Parliament’s Budget Committee on Tuesday questioned the discrepancies in figures under the National Budget Framework Paper presented by the Ministry of Finance.
Officials from the Ministry of Finance led by the Minister of State for Planning, Amos Lugoloobi appeared before the committee to formally present and discuss the 43 Trillion Shillings budget for the coming financial year 2022/2023, but MPs noticed that the figures were inconsistent.
The Public Finance Management Act, 2015 sets February 1 as the deadline for Parliament to consider and approve the Budget Framework Paper. After this process, Parliament is then expected to approve the National Budget by May 31.
After Lugoloobi tabled a document detailing the resource allocation by programme, MPs highlighted differences in the figures leading to a procedural matter raised by Butambala County MP, Muhammad Muwanga Kivumbi.
Kivumbi wondered whether the Budget Committee can discuss the budget without harmonization of the discrepancies in the documents which must lead to the final approval by the House. The variance in the figures was highlighted under Governance and Security, Human Capital Development, Integrated Transport Infrastructure and Services, Agro-industrialization, and others.
Barnabas Tinkasimire, the Buyaga West MP asked that the document presented by the minister be withdrawn since it does not tally with the Budget Framework Paper that was tabled before the House in December 2021.
Lugoolobi, then asked MPs to consider figures carried in the Budget Framework Paper given the anomalies in his current document.
Patrick Isiagi, the Budget Committee chairperson disagreed with the minister and dismissed the meeting to another day. He said that the figures have to be consistent and well-coordinated.
Henry Musasizi, the Minister of State for Finance-General Duties downplayed queries by the MPs, saying the Budget Framework Paper is largely a working document.
He said that things keep changing and that after the Budget Framework Paper was laid, there was an addendum with 1.2 trillion Shillings that was not captured.
Musasizi further explained that the 1.2 trillion Shillings does not necessarily mean that the total budget would increase since it has come from the re-allocation of resources.