Finance Minister Clarifies on Claims That He Read “Wrong” Budget

Finance Minister Matia Kasaija has responded to Parliament’s accusations that he presented wrong budget figures to the nation.

“The difference arose out of a fact that we received additional funding from the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and African Development Bank after approval of the budget,” Kasaija told parliament.

Kasaija said that he had deemed it proper to inform the country through parliament during the budget of the additional funding from international monetary bodies and how the government intends to allocate them.

The legislators, however, accused Kasija of undermining parliament when he went ahead to read what had not been appropriated by the parliament.

To this end, the speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga said that the Minister had usurped parliament’s powers and asked him to apologize.

Kasaija, however, denied usurping the powers of parliament noting that he was only doing what was proper.

“I only informed the house and country of these additional sources and I will not spend these resources until parliament has appropriated them,” Kasaija said.

“I didn’t say we were going to spend these resources before I come back here (to parliament). I only informed the county and house of these additional resources and we will propose how they will be spent. I