Parliament reconsiders Appropriation Bill, shs750 billion reallocated

Parliament has re-allocated Shs750 billion after revisiting the Appropriation Bill, 2024 which President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni objected to assent to.

In the 2024/2025 Budget passed earlier, legislators had allocated the Shs750 billion to areas that they described as critical. These included among others procurement of ambulances, maintenance of bridges, construction of sub-county headquarters and support to families with income generating projects among others.

At a sitting of the House on Tuesday, 02 July 2024, the Speaker Anita Among read the President’s letter which highlighted the reasons for his rejection of the Bill.   

Museveni cited what he described as indiscipline in budgeting, sabotage of national priorities and corruption among lawmakers.

The Bill, which initially sought to authorise public expenditure from the Consolidated Fund was first passed on 16 May2024 and later, sent to the President for approval on 31 May 2024.

In his letter, the President also expressed his disapproval accusing the MPs of interfering with the constitutional mandate of the Finance Minister in budgeting.
“There are mistakes here. These are indiscipline in budgeting, sabotaging the national priorities and now the suspicion of massive corruption. I am therefore, writing to request that this practice stops,” the President stated in his letter.

Museveni cited the Shs440 billion utilised to reconstruct 127 kilometres of the Kampala-Masaka Road adding diverting Shs3.71 trillion over four years is equivalent to aborting nine similar major road projects.

The Speaker ruled that the House constitutes itself into a Committee of Supply since the Budget Committee was not yet fully constituted.

Erute County South MP, Hon. Jonathan Odur and Butambala District Woman Representative, Hon. Aisha Kabanda, supported her proposal adding that the Budget Committee lacked the moral authority to investigate the issues listed by Museveni due to the corruption accusations.

However, Members of Parliament did not take lightly the President’s accusations.

They were particularly displeased that the Executive branch had piled blame on Parliament for deviating on the government priorities.

Kira Municipality MP, Hon. Semujju Nganda criticised the President’s proposal to prioritise ROKO at the expense of other public needs.
“The President’s priority is that you move money from the ambulances and, regional referral hospitals to create Shs300 billion for ROKO, a private company”, he said.

However, State Minister for Finance incharge of General Duties, Hon. Henry Musasizi said that, ‘these are funds for government obligations under the share subscription agreement in servicing ROKO Bills of Exchange, and payment of EFT bank charges of Bank of Uganda, among others’.

Napak District Woman MP, Hon. Faith Nakut, implored the House to search for answers to the questions raised by the President insisting that the Budget Committee had done the right thing.

This was re-echoed by the former Chairperson of the Budget Committee, Hon. Patrick Isiagi, who insisted that the allocations by Parliament were made to fund critical sectors for the good of the country. He later conceded to the reallocations.
“But given the guidance of the President on the priorities and commitment to stick to the budget, I concede,” he stated.

The proposal was put to a vote and was unanimously seconded by the MPs, allowing the Minister of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development, Hon. Matia Kasaija, to move a motion for the House to reconsider the Bill.
The reconsidered Appropriation Bill approved an expenditure of over Shs72.136 trillion reflecting a Shs14 trillion increase from the initial estimates of Shs58.34 trillion.

The budget includes Shs18.9 trillion for recurrent expenditures and Shs34.7 trillion for development.