MPs Express Bitterness Over Budget Cuts
Members of Parliament on the Local Government Accounts Committee (LGAC) have expressed concern over recent budget cuts to committees. The committee chairperson, Reagan Okumu, convened a meeting today March 14, 2017, to discuss the budget cuts, effected by Parliament in February.
In the 2016/2017 financial year, the committee had been allocated a budget of Ugx 600 million, however Parliament communicated to the committees in February that their budget had been cut by Ugx 300 million.
Okumu told the media at Parliament today that the budget cuts will greatly affect their work; especially the field travels to monitor the work of local governments which fall under the committee docket.
“By effecting these cuts, Parliament is directly denying the committee its mandate to carry out its oversight duties. We are only left with Ugx 6 billion on our budget, which is insufficient to facilitate us,” Okumu said. Among the activities of the committee were planned field trips to all 116 districts to handle the Auditor General’s report ending December 2015.
The committee was also expected to visit 14 municipalities under the Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development (USMID) project, which is funded by the World Bank.
Okumu said the committee required fuel and refreshments during their travels but this will not be possible.
He said several Auditor General’s reports dating as far back as 2008 have not been fully handled, which has created a lot of backlog which the committee can only handle with resources.
Kapelebyong County MP, Julius Ochen tasked the MPs to instead handle business before them, without traversing the country, as they wait for Parliament to provide funds to facilitate them. However, Sam Byibesho, Kisoro Municipality MP said it was Parliament’s duty to ensure that committees’ work is not hindered.
Byibesho noted that the committee was one of the best performing committees so far in the 10th Parliament, having had its report debated and adopted by the House. He said this was justification enough for Parliament to facilitate its work.
Okumu told the members that he had set up an appointment with the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga to discuss the matter in detail.