By Andrew Irumba
According to an internal memo from the office of the Director budget in the Ministry of Finance, it has directed that payment for November and December be made to five areas.
The five Prioritized areas include State House, Ministry of Defence, Gov’t workers’ wages, pension and gratuity, statutory obligations under Vote 130, and the Electoral Commission.
However, Members of Parliament on the finance and budget committee revealed that the government’s decisions clearly show that the government does not care about the economy given the Covid-19 era but rather areas where the executive has control.
“How about the other sectors of the economy? Because we’re in the rainy season. The roads in the countryside are going to be impassable and you’re not prioritizing them, you have a lot of ongoing contracts in energy and other sectors so you’re going to pay for idle time,” Muwanga Kivumbi, one of the MPs on the committee Questioned.
From the time Covid-19 struck the economy about seven months ago, different businesses have been asking for a stimulus package but the government’s decision on Covid-19 recovery of the economy focused on postponing taxes, and now with the current cash flow and prioritized areas, what is the impact on non-prioritized areas like industry, agriculture, among others? Kivumbi questioned.
In the same vein, Nakaseke Member Of parliament Luttamaguzi Ssemakula questioned the manner in which these prioritized areas are arrived at and considered yet there are other more important sectors that require urgent funding.
“Normally any sensible person can stifle many other areas but health can not be stifled really, as an MP if I come out and tell you these would have been the prioritized sectors, who will listen to me? After all some of the members here who would have talked about it are now in campaigns and some fear to go against the government,”Luttamaguzi Ssemakula said.
Meanwhile, Finance minister Matia Kasaija has revealed that there is an urgent need for the government to borrow money to sort the current cash crisis and government is currently short on cash and has indefinitely suspended payment of all allowances for its workers that they have made a request for a loan whose approval is being delayed by parliament’s lengthy formalities.
While defending the urgency to borrow, Kasaija said that the current revenue flow is not sufficient to finance all demands. He says among the crucial demands that need financing are; the effects of the locust invasion, floods, and the poor road network.
The suspended payments for workers include; lunch, mileage, transport, and overtime allowances