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Ministry Of Defence Fails To Defend Shs8.7 Trillion Budget

The Minister of Defence, Vincent Ssempijja (Right) and officials from defence Ministry appearing before Parliament’s Defence and Internal Affairs Committee

MPs on Parliament’s Defence and Internal Affairs Committee were forced to send away officials from the Ministry of Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs to go and clean up the mess in their budget after discovering that the figures presented weren’t adding up.

Today’s unceremonious send off marks the second time in two days that the Ministry of Defence is being sent away over the 2023/2024 National Budget Framework Paper after the team was initially sent away for not availing copies of their documents on time for the MPs to peruse through.

Information from the initial documents indicated that the Ministry of Defence was in need of Shs6.515Trn and of this, only Shs3.560Trn had been availed in the coming 2023/2024 FY.

However, it wasn’t long before the Minister of Defence, Vincent Ssempijja amended the figure revealing that the Ministry was in need of Shs8.769Trn and of this, only Shs3.545Trn had been approved by the Ministry of Finance, thus leaving the Army to grapple with a funding gap of Shs5.356Trn.

However, drama ensued when Rosemary Nyakikongoro, Chairperson Defence Committee revealed that a scrutiny between the Committee and Parliament technical team unearthed inconsistencies in the budget for the Ministry of Defence, tasking Edith Buturo, Under Secretary Ministry of Defence to clarify on the inconsistencies, which saw the Ministry propose another figure of Shs8.916Trn.

This prompted the Committee to ask the Ministry of Defence to go and harmonise their figures ahead of another meeting in the afternoon.

The Minister listed a number of unfunded items including the Shs1.579Trn required in wages, yet only Shs617.9Bn has been availed leaving a shortfall of Shs961.9Bn, medical services remain unfunded to a tune of Shs39.2Bn that the Ministry hasn’t paid to private hospitals where Shs54.7Bn is needed but only Shs15.5Bn was availed.

The Ministry of Defence is also seeking for Shs3.441Trn in classified expenditure, but only Shs2.158Trn was availed, leaving a gap of Shs1.282Trn.

Documents further reveal that the Army is need of Shs280.2Bn for food stuff, while only Shs130.6Bn was availed leaving a funding gap of Shs149.6Bn, as well as Shs106.7Bn is needed for fuel storage facilities and no single penny has been allocated to this expenditure.

For operations, the Army is seeking for Shs21.5Bn for operation Shujja in DRC and Shs27.5Bn for Karamoja and no penny has been allocated to these expenditures, not forgetting the Shs314.1Bn required to clear domestic arrears where no single coin has been allocated to this.

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