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Civil society demands that government punishes departments that procure services beyond allocated resources

Malice Wanyera Ag. Director Debt and Cash policy at CSBAG and  Mr. Mosese Mulondo, the UPPA president during a budgeting conference Hotel Africana in Kampala. (PHOTO/JAVIRA SSEBWAMI)

KAMPALA – The civil society organisation has called on government to penalise Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that procure services beyond resources allocated to them.

It is common for some government departments and ministries to ask for complimentary budgets towards the end of the financial year.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of the Presidency and the Defence Ministry have consistently asked for supplementary budgets year in year out.

The civil society also advised government to include the contingent liabilities in the National Budget Framework Paper.  The pressure group says that Government’s contingent liabilities have increased to UGX7.456 in the 2018/19 financial year, up from UGX6.532 trillion reported in 2017/18 and the said liabilities were not included in the contingent liabilities for the year’s NBFP.

Interesting to note is that 90% of the contingent liabilities is attributed to legal proceedings lodged against Government. That shows that the said departments do not carry out appropriate ground work in their execution of budget responsibilities.

The pressure group noted that these liabilities were not included in the NBFP for 2018/19 contravening sec 13(9) (c) of the PFM Act 2015, a situation which they say posed risks to the budget.

Yet again, contrary to section 23 of the PFMA 2015, the body noted that multi-year commitments worth 81.258bn were not backed by Parliamentary approval, exposing the 2018/19 budget to more risks.

Every financial year civil society organisations working under the civil society budget advocacy group (CSBAG), present CSO responses to the Ministerial Policy Statements and the National Budget Framework Paper, as part of promoting fiscal responsibility through citizen-centric and pro-poor budgeting.

Parliament reporters were lecturered by the finance ministry. (PHOTO/JAVIRA SSEBWAMI)

The organizations hailed government for the UGX77billion allocated to the contingency fund, but were concerned that the proposed allocation was below the 0.5% of the previous year’s budget as provided by Section 26 in the Public Finance Management Act 2015 as amended. They therefore recommended that this year, Government allocates UGX 95.166bn to the contingency fund to help reduce supplementary requests for aspects like natural disasters.

Among other recommendations, Government was advised to sequence large infrastructure projects to reduce the stress of the economy on debt. And also that if Government needs to borrow, there should be more effort to access concessional loans.

CSBAG has since its inception mobilised CSOs and the citizens to analyse budgets and develop alternative budget proposals on key sectors of the economy to ensure that Government budgets address the issues and concerns of Ugandans.

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