The Deputy Speaker of Uganda’s Parliament Jacob Oulanyah has attacked Ministry of Finance officials, accusing them of derailing Parliament work by seeking to amend details in the 2019/2020 national budget eight days before the August House approves the Shs40 trillion budget.
Oulanyah’s remarks followed a corrigendum worth Shs1 trillion tabled by the State Minister for Planning, David Bahati, with the most contentious item being the Shs103bn required by Uganda Revenue Authority to purchase digital stamps to curb tax evasion by manufacturing companies after the tax body was tipped that manufacturers are under declaring their manufactured products.
According to the Public Finance Management Act, Parliament is required to debate and pass the national budget by 31st May but in recent years, Parliament has been bombarded with last minute corrigendum tabled by Ministry of Finance.
Oulanyah says that the practice of tabling corrigendum is a manifestation of financial indiscipline that needs to be checked so as to improve the budgeting process and reduce on the workload brought before the House.
“Some of us are here to serve the country and there are those determined, yours is a wish by your methods of works you don’t seem to portray what you believe in. Are you being fair, do you really care? Maybe yourself you don’t care, but for us we care,” Oulanyah said.
However, the Minister for Finance, Matia Kasaija (in featured photo) said that the money is needed to procure digital stamps that will be installed in factories to monitor products manufactured and that the corrigendum at this stage could not be avoided.
He blamed URA of notifying the Ministry two weeks back, which request had to undergo a number of processes before making its way to Parliament.
Later the Minister of state for Finance David Bahati apologized to the House over the uncoordinated presentation of the budget adding that it was unavoidable at some stage, thus asking leniency from the budget committee to consider the corrigendum tabled.
“On behalf of the ministry, we would like to apologise for this corrigendum but we ask members to give chance to budget and see items in corrigendum …,” Bahati said.