By Spy Uganda
Government has tabled the National Budget Framework Paper totaling Shs49.9 trillion for the Financial Year 2023/2024.
The document, which paves way for the budget approval process by Parliament, has been tabled by the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Hon. Matia Kasaija.
Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa who presided over the House referred the framework paper totaling, Shs49.9 trillion to the committee on Budget and other relevant sectoral committees for consideration.
According to the Public Finance Management Act, the Government should table the budget framework paper before Parliament by 31 December 2022, and by 01 February 2023, the House should have approved the budget framework paper.
“The preliminary resource envelope for Financial Year 2023/2024 is projected at Shs 49.9 trillion, compared to Shs48.1 trillion for the Financial Year 2022/2023 reflecting an increase of Shs1.8 trillion.
MPs were, however, concerned that the framework had remained on soft and not hard copy which impacted on their perusal of the same.
Hon. Nathan Twesigye (NRM, Kashari North County) said that it is important for the finance ministry to provide members with hard copies of the budget framework for them to scrutinise the budget adequately.
“Last financial year, we fidgeted a lot with the fact that they uploaded it on our Ipads – but you cannot easily read it. I think it is important for members to have a copy each so that they can read what they can on different sectors like roads and water,” he asked.
The Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, Hon. Mathias Mpuuga, tasked the minister equally to provide a hard copy of the framework, stating that the last time the minister presented a framework with massive changes.
Tororo North County MP, Hon. Geofrey Ekanya, equally tasked the finance minister to present the frameworks with further attachments saying that in the previous sessions, the attachments to the budget have been brought later making the work of the committee difficult.
Minister Kasaija said that what the member requested was genuine and he will make sure to provide the hard copies. He also tabled the Certificate of Compliance from the Equal Opportunities Commission
Hon. Tayebwa asked the committees to work according to the timelines for the budget.
“As chairpersons of sectoral committees, we have only one month to process and report to the House by 30 January. You can see our timelines – these are timelines that we cannot amend, and this is going to be our priority so that we give it justice,” Tayebwa said.
The Hoima East Division MP, Hon. Patrick Isingoma tasked the minister to explain the contents of an internal memo from the Chief Administrative Officer of Nakaseke district to civil servants in the district informing them that salaries for December 2022 would be paid in mid-January 2023.
Kasaija informed the House that salaries and wages have the first call on the budget, and if that money had not yet been sent to the district, then there must have been a procedural problem which he pledged to resolve.