Minister Matia Kasaija summoned to Parliament to explain the inconsistencies in the Budget Speech
The Speaker has summoned the Minister of Finance, Matia Kasaija, to explain the inconsistencies in his Budget Speech for Financial Year 2020/2. Kasaija read the budget on 11th June and consequently the National Budget as approved by Parliament.
The ruling follows a concern raised by MP Lugoolobi Amos (Chairperson Budget Committee) that the Finance Minister had usurped Parliament’s role of appropriation by presenting different figures from that which was approved by Parliament.
“We have a law governing the budget process if there are changes by Government they must be communicated for approval to Parliament before they are pronounced to the public,” Hon. Lugoloobi.
The Committee chair observed that while Parliament appropriated Shs400 billion for payment of debts owed by Government to private sector firms, the Finance minister presented Shs673 billion in his address.
Lugoolobi further noted that Parliament had approved Shs38.5 billion towards the export promotion strategy, Finance minister presented Shs138 billion for the same.
Regarding the roll-out of the Social Assistance Grant for the Elderly (SAGE), Parliament approved Shs 66 billion, on the other hand, the Minister highlighted Shs107 billion.
On the talent support, the Committee chair indicated that Parliament had approved Shs100 billion, nevertheless, the Finance Minister went ahead to present Shs225 billion for the same.
Hon. Lugoolobi was, however, keen to note that the Minister for Finance while presenting the Budget Speech errored when he mentioned Shs94 billion as credit allocated to small and medium scale enterprises through Saccos because Parliament appropriated Shs40 billion towards the same intervention.
The Members of Parliament led MP Patrick Oshabe expressed their disappointment over the move by the Finance Minister to read a different budget from that which was approved by Parliament.
The Speaker noted that the move by Minister Kasaija was exceptional since, over the years, the Minister has always delivered the budget as approved by Parliament. She directed that the Minister of Finance appears before the August House to explain the matter.