KAMPALA – The Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanya lashed out at officials from Ministry of Finance accusing the Ministry of derailing Parliament work by seeking to amend details in the 2019/2020 national budget just eight days before the last day of approving budget by Parliament.
The speaker’s starning remarks came following a corrigendum worth Shs1Trn tabled by the State Minister for Planning with the most contentious item being the Shs103Bn required by Uganda Revenue Authority to purchase digital stamps to curb tax evasion by manufacturing companies after the Revenue Authority was tipped that manufacturers are under-declaring their products manufactured.
This also attracted outrage from MPs Muwanga Kivumbi and Cecilia Ogwal who criticized the ministry of finance for stampeding parliament with requests at critical times considered for debate.
According to the Public Finance Management Act, Parliament is required to debate and pass the national budget by 31st May but in recent years, Parliament has been bombarded with last-minute corrigendum tabled by Ministry of Finance.
Mr. Oulanyah says that the practice of tabling corrigendum is a manifestation of financial indiscipline that needs to be checked so as to improve the budgeting process and reduce the workload brought before the house.
The Deputy Speaker said: “Some of us are here to serve the country and there are those determined, yours is a wish by your methods of works you don’t seem to portray what you believe in. Are you being fair, do you really care? Maybe yourself you don’t care, but for us, we care.”
However, the Minister for finance Matia Kasaija said that the money is needed to procure digital stamps that will be installed in factories to monitor products manufactured in factories and that the corrigendum at this stage could not be avoided and blamed URA of notifying the Ministry two weeks back, which request had to undergo a number of processes before making its way to Parliament.
Later the Minister of state for Finance David Bahati apologized to the house over the uncoordinated presentation of the budget adding that it was unavoidable at some stage thus asking leniency from the budget committee to consider the corrigendum tabled.
Mr. Bahati explained: “On behalf of the ministry, we would like to apologise for this corrigendum but we ask members to give chance to budget and see items in corrigendum and house will be taken. If there are decisions to be taken at last minute.”