Parliament has passed a motion to allow the Ministry of Finance to reallocate funds from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation to State House.
Whereas the ministry was independent with its own vote and accounting officer, in June, through a statutory instrument, President Museveni placed it under the Office of the President with the State House comptroller as its accounting officer.
On Wednesday, parliament was presented with Budgetary Committee report that gave a green light to the restructuring process.
“The committee observed that the budgetary amounts proposed for reallocation are consistent with amounts passed under Appropriation Act 2021 and supplied under statutory expenditure,” the committee’s report read in part.
The committee observed that whereas the Office of the President has its own cabinet minister and accounting officer, the president appointed another cabinet minister (Dr.Monica Musenero) to serve as Minister in the Office of the President in charge of Science and Technology.
Consequently, the committee said there is need to allow the reallocation of funds to enable the realization of the set goals.
The committee however indicated that there are still pending obligations that need to be addressed urgently and among them was the issue of the salary arrears for the ministry’s staff.
“Salaries of persons who were employed by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation and the subventions there under have not been paid since the beginning of this financial year. Their payments await reallocation of funds that the motion seeks,” the committee said.
However, a minority report by opposition legislators led by Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda said there was inadequate scrutiny of the reallocations.
According to Ssemujju, the funds should go to the Office of the President and not State House as was directed by President Museveni.
“State House is the residency of the president and his family members. The main function of State House therefore is welfare and parliament must not support any move to change or dilute it. Parliament must maintain a clear demarcation of roles between the residence and office,” he said.
However, nevertheless, parliament okayed the restructuring process of the Science ministry to move to the Office of the President under the care of the State House Comptroller.
The Minister for Science and Technology, Dr.Monica Musenero last week allayed staff fears of not being paid their salary arrears saying everything is being handled.
“The ministry was abolished and the process of taking the vote to a new accounting officer is what is delaying everything,”Musenero said.