The Parliament of Uganda has approved that request by the Ministry of Defence for additional Shs400Million to cater for procurement of classified defense equipment.
The approval was part of the three supplementary budget requests by Ministry of Finance, with the first coming in on 3rd March 2020, amounting to Shs662.337 billion.
On 19th March 2020, the Ministry of Finance tabled another supplementary amounting to Shs749.8bn of which Shs90bn was allocated to State House, Shs6.98bn to OPM and Shs4.075bn to Office of the President (Land Inquiry Commission)all coming under the 3% legal provision, giving a balance of shs638.878bn requiring prior parliamentary approval.
Then on 31st March 2020, another supplementary request was tabled before Parliament amounting to Shs284bn to cater for the Government interventions in combating the COVID – 19 Pandemic.
The approval of funds for UPDF classified equipment come at the time a minority report on the 2019/20 Appropriation Bill report warned of the skyrocketing budget for classified expenditure.
The report authored by Muwanga Kivumbi (Butambala County), Cecilia Ogwal (Dokolo Woman) and Joy Atim (Lira Woman) noted that from FY20l6/17, the budget of classified expenditure and assets has been growing annually from Shs441bn to a projected Shs2.5Trn, an increment of 485% over o period of 4 years.
Kivumbi argued that the expenditure on the said funds is hampered by the legal requirement that highlight that due to security risks, classified expenditures are scrutinised in a closed session by classified expenditure.
The report also highlighted that the escalating budget of classified items can no longer be adequately financed based on tax revenue and instead, Government has resorted to domestic borrowing to fund classified expenditures.
The Ministry of Defence has a project of Defence Equipment whose budget has had a huge increment from Shs469.25Bn in 2018/2029 to Shs1.976Trn in FY20l9/20 and this will run on for the next 5 years 2019/20 – 2023/24 will cumulatively cost a total of Shs6.6Trn.
Still in the same supplementary budget, Parliament also approved funding to the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development to a tune of Shs3.071 billion as external funding to cater for winding up the clean cooking supply chain energy expansion projects under the ministry.
The Ministry of Health also walked away with Shs30.570billion for the external financing for the East African Public Health Laboratory Networking Project and Uganda Reproductive, Maternal Child Health Services Improvement Project.
The Ministry of Finance told Parliament that the resources needed were of an emergency nature and funds will come from the Euro 600 million loan recently approved by Parliament to provide budget support for FY 2019|20.
A number of activities as originally projected under the fourth quarter will not be implemented owing to COVID- 19 and this has provided the fiscal space for funding the emergency supplementary expenditure.
Part of the supplementary arose from salary enhancement of science cadres, Judicial Officers, Public officers under the Education sector and Public Universities as well as inadequate provision to cater for salaries for staff in-post as follows: Ministry of Defence and Veterans Affairs (Shs 58.36Bn to cater for Wage shortfalls for LDUs recruited in FY 2018/19, Public Universities (Shs 25.575 billion) for wage shortfalls and salary enhancement.
Judiciary received (Shs 9.887bn) for salary enhancement and 7 months’ salary for the 7 newly recruited High Court Judges. Also, the Supplementary covered Salary enhancement under Education Sector for Local Governments and KCCA (Shs. 78.273bn) Various Votes (Shs28.9 billion) due to inadequate provision to cater for staff in post based on payroll performance.