Just three months into the 2020/2021 financial year, the government has discovered that the Shs 45.4 trillion budget is not enough to fund the planned expenditure priorities.
The way out is to ask Parliament to approve another Shs 3.4 trillion in supplementary funding which is about 7.5 percent of the total national budget that Parliament passed in May.
But the timing of the budget request is suspect, at least for the opposition players who claim that the government wants to use it to finance the ruling party campaigns into next year’s general elections.
“Amazing how a failed state functions! We are yet to receive accountability for the borrowed, donated and allocated Covid-19 funds; that’s money for buying votes and sponsoring NRM candidates,” said Masaka Municipality MP, Mathias Mpuuga.
Just in June, Parliament passed over a trillion shillings for stimulating the economy in the midst of Covid -19.
Before going to Parliament with the budget request, government had already spent Shs 1.363 trillion of the money included in the supplementary budget and are now seeking an extra Shs 2.063 trillion.
According to the state minister for Planning, David Bahati, the money is to finance critical requesting for the supplementary following several critical areas not covered in the 2020/2021 national budget and the pressure caused by the Covid-19 disruptions.
The biggest chunk of the budget request, Shs 1.1 trillion is for classified expenditure under the Ministry of Defense and Veteran Affairs.
President Yoweri Museveni’s official residence – State House, has been allocated Shs 450 billion for classified expenditure.
“How can State House classified expenditure be a response to the Covid-19 pandemic?” Rubaga North MP, Moses Kasibante wondered. “This is a ploy to afford Museveni money to bribe voters and sponsor his personal campaigns,” he added.
Shs 615 billion has been earmarked for Uganda Development Bank to support sectors affected by Covid-19, and Microfinance Support Centre Ltd to support the emyooga project.
Specifically, Shs 50 billion will be for emyooga groups in Kampala and Wakiso districts.
“The emyooga project was designed to buy votes for Museveni,” said former Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, Wafula Oguttu.
Oguttu is also suspicious that the money tagged to classified expenditure under the Ministry of Defense and State House, will be used to deploy soldiers to intimidate voters.
“Defense received Shs 1.3 trillion under the Covid-19 response, it’s amazing that they want another allocation. Well, that money is to be used to deploy soldiers at every village during elections to terrorise Ugandans into submission,” he said.
Government also wants Shs 45 billion for the payment of outstanding loan obligation by Uganda Telecom to the Trade and Development Bank.
Shs 189 billion will be added to the Ministry of Health budget for capacity building for National Medical stores (NMS) in systems of prevention, early detection and prevention of COVID-19 and Shs 50 billion for additional COVID-19 support.
Ministry of Trade and Industry will get Shs 100 billion through Uganda Development Corporation to support businesses affected by Covid-19, Shs 60 billion for the payment to SICPA Uganda limited for digital stamps solution implementation for Uganda Revenue Authority.
Also needed is Shs 223 billion for recurrent domestic arrears for rent, land, cooperatives, payment to coffee and tea seedlings suppliers and other votes under the central Government.
Another Shs 220 billion is needed for the bilateral road infrastructure project between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) under which Uganda will construct and maintain 223 kilometres inside the DRC.
Shs 20 billion will go to counterpart funding for the Standard Metre Gauge Railway project while National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) will get Shs 100 billion for proposed interventions.
Uganda Police 30 billion for persistent shortfalls in fuels and meals, Electoral Commission Shs 50 billion for voter verification systems.
An additional, Shs 30 billion is for compensation of war claimants for the loss of their cattle in Acholi, Lango and Teso. Others include; Shs 10 billion to local Governments for seed schools and upgrade for Health centres II and III, Shs 5 billion for Foreign Affairs for deployment and operation in embassies abroad, among others.
Additional reporting by URN