Uganda's 1.1 Trillion Shilling Supplementary Budget Raises Eyebrows

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Uganda's 1.1 Trillion Shilling Supplementary Budget Raises Eyebrows
Ramathan Ggoobi

The Ugandan government's latest supplementary budget request of 1.1 trillion shillings (approximately $318 million) has sparked controversy among Members of Parliament (MPs) who question both the timing and the allocation of funds. With just one month remaining in the current financial year, the legitimacy of these additional spending requests is under scrutiny.

A Breakdown of the Budget:

The largest chunk of the proposed supplementary budget goes to the State House with a classified recurrent expenditure of 18.6 billion shillings. Other notable allocations include:

  • Office of the Prime Minister (External Financing for Development Response of Displaced Persons): 9.7 billion shillings
  • Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development: 37.3 billion shillings
  • Ministry of Agriculture: 9 billion shillings
  • Regional referral hospitals (Hoima, Jinja): 115 billion shillings (combined)

However, specific allocations have drawn particular criticism:

  • DEI Pharmaceuticals bailout: 57.8 billion shillings
  • Compensation of ranchers (Ministry of Lands and Housing): 6.6 billion shillings
  • Uganda Martyrs Day celebration: 3 billion shillings

Opposition MPs like Shadow Finance Minister Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda argue that the government prioritizes projects with questionable returns on investment. He accuses them of "sneaking" previously rejected projects into supplementary budgets, and suggests potential political pressure might influence parliamentary approvals.

Key Questions:

  • Are these expenditures truly "unforeseen emergencies" justifying a supplementary request this close to the end of the fiscal year?
  • Could these funds have been better managed within existing budgets?
  • Do the allocations represent sound financial priorities for the nation?

The Debate:

The approval of this supplementary budget will likely be a contentious issue in Parliament. The government will need to justify the timing and purpose of these additional expenses to quell concerns about potential mismanagement and wasteful spending.

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