minister and a committee member; he knows most of these figures. The recurrent expenditure for the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development is Shs 6,290,000,000 and the development expenditure is Shs 6,650,000,000.
The Uganda Land Commission - Vote 156: recurrent expenditure is Shs 270,000,000 and non-wage expenditure is Shs 910,000,000.
The Ministry of Works and Transport - Vote 16: recurrent expenditure is Shs 152,879,000,000 and development expenditure is Shs 449,252,500,000.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move.
THE SPEAKER: Thank you, chairperson and the members of the committee, for the report.
THE VICE-CHAIRPERSON, COMMITTEE ON FINANCE, PLANNING AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (Mr Wamakuyu Mudimi): Mr Speaker, I beg to lay the report of the Committee on Finance, Planning and Economic Development on the Table, for the following votes:
Vote 008 - Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development; Vote 018 - National Planning Authority; Vote 131 - Office of the Auditor-General; Vote 141 - Uganda Revenue Authority; Vote 13 - Uganda Bureau of Statistics -(Interruption)  
MR MUTULUUZA: Mr Speaker, yesterday I was not here in the morning but I was here in the evening. This morning I did not see the report from the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development. I am wondering whether it is procedurally right for him to continue without us having that report.
MR KIGYAGI: The report of Finance, Planning and Economic Development was given to us a week ago and put in our pigeonholes.
MR WAMAKUYU: Thank you, honourable member. The copies were submitted. Maybe the honourable member has not been around and that is why he has not accessed his copy.
Lastly, we have Vote 153 - Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA).
Mr Speaker, before I lay the report on the Table, I want to go through some observations and recommendations.
Unutilised balances at the end of the financial year:
The committee observed that there are some balances, which are returned to the Consolidated Account, but these monies are not reflected as opening balances. Therefore, the committee recommends that the Ministry of Finance should utilise those funds and show us the opening balances for the next financial year.
Debt Sustainability
Ugandas debt stands at US $1.1 billion, that is, around Shs 1.94 trillion, as at 31 March 2007, which is about 40 percent of the budgeted resource envelope for the financial year 2007/2008. This debt includes arrears, principal and interest, which amounts to US $0.234 billion.
Secondly, there are delays in utilisation of approved loans that government secures to implement various programmes -(Interruption)
THE SPEAKER: Honourable members, we had agreed on just a brief summary. Just lay the report on the Table and they debate it, or highlight a few things.
MR WAMAKUYU: I will be brief, Mr Speaker. The committee recommended that the debt management strategy should be reviewed and adhered to by the Ministry of Finance. All necessary arrangements and systems for projects programme implementation should be in place before securing loans to avoid carrying penalties for late utilisation.
The committee established that the Ministry of Finance and other spending agencies have continued to access foreign funds for a number of projects, which are neither declared nor integrated in the MTEF ceilings. There are many programmes, which ministries and departments handle, that are not part of the MTEF. This violates the principle of budgeting and may cause macro-economic instability.
All projects and loans secured by spending agents should be declared and be subjected to the budgeting process.
Any accounting officer who fails to declare donor funding and projects under their jurisdiction should be personally held accountable.
Micro-finance interventions are not regulated in the country and government has failed to come up with a Bill to regulate Tier IV. There is no clear policy for co-ordinating all stakeholders in delivering macro-finance services in the country.
Whereas the agricultural sector employs the majority of the people in the country, there is no clear focus and strategy for providing this sector with affordable micro-finance services.
The government has now created a department of micro finance reflected in the ministerial policy statement of Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development yet there is no law to empower this department to execute its mandate.
The government should urgently bring the Bill for regulating Tier IV financial institutions to Parliament -(Interjection) 
THE SPEAKER: Mr Chairman, we can inform you that this was the position of the Seventh Parliament, that the ministry brings up this law but it is now almost four years since we did that and this is on record.
THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR FINANCE, PLANNING AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, GENERAL DUTIES (Mr Fred Omach): Mr Speaker, we took a submission here when we read the budget that the Tier IV regulation -(Interruption) 
THE SPEAKER: And for your information, hon. Prof. Kamuntu was the chairman of the committee.
MR OKUPA: Mr Speaker, hon. Omach was the Vice-Chairman of the Finance Committee at the time. (Laughter)
MR OMACH: Mr Speaker, in the Budget Speech we did make it clear that Tier IV regulations will be tabled through the Cabinet and to Parliament in September 2007, and it shall be done.
MR NSUBUGA: Mr Speaker, I want to correct the information that the minister has just given us. If you recall, during the debate on the budget statement for the financial year ending 2006/2007, the minister made categorical statements that Tier IV regulations were supposed to be presented to this House within nine months. The honourable minister, who is actually present, was heading that sectoral committee, which was concerned with the drafting. That was actually a stand (Interruption)
THE SPEAKER: Well, he has said September and we are in September. So it means that within less than 30 days, this will be realised.
MR WAMAKUYU: Non-Performing Assets Recovery Trust (NPART): Parliament extended the legal life of NPART up to October this year and it is supposed to wind up its activities by then.
The Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development should present the Bill to repeal the NPART Act and provide a transfer of assets and liabilities.
Bank of Uganda
Whereas Article 155 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda mandates Parliament to scrutinise policy statements and budgets for all government institutions, Bank of Uganda has not complied with this constitutional requirement. Bank of Uganda has consistently refused to comply with PPDA laws and regulations.
Bank of Uganda must submit their annual recurrent expenditure budget for scrutiny and appropriation by Parliament -(Interjection)
THE SPEAKER: Is that the law?
MR WAMAKUYU: Mr Speaker, Bank of Uganda is one of the semi-autonomous bodies under the Ministry of Finance so it must submit.
THE SPEAKER: Are you saying that Bank of Uganda should submit its budget to Parliament?
MR WAMAKUYU: Mr Speaker, we assume so because Bank of Uganda is utilising funds from the Consolidated Account.
THE SPEAKER: You may have to examine that.
MR WAMAKUYU: Mr Speaker, we shall examine that. Bank of Uganda must comply with the provisions of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets regulations.
In conclusion, I beg the House to approve a recurrent budget of Shs 37,633,000,000 and a development budget of Shs 295,160,000,000 for the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development - Vote 008. The total is Shs 322,793,000,000.
Vote 108 - National Planning Authority
The National Planning Authority (NPA) did not include donor funding of Shs 2,370,520,000 for the Uganda Capacity Building Programme as part of the MTEF ceiling. This violates budgeting principles.
The existence of a full time board of directors of NPA violates the principles of corporate governance. This breeds conflict in authority and compromises accountability by way of failing to establish a responsibility centre.
NPA continues to operate like a unit under the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development. This significantly affects the performance of the authority.
The staffing level of NPA is at 50 percent so we recommended that efforts should be made to raise the level of political supervision by placing NPA under the office of the Vice-President or Prime Ministers office.
The Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development should come up with an amendment to the National Planning Authority Act 2002 to address, among others, the anomaly of a full time board of directors.
NPA must declare all resources, including the donor component, to the MTEF.
In conclusion, the committee recommends the approval of the following funds for Vote 108, NPA, for financial year 2007/2008: recurrent expenditure, Shs 2,189,315,000; development expenditure is Shs 331,000,500; and the total is Shs 2,720, 315,000.
Vote 131 - Office of the Auditor-General
Although the office of the Auditor-General has been operating as a Vote under the Ministry of Finance, they have not been submitting their policy statement. This is the first time they are submitting it.
