Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa has asked the Minister for Local Government Raphael Magyezi to present on Wednesday next week a statement explaining to Parliament how the budgets for the District Local Governments are fed into the national budget.
While giving his opening remarks at the commencement of Thursday’s plenary sitting, Tayebwa said that he has received disturbing information that Local Governments are still working on their budgets at a time when Parliament is about to conclude appropriation for the 2022/22 financial years.
The Public Finance Management Act, 2015 gives Parliament a deadline to pass the budget of the next financial year by May 31 before the Finance Minister delivers the Budget Speech in the second week of June.
The Deputy Speaker said that he has confirmed from Mitooma District where he hails from that the Council is still working on its budget and wonder how it will fit in the national budget whose processing is about to be concluded.
“Yesterday I was having a call with a section of District Speakers and Councilors telling me that they will be meeting towards the end of May to approve budgets of their District Councils. Parliament is already receiving the consolidated budget proposal. The Committee already presented to the Budget committee. I also learnt that the CAOs (Chief Administrative Officers) sent the budget to the Ministry of Finance. Now the question is whose budgets are local governments presenting to the Ministry of Finance?” Tayebwa asked.
The concerned Tayebwa said that the situation compromises the spirit of decentralization where the planning and budgeting is a bottom up process hence a need for Parliament to be abreast of the way Districts budgets are captured in the national budget.
“This shocked me. I really need the Minister of Local Government to come here and brief us on the budget process for Districts. What I really came to understand is that the Ministry of Local Government does not know what Districts have budgeted because the CAOs submit directly to the Ministry of Finance” he said.
Kampala Central MP Muhammad Nsereko said that the House should start giving time to debate the sectoral committee reports in order to understand the priorities of the different local governments and entities for better appropriation.
“This is a center of cross-lobbying. We are supposed to look at the priorities from each place and we synchronize everything” Nsereko said.
Local Governments like other Ministries, Departments and Agencies receive indicative figures from the Ministry of Finance to guide their budgeting processes.