The newly elected Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa has lashed out at the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development for dragging the budgeting process, forcing Parliament into rushed scrutiny and input.
Tayebwa who ascended to the position just last week, told finance officials in a maiden plenary session yesterday that delayed submission of budget estimates that are by law expected within a given timeframe impairs decision making in considering the national budget.
He said the Minister for Finance, Matia Kasaija should present the final budget estimates for the financial year 2022/2023 to Parliament by Thursday, 31 March 2022.
Tayebwa also tasked the Finance Minister to table a copy of the gazette of the Charter for Fiscal Responsibility by on the same date, emphasizing that the one-month grace period after approval by Parliament had elapsed.
Additionally, he urged the ministers for Finance to provide guidance to committees of Parliament as they process the ministerial policy statements.
“I hope we shall be ready as per these legal provisions because we do not have time to wait. We also expect to receive revenue and tax Bill’s if you have any,” said Tayebwa.
Section 13(3) of the Public Finance Management states that, “the Minister shall, on behalf of the President, present the proposed annual budget of a financial year to Parliament, by the 1st of April if the preceding financial year.”
Rule 148(2) of Parliament’s Rules of Procedure states that, “the Speaker shall commit the proposed annual budget to the Budget Committee of Parliament and to a sectoral committee of Parliament, the part of annual budget that falls within the jurisdiction of that sectoral committee.”
The Budget Estimates set out the detailed plans for revenues and expenditure. This includes the detailed central spending agency budgets for recurrent and development spending. Draft Budget Estimates show central spending agency budget allocations by output and expenditure item. These are published after the budget has been approved by Parliament.
Tayebwa thanked the MPs for elevating his predecessor Anitah Among to office of the Speaker and himself from Government Chief Whip.
He appealed to the MPs to work closely with the Parliament leadership for smooth operation and dignity of the Institution of Parliament.
The Speakership position fell vacant following the passing on the late Speaker of Parliament Rt Hon Jacob Oulanyah. Oulanyah passed away on Sunday 20th March 2022 in Seattle, the United States of America, where he had been receiving specialized treatment since last month.
Oulanyah, who doubled as the Omoro County legislator and Vice-Chairperson of the ruling National Resistance Movement – NRM party for Northern Uganda, became Uganda’s first ever serving speaker to die in office. He was flown out of the country on February 3, 2022, for specialized treatment following a referral by doctors at Mulago Hospital where he was admitted before his condition deteriorated.
Subsequently, Parliament held a sitting at Kololo Independence Grounds on Friday 25 March 2022, that saw the election of Among and Tayebwa as Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the 11th Parliament, respectively.