It was established that the Office of the Auditor-General conducted 704 out of 1,314 audits, representing 53 percent of the achievement. This performance is below the acceptable standards of the office of the Auditor-General. Whereas the office of the Auditor-General should spearhead and ensure compliance with the budgeting and public finance and accountability requirements, it was found lacking in aspects of evidence. They were not declaring donor components in the MTEF ceiling -(Interruption) 
MR DOMBO: Mr Speaker, as you know, according to the Constitution, the Auditor-General is an officer who reports to Parliament. Now the honourable member has made a very strong observation that the performance of the office of the Auditor-General is below expectation. I want to find out from the honourable member, so that it is put on record, what the cause of this is. Is it lack of capacity or is it under-facilitation? Could you just briefly put it on record so that if the problem is not from the Auditor-Generals office, then Parliament could find out how best to support the institution to enable it be supported better?
MR WAMAKUYU: Thank you, honourable member. When we met officials from the office of the Auditor-General regarding its performance, they clearly told us that they do not have the capacity to manage the work. Most of them are doing professional courses, which the government is sponsoring, after which they go and look for greener pastures. So they do not have the capacity. It was observed that the office of the Auditor-General earmarked Shs 3,704,000,630 for the implementation of FINMAP and Shs 4.5 billion for the institutional support project for good governance during the financial year 2007/2008. These funds were not included in the MTEF.
The Auditor-General should declare all sources of funds in the financial year and they should be included in the MTEF ceiling. The FINMAP component of Shs 1.862 billion under Vote 008, Ministry of Finance, should be transferred to the Auditor-Generals office.
The Auditor-Generals office should desist from all forms of indisciplined practices of not declaring public funds, especially donor funding. All these funds should be declared and incorporated in the MTEF ceiling.
In conclusion, the committee recommends that the following resources be approved by this House for Vote 131, office of the Auditor-General, for financial year 2007/2008: recurrent expenditure, Shs 6.38 billion and development expenditure is Shs 1.35 billion. The total is Shs 7.3 billion.
Vote 141  URA
Whereas URA has improved revenue collection with respect to the GDP ratio, which stands at 13.4 percent, it is still below that of the East African Community partner states. Kenya is about 20 percent, Tanzania is about 14 percent and the average of sub-Sahara is 18 percent.
It was established that a number of companies have continued to file losses when they are actually making returns and claim input tax on VAT, which translates into revenue loss to government.
In a bid to recover tax arrears from local government, URA has been freezing accounts for many districts. This intervention led to undesirable consequences such as non-payment of employee salaries and stifling of service delivery.
Counterfeit products have continued to flood the market stripping off genuine products. This has an effect on revenue collection and the local industry.
URA should devise a more appropriate mechanism of recovering taxes from local governments without crippling the activities of the local governments by freezing their accounts.
The accounting officers of the defaulting local governments should be personally held accountable for non-remittance of taxes such as PAYE and withholding taxes. These are taxes, which they deduct at source but when local government writes cheques to URA, they utilise the money for other things yet employees have not been paid.
URA should strengthen the capacity to check the inflow of counterfeit products.
URA should intensify audits in corporation taxes.
In conclusion, the committee recommends that the following resources be allocated for vote 141, Uganda Revenue Authority, for financial year 2007/2008: recurrent expenditure is Shs 77,553,923,120, development expenditure is Shs 10,279,834,142, and the total is Shs 87.833 billion.
Vote 143 - Uganda Bureau of Statistics
Uganda Bureau of Statistics launched the Plan for National Statistical Development (PNSD) and they were able to get some basket funding from DFID and other donors. There is an allocation of Shs 3.5billion from Ministry of Finance for the Community Information System (CIS) but there is no allocation for PNSD for this financial year yet both programmes are important.
The Uganda Bureau of Statistics has been operating under a shortfall. It is running 28 core programmes but the money they get from the Ministry of Finance is not enough for them to take on all these programmes and yet these are on a monthly basis. So, they have not been operating because they do not have funds.
It was also established that the bureau has been operating without a fully constituted board of directors. The directors term ended some four years ago, so there are four vacancies which are not filled. This implies that the bureau lacks sufficient strategic direction.
The Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development should appoint board members to fill the vacant positions on the board of directors of the bureau.
The Ministry of Finance should make an intra-budget allocation of Shs 1.5 billion from the budget line of Community Information System to PNSD.
In conclusion, the committee therefore recommends that a total of Shs 19.08 billion be approved for Uganda Bureau of Statistics for 2007/2008 as follows: recurrent expenditure of Shs 5.88 billion; and development expenditure is Shs 13.2 billion.
Vote 153  PPDA
It was established that late releases of funds by the Ministry of Finance have continued to compel the spending agents to request for waivers in order to shorten the process so that they commit the funds.
Honourable members, you realise that the Ministry of Finance at times can release money in the last quarter on 28th when the financial year is ending on 30th; it has been happening! So some of these agencies go and look for waivers and you know waivers are shortcuts for the procurement. I do not want to elaborate - you know shortcuts for procurements.
There is continued political interference in the procurement and disposal process particularly in the KCC works.
Zero procurement audits at the investigation.
PPDA has been able to identify a number of central government -(Interruption)
THE SPEAKER: But your summary has been long, Mr Chairman.
MR WAMAKUYU: There are many agencies, which when they carry out the procurement audits they discover that they have violated most of the regulations but PDDA does not have the capacity to punish them.
The PPDA Act, 2003 should be amended in a bid to strengthen and empower the authority to penalise public agencies that flout the procurement laws and regulations, among others. Of course we are asking for Bank of Uganda also to comply, and the Ministry of Finance should ensure they release funds in time especially for the procurement process to take its normal course and not the shortcuts.
In conclusion, the committee recommends that the following resources be approved for Vote 153 for financial year 2007/2008: recurrent expenditure is Shs 7.229 billion, development expenditure is Shs 567 million, and the total is Shs 7.796 billion.
Mr Speaker and Members, I beg to move.
THE SPEAKER: Thank you very much, chairperson and members of the committee, for the report.
MR MUTULUUZA: Mr Speaker, I beg your indulgence. Members of Parliament do not have the report, which has just been presented. Although they are saying that they put the reports in the pigeonholes, I have not seen mine and nobody has removed it from my pigeonhole. As you can see, nobody has a copy except the former chairperson of the committee. We are going to pass a lot of money; I beg that we get this report.
THE SPEAKER: The problem - and I have received some communication here - is appreciating what they call scrutinising the Budget. Scrutinising the Budget starts in April when we have a communication from the President about the Budget. Various committees in charge of sectors call the people in the ministries, sit with them and get into details about the finance requirements of their ministries. Eventually this is sent to the President and the Budget is read. When the Budget is read, various committees in charge of sectors deal with their sectors again. They meet the ministers concerned and the technocrats and get into the details about the Budget in respect of these sectors. This is another form of scrutiny.
More scrutiny is done in the committees rather than in the plenary. In the plenary we receive recommendations from the committees after they have gone into detail, sat with different people and received presentations from stakeholders who cannot come here. These committees then report not only on the finance aspect but on policies.
What has happened this time is that we have decided to deal with the financial aspects and discuss the policies later. We shall then constitute what they call a Committee of Supply. When we go into the Committee of Supply, each figure is read and if you have any objection you raise it. You can even move a motion to deduct Shs 10 as long as you justify the deduction. That is scrutinising the Vote, and that is going to come. So, it is true we are going to deal with the Budget, but we shall discuss the policy matters later.
The policy in a number of parliaments is that they do not discuss each Vote; they choose key Votes and pass others. Here we decided to use the committee system to get deeper in matters that we discuss here. It is not every parliament that has a committee system, but for us we have a committee system. So I am aware that we are going to deal with this and this is what we are doing. You prepare yourselves. If there is any Vote you want to stand against, when we come to the Committee of Supply you will be given every opportunity to justify your case.
