There was drama during the Parliamentary Finance Committee sitting on Wednesday when the Undersecretary of Finance Ministry, Betty Kasimbazi was thrown out of Parliament after MPs protested what they termed as disrespect from the Ministry.
Led by David Bahati, the State Minister for Planning, Ministry of Finance officials had appeared before the Committee to present their 2018/2019 Ministerial Policy statement.
The meeting that had started well turned dramatic when Kasimbazi took the floor to present the Ministry’s Ministerial Policy Statement.
Lawmakers led by Aruu South County MP, Odonga Otto wondered how the Committee would interface with an official Parliament had recommended to be fired.
Parliament had earlier recommended Kasimbazi’s firing after investigations revealed that Finance Ministry charged Shs1.5bn on items, but didn’t t reflect the nature of the expenditure.
The Public Accounts Committee expressed shock at the failure of the Ministry of Finance to set the pace in adhering to the Public Finance Accounting regulations given the Central mandate they have in regard to the budget process. In their recommendations in 2013, Parliament had asked the Ministry of Finance to hold Kasimbazi liable for usurping the appropriation powers of Parliament.
The Committee also called for her prosecution for violating the Public Finance and Accountability regulations.
However, the Ministry overlooked the Committee recommendations and simply apologized for the omission and said that measures had been taken to limit mischarges.
But the Ministry’s actions weren’t satisfactory, with lawmakers resolving to throw Kasimbazi out of the Committee.
In the 2018/2019, the Ministry budget estimates stand at Shs466.6bn, up from Shs429.4bn approved in 2017/2018 budget.
In their Ministerial Policy statement, the Ministry has also cut its travel and transportation expenditure from Shs14.3bn in 2017/2018 to Shs13.99bn in the 2018/2019 budget.
The Ministry’s wage bill is projected to increase from Shs20.1bn in 2017/2018 to Shs31bnbn and the Ministry’s expenditure on Communications has also risen from Shs11.79bn in 2017/2018 to Shs15.1bn in 2018/2019.