MP Muwanga Kivumbi to amend law on supplementary expenses

Butambala County MP, Hon. Muhammad Muwanga Kivumbi, has been granted leave of the House to introduce an amendment to the Public Finance Management Act 2015, which mainly proposes to have all supplementary expenditure have prior Parliament approval.

Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa put the motion to vote during the plenary on Wednesday, 23 August 2023, getting unanimous approval from the House.

Currently, Section 25(1) of the Public Finance Management Act 2015 (as amended) allows government to spend, without prior approval by Parliament, up to three per cent of the approved national budget for that financial year, which MP Kivumbi, who is also the shadow finance minister said violates the Constitution.

“Section 25 of the Public Management Act contravenes Article 156 (2) of the Constitution in so far as it limits supplementary expenditure that may be incurred by Government without Parliamentary approval to only three per cent of the of the total approved budget of the financial year,” he said.

His new proposed Section 25 now altogether omits any prior supplementary expenditure, and imposes an obligation on the part of government to indicate the source of funding for the budget deviation.

“A supplementary estimate laid before Parliament for approval under Article156 of the Constitution shall only be approved by Parliament where- (a) the supplementary estimates indicate the source of funding to finance the supplementary expenditure request by each vote,” reads his proposed clause 25(1) (a).

For supplementary requests that are higher than the approved revenue plan for the particular financial year, he proposes a written authorisation from “a person or authority responsible for revenue collection.”

To cure budget suppression, which is what the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development does by picking funds from budget items approved for other votes to finance other items in different votes, MP Kivumbi proposes written consent from Accounting Officers who are being deprived of the funds.

“…the Minister shall receive prior and written consent from the Accounting Officer of each of the votes that are to be affected by suppression; and (ii) the suppression was approved by Parliament before the supplementary expenditure was incurred or before the supplementary estimates were laid in Parliament,” reads his proposed clause 25(2)(c).

On the Contingency Fund, Muwanga Kivumbi proposed a new Section 26 of the Public Finance Management Act, in which he proposes to have the fund cross into financial years if unutilised, against the current practice of exhausting it at the end of the financial year.

“An appropriation to the contingencies fund shall not expire at the close of the financial year for which it is made and the funds retained in the contingencies fund shall, in addition to the funds appropriated by Parliament under subsection (l), form part of the contingencies fund for the preceding year,” proposes Hon. Muwanga Kivumbi in clause 26(2)(b).

Attempts by the Finance State Minister for General Duties, Hon. Henry Musasizi, to negotiate Muwanga Kivumbi out of the proposal failed, with the latter insisting, to the concurrence of the House, that the amendments are long overdue.