KAMPALA – A meeting convened to scrutinise the National Budget Framework Paper at Parliament flopped after the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development Matia Kasaija declined to attend.
A proposed Ugx49.9 trn National Budget Framework Paper, detailing financial suggestions and estimates for the next financial year was tabled before Parliament on December 23, 2022, in line with provisions of the Public Finance Management Act, which require that the document be submitted before the House by December 31.
It was then referred to the Budget as well as other relevant sectoral committees for consideration.
But as they convened for the first session on Thursday, Budget Committee boss, Patrick Isiagi notified them that the Ministry officials were still in festive mood.
The meeting which chairpersons of the 15 Sectoral Committees of Parliament attended faulted the Ministry of Finance for not taking the roles seriously which violates their commitment to the Charter of Fiscal responsibility to reduce inefficiencies and waste of taxpayers’ money. The committee is expected to report back to Parliament on January 20.
Mawogola South MP Gorreth Namugga demanded that the Minister of Finance be tasked to respond in writing for failing to attend the Thursday meeting.
Isiagi explained that among the pertinent issues lined up for discussion was the Finance Ministry’s decision to shift recently from sector-based budgeting to program-based budgeting because scrutinising the funds under programmes was an uphill task.
Kiboga East MP Keefa Kiwanuka, who chairs the Finance Committee, observed that whereas the budget framework has been presented in programme formats, the Finance Committee specifically needs to deal with the budget in terms of the different votes.
Meanwhile, West Budama South Member of Parliament Dr Emmanuel Otaala, the Chairperson of the Parliamentary committee on Environment pointed out that there was no linkage between the shifts with the budget framework paper.
The FY2023/2024 estimates increased by Ugx1.85trn from the Ugx48.13trn approved budget for the current financial year 2022/2023.