MR OKUPA: The Members concern is the lack of the report. It is not only limited to him but also to us. As you have wisely ruled that we are going to debate this after we have passed it, we need to have that report at the time when we are discussing it other than just having a policy statement from Finance.
THE SPEAKER: We have the report. This is for today; maybe tomorrow you will have your copy of the report.
MR OKUPA: That is better, Mr Speaker, if we get that assurance that we shall get the copies later other than what the former chairman was saying.
THE SPEAKER: I imagine you have the book from the Ministry of Finance, which gives you details of the estimates but copies should be given to Members.
MR OKUPA: I agree with you because the report summarises the bigger policy statement.
THE SPEAKER: Yes, we should appreciate the committee scrutinising the Budget. It is not a matter of discussing it generally. The committees do the scrutinising more efficiently. You have no ability, here in the plenary, to scrutinise each and every Vote. Our Rules of Procedure allow you to go to any committee of Parliament, should you be interested in the affairs of the ministry, and also participate in the deliberations. People should not be misinformed that we are going to pass the Budget without scrutinising it.
MR STEPHEN TASHOBYA (NRM, Kajara County, Ntungamo): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I am the Vice-Chairman of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee. I am standing in for my chairman and learned friend, hon. Peter Nyombi, who is not here today. I would like to say that some copies have been sent to you and the Clerk, and I want to re-echo and assure Members that the copies are being worked on and they will get them in the course of the day.
The scope of our committee was in respect of the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, the Judicial Service Commission, the Judiciary, Law Development Centre, Uganda Law Reform, Uganda Human Rights Commission, the Electoral Commission, Inspectorate of Government and the Parliamentary Commission.
I will try as much as I possibly can to summarise the recommendations of the committee in respect of each of the departments and then at the end, I will present the budget for approval by this Parliament.
In respect of the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, the following observations were made:
That constitutional petition No. 21 set aside some of the provisions of the Local Council Act. This has impacted on the elections of local councils I, II, and IV, and it was noted that the Local Government (Amendment) Bill, 2007, which is to address the matter, is now before this Parliament. The committee recommended that Parliament should expedite the passing of these laws and amendments to enable election of these administrative councils.
It was also noted that by law, there is need for state funding of political parties to strengthen them. The minister informed the committee that the Political Parties and Organisations (Amendment) Bill has been forwarded for gazetting and will soon be brought to Parliament for first reading. The committee recommended that given the urgency of this matter, the Bill should be expeditiously introduced to this Parliament.
The committee has several times recommended for strengthening of the independence of the judiciary particularly with regard to financial autonomy. Hon. Ndeezi informed the committee that he had a draft of the Private Members Bill on the matter. The minister said that the ministry is also working on a Bill of its own. The minister assured the committee that the process would be concluded before the end of this financial year. The committee recommended that the minister expedites the process and introduces the Bill within this financial year.
Mr Speaker, the committee noted that there are 28 chief magisterial areas in the whole country and this affects the performance of magistrates who serve wide areas. It was recommended that magisterial areas be increased in order to enable citizens to access justice.
The committee observed that there has been a long delay in the introduction of the Domestic Relations Bill. The committee recommended that the Minister of Justice should explain to Parliament the status of this Bill.
It was noted that the Directorate of Public Prosecutions is faced with an average turn over of 60 state attorneys per year. The committee recommended for strengthening of the staff of the DPP through improved remuneration and facilitation other than seeking private lawyers.
In respect of the Judicial Service Commission, it was noted that there is a backlog of 86,000 cases as at 30 June 2007. It was noted that even if there was full establishment of judicial officers, these number of cases would take about 15 years to be completed. The committee recommended that the Judicial Service Commission be allowed to find additional staff on temporary terms to help handle the backlog.
It was noted that the failure to fill existing posts in the judiciary has contributed to the backlog. For example, the Supreme Court has five out of seven judges. The Judicial Service Commission has made proposals on the appointment of judges and awaits a response from the appointing authority. The committee recommended that as the appointment of judges is being handled, the attendant facilities should be put in place.
