CSBAG calls for removal of unnecessary expenses in 2024/25 Budget after Presidential recall

CSBAG Executive Director, Mr. Julius Mukunda addressing the media at their offices in Ntinda, Kampala on Sunday, June 30, 2024 (Photo/CSBAG)

Kampala, (UG): The Uganda Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) has urged members of parliament to cut the unnecessary expenses in the Shs 72 Trillion National Budget as they embark on debating the Appropriation Bill 2024 that prompted its return to the August House.

President Museveni last week declined to sign the Appropriation Bill, 2024, and returned it to parliament with a request to reinstate UShs750 billion that was reallocated by parliament without executive consent.

The figures sparked questions about the transparency of the budget committee and parliament and whether parliament had enough time to scrutinize the budget.

And now as the country embarks starts the 2024/25 financial year today without an approved budget, Mr Julius Mukunda, the Executive Director CSBAG says this is an avenue to have some of the unnecessary expenses such as emoluments for cultural leaders, procurement of iron sheets and maize seeds, and house rent for the principal judge and chief justice, among others.

“MPs should use this opportunity to rein on this extreme appetite of the executive to cut down unnecessary expenses like these ones and more others and we live within our means. We believe, more expenses can be further corrected as the Parliament reconsiders the budget on 2nd July 2024,” said Mukunda while addressing journalists at CSBAG offices in Ntinda on Sunday.

He added that certain government expenditures that are not productive can be removed from the budget so that we can live within our means. These include. Emoluments for cultural leaders with UGX 30.95 billion, Ministry of Karamoja for procurement of iron sheets, maize seeds and ox ploughs worth UGX 8 billion, Ministry of Luweero, supporting families with income-generating projects worth UGX 2 billion, House rent for the principal judge and chief justice UGX 450 million, Arrears for tea seedlings for farmer UGX 17.26 billion, UGX 8.93 billion, medical insurance for MPs and parliamentary staff, UGX 2.5billion for sensitizing citizens on financial crimes.

Other expenses that can be cut downwards in the budget according to the CSBAG boss include the reinstatement of the budget cut for the office of the President with UGX 20.20 billion and Land for an industrial park in Kibaale worth UGX 700 million.

“These are expenses that can be removed or have the money reallocated to more pressing sectors like education, health, road and agriculture,” Mr Mukunda, a senior economist advised, emphasizing that the role of MPs is to remove such unnecessary expenses and not to allocate resources.

According to him, corruption if not checked has severe potential impacts including eroding public trust and depriving citizens of much-needed services. “We hope that all corruption cases will be investigated, and all culprits brought to book,” he emphasized.

Increased debt distress

Mr Mukunda also decried the increased debt burden straining Ugandans which according to him is a result of the unnecessary expenditures on non-productive expenses. This, he urged the government to expedite the review process of the bill to minimize adverse effects on the execution of activities for FY 2024/25.

In the next FY, Mukunda says Uganda’s domestic borrowing will be at 8.9 trillion which will now increase to UGX 9.72 trillion if the UGX 750 billion is borrowed domestically. Additionally, this will further increase implications potential leading to higher interest payments and a greater portion of the budget revenue being allocated to debt servicing rather than essential services and development projects.

He therefore called for strengthening of the country’s budgeting systems saying however much there is a strong legal framework for public finance management, the credibility of government budgets is a key driver of effective service delivery and public confidence in government systems.

“The budget credibility risk faced at the budget approval stage of the FY2024/25 budget calls for increased strengthening of the budget across different stages of the budgeting process (from planning to execution),” said Mukunda.

DailyExpress understands that Parliament is expected to sit on Tuesday, July 2, to consider the merits and demerits of the proposed amendments in the Appropriate Bill, 2024.

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