Parliament has approved the Shs 1.6 trillion supplementary budget request by government for the current financial year 2018/2019. Part of the money will cater for the on-going President Yoweri Museveni’s countrywide tours on wealth creation.
The approved supplementary is in addition to the current 2018/2019 budget of Shs 32.7 trillion that was approved by parliament last year.
The approval during the plenary session chaired by deputy speaker Jacob Oulanyah followed a presentation of a report by parliament’s Budget Committee chairperson Amos Lugoloobi approving the funding and a minority report by Dokolo Woman MP Cecilia Ogwal and Butambala County MP Muwanga Kivumbi objecting to the funds
In his report to parliament, Lugoloobi noted different supplementary requests by government part of which is a Shs 33.28 billion for State House of which 15.7 billion is classified expenditure, Shs 17 billion for field operations, accommodation and feeding of the team accompanying Museveni on the countrywide tour and others.
Despite the approval of the majority report, MPs Ogwal and Kivumbi, in particular, appealed to parliament not to okay the supplementary funding for State House saying that the continuous supplementary requests were soiling the presidency also noting that the said wealth creation tour was purely political and that the ruling party, National Resistance Movement ought to foot what they termed as the ‘campaign’ costs of its sole candidate. Ogwal also said that the intents of the supplementary budget were foreseeable and therefore do not qualify for supplementary funding.
Kivumbi also alleged that part of the funds requested were meant to pay off suppliers and arrears accumulated during the recent NRM parliamentary caucus meeting in Kyankwanzi that endorsed Museveni as the party’s sole candidate in the coming 2021 polls.
“We are still advising that the fountain of honour should separate his chairmanship of NRM as a party and being the president of Uganda. His activities of NRM should be divorced from the budget. It should be separated from the Office of President.” said Kivumbi.
However, the State Minister for Finance in-charge of Planning, David Bahati together with state minister for Housing, Chris Baryomunsi defended the supplementary request for Museveni’s wealth creation tours, saying the tours are only meant to sensitize masses about wealth creation and that during these meetings, members come out and endorse the president as sole candidate which they have no control over.
Opposition chief whip, Ibrahim Ssemujju asked NRM MPs not to pretend that the president is not campaigning saying that the fact remains he is using public resources to campaign.
“In this budget that parliament is about to pass, presidential donations are moving from Shs 80 billion to Shs 200 billion. This money is not enough. We’re now providing money for tours, the president is becoming the most expensive leader not only in the region but in the world of a poor country…We’re a country that is borrowing to do everything including very simple things and then from where you go to borrow money, they hear you have a president who has money for donation – Shs 200 billion. And you have Uganda Cancer Institute is accommodated they have no accommodation, you had teachers striking and you have president tours – Shs 17bn.
Government chief whip Ruth Nankabirwa also attacked opposition MPs saying that they were also using their positions of incumbency to disadvantage their political opponents.
After the heated debate, Oulanyah put a question to the requested supplementary budget and the majority MPs approved the request
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