By Kiyimba Bruno
Civil societies (CSOs) under the umbrella of Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) have advised the government of Uganda on the best ways of dealing with supplementary budget.
This was during a press briefing that was held at CSBAG offices in Ntida where the Manading Director CSBAG Julius Mukundo showed his concern on why CSOs are concerned about the current t\state of supplementary budgeting in Uganda,where the pressure comes from as well as what should be done.
Why are CSOs concerned?
According to Mukundo, poor implementation of the policy and legal guidelines of the supplementary budgeting as stipulated in the PFM act 2015,as amended and PFM regulations 2016, the law allows for expenditure up to 3% of the national budget without parliamentary approval. However, the PFM regulations are specific about the supplementary budgets being allowed only if they are unforeseeable, unavoidable. On this note, Mukundo said that they continue to see salaries and allowances on supplementary schedules.
“NIRA got a supplementary of Shs9.9b as allowances in the FY2017/2018,Bugiri and Masindi districts took Shs291,740,000 for payment of utility bills and save for classified expenditure under state house” Mukundo revealed.
According to Mukundo, the supplementary expenditure under recurrent category of Shs2.33bn does not qualify.
He went ahead to explain that supplementary budgeting is weakening institutional mandate, control and oversight
Where does the pressure for supplementary budgeting come from?
According to Mukundo, CSBAG has been able to make analysis of who is applying more pressure on the supplementary budget.
Mukundo urges that where CSOs have previously blamed the budget custodians, they have realized that the pressure for supplementary budget comes from other MDAs, Ministry of Energy, Uganda Police, National Medical store and the Parliamentary commission that takes the Lion share of the Supplementary budget with 23.7%,11.3%,9.1% and 7.3% respectively.
What should be done?
As government continues to think through austerity, CSOs propose that where supplementary expenditure shows poor planning should not be approved, instead only be approved with sanctions to the accounting officers responsible for the requesting entity.
In the long run, CSOs call for amendment of section 12 of the budget act and section 25 of the PFM act 2015 as well as amendment to remove the flexibility that allows supplementary budgets without parliamentary approval (up to 3% of the national budget). CSOs believe that the PFM act under section 22 and 20 allows enough flexibility for the MDAs to spend money without asking supplementary budget.