In accordance with Article 150(2)(ii) of the Constitution, it was recommended that Parliament makes a law to prescribe the period within which various activities should be undertaken. These include: declaring of posts, the Judicial Service Commission recommending appointments, the appointing authority making the appointments and Parliament approving such appointments. This would minimise delays in the appointment of judges.
In respect of the Law Reform Commission, the committee observed that the commission has operated without commissioners for most of the 2006/07 financial year. This greatly affected its activities. The commissioners are appointed by the President on the advice of the Attorney-General. The committee recommended that relevant authorities expedite these appointments.
Electoral Commission:
Mr Speaker, it was observed that the Ministry of Finance should revise the budget to fully provide for domestic arrears. However, this was reduced from the provision for the non-wage item. This implies that some of the priority activities under the non-wage item, like conducting by-elections and setting of legal costs, will not be undertaken.
The committee recommended that the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development provide for the un-funded priorities to enable the commission expedite its mandate.
The Human Rights Commission:
It was noted that government should increase the commissions wage budget to avoid reallocations from the non-wage budget. The reallocations undermine the non-wage bill activities. The committee recommended additional provision of funding under the non-wage bill release in order to procure vehicles and other capital goods that are urgently required.
On the Judiciary, Mr Speaker, the committee noted that land tribunals have not been effective because they have not been properly facilitated and funded. There are only 18 land tribunals and yet every district is supposed to have a land tribunal. It was noted by the committee that the land tribunals are a creation of the Constitution and, therefore, need to be funded and facilitated.
The committee recommended that the review of this be expedited and alternative means should be explored if land tribunals cannot be effective.
The Law Development Centre:
The biggest observation was that the centre lacks sufficient funding. The committee recommended that government provide funding in order to cater for development requirements of the Law Development Centre.
Parliamentary Commission:
It was observed that a total of Shs 5,669,166,667 billion approved under the development budget was not released to the Parliamentary Commission. The problem is that as long as the development budget is not charged on the Consolidated Fund, the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development will continue to control its release and reallocation. Therefore, most of the development activities the commission had planned to be undertaken last year were not implemented due to the failure to release the above amount. The activities have, therefore, been included in the budget of 2007/08.
The committee recommended that Parliament should be reclassified as a legislative sector.
Having considered the policy reports, Mr Speaker, permit me to present the budgets recommended by the committee for adoption by this Parliament:
Vote 007, Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, the total is Shs 49,978,847,000 broken down as follows:
Vote 106, Uganda Human Rights Commission, a total of Shs 6,904,688,000;
Vote 101, Judiciary, a total of Shs 24,925,465,000;
Vote 109, Law Development Centre, a total of Shs 4,180,033,000;
Vote 103, Inspectorate of Government, a total of Shs 24,402,184,000;
Vote 104, Parliamentary Commission, a total of Shs 88,791,353,250;
Vote 105, Uganda Law Reform Commission, a total of Shs 2,271,726,000;
Vote 102, Electoral Commission, a total of Shs19,912,123,000;
Vote 133, Directorate of Public Prosecutions, a total of Shs 5,369,028,000;
Judicial Service Commission, a total of Shs 1,608,413,000.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move.
THE SPEAKER: Thank you very much, chairperson and members of the committee for the report.
THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR JUSTICE (Mr Fred Ruhindi): Mr Speaker, just a few points that I thought I would clarify before we adopt these estimates, the first is on the issue of judges. The vice-chairperson of the committee rightly pointed out that the Judicial Service Commission has made appropriate recommendations to the appointing authority. We hope that in due course these appointments will be made to enable the Judiciary to perform well and alleviate the problem of backlog of cases.
On appointment of judges on contract to alleviate the problem of backlog of cases, that certainly has a problem because when we come here, I am sure you will ask us: Why do you not first have the full complement of judges, which is 50 that was actually passed under a resA System Error Occur. Please reload page