Members of parliament have approved a shs44.7 trillion budget for the 2021/2022 financial year, which has seen a decrease of shs 714 billion for the first time compared to the approved resource envelope of 2020/2021.
According to the report of the Budget Committee, the drop this financial year is largely attributed to the projected decrease of shs 2.4 billion in external financing for project support.
The report, presented during a plenary sitting on 07 May 2021 stated that the resource envelope is expected to be financed by domestic revenue constituting 76.7 per cent and 23.3 per cent of external revenue.
“ shs200 billion will be drawn from the Petroleum Fund to specifically finance oil road infrastructure during financial year 2021 /22,” said Hon. Amos Lugoloobi, the Chairperson of the Budget Committee.
Rule 148 (2&3) was suspended to allow for the passing of the Appropriation Bill at the third reading without debate on sectoral committee reports that arise out of consideration of policy statements.
In the approved budget for 2021/2022, sector allocations see Defence take Shs3.4 trillion, Uganda National Roads Authority shs3.1 trillion, Ministry of Health Shs1.4 trillion , Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development shs1 trillion and Ministry of Agriculture Shs500 billion.
Lugoloobi reported that the greatest share of resources is towards debt related payments, inclusive of domestic arrears at 38 per cent.
“Safeguarding debt sustainability should be prioritized. In this regard, there is need for continued domestic revenue mobilisation and sound project implementation especially to realise the envisaged growth dividend from infrastructure investment,” Lugoloobi reported.
Hon. Muhammad Muwanga Kivumbi and Hon. Cecilia Ogwal however, presented a minority report citing several areas of dissent including debt servicing burden, inadequate agriculture sector development and the Parish Development Model.
Muwanga Kivumbi argued that servicing debts accrued as a result of low absorption by ministries, departments and agencies is a wastage of resources.
“Parliament should not approve loans for ministries, departments and agencies that have absorption rates lower than 60 per cent at the time of the request,” Muwanga Kivumbi said.
The minority report recommended that the shs200 billion allocated to the Parish Model should be reallocated to the reviving of cooperatives, following the discovery that the programme was wanting.
“Oversight by the Committee on Public Service and Local Government revealed that the project is almost invisible in the communities and requires forensic audit. Such projects ought to be considered as pilots and basis of drawing lessons before initiating and allocating funds to the proposed parish development model,” Muwanga Kivumbi added.
During debate on the Budget Committee report, lawmakers also raised concern on the implementation of the Parish Development Model saying that the beneficiaries need to be sensitized about the programme before it is rolled out.
“We have ignored the function of community mobilisation and yet we have allocated funds to the Parish model to people who are not prepared to utilize these funds,” said Hon. Agnes Taaka Wejuli.
Minister of State for Finance( Planning), Hon David Bahati said that one of the key issues in the budget is the Parish Development Model, adding that if implemented in a phase manner, it will directly put money in the hands of the 3.2 million households who live in a subsistence economy.