Parliament protests budget cuts by Finance

parliament

The Parliamentary Commission has protested budget cuts to Parliament saying the cuts have crippled the work of the House committees.

Parliament appropriated Sh 831 billion for the Parliamentary Commission for the financial year 2021/2022 but available information indicates that the budget was cut by sh 80 billion.

This is one of the measures undertaken to reorganize government expenditure amidst the tough economic times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In July, the Ministry of Finance sent out a circular to all accounting officers, indicating that budget cuts had been effected across the board to allow the government to generate emergency financing totaling sh600 billion for the COVID-19 response.

 The cuts affected the Office of the Prime Minister, State House, Uganda Aids Commission, National Medical Stores, The Office of the President, Mulago National Referral Hospital, among others. 

But the Deputy Speaker of Parliament Anita Among said that the Commission, the top administrative body of the House has now passed a resolution for the Executive to never tamper with the budgets of Parliament and the Judiciary.

“One of the roles of parliament is appropriation and if there is anything to change in the budget, it must come back to the House. It is so disturbing that our committees can’t work. The other role is oversight, but when you find Finance Ministry cutting off money coming to parliament…it disturbs. If parliament cannot do an oversight role, then what are we left with…why are we here?” Among questioned.

She said that salaries for parliament have been delayed and that committees cannot perform their duties effectively with the cuts, and insisted that despite the different challenges that came with the outbreak of COVID-19, the operations of parliament should not be stifled.

Erute South MP, Jonathan Odur, Kilak North MP, Anthony Akol and Kampala Central MP Muhammad Nsereko accused the Executive of trying to usurp the powers of Parliament by changing the budget figures without its knowledge, adding that it is not prudent to freeze, alter or frustrate the budget of the Parliamentary Commission or revising the budget in any way without the approval of parliament that appropriates the funds.

Government Chief Whip, Thomas Tayebwa said that it was unfortunate that the work of parliament cannot move smoothly because of the budget cuts. 

He pledged that the Executive was to ensure that the situation is solved despite the different challenges.

The Minister of Information, Chris Baryomunsi said that the Executive arm has never wished to suppress the work of parliament since it is important for them to move forward. 

He however said that the second wave of Covid-19 affected the budgets of the different sectors of government were suppressed so that more resources are put to fighting coronavirus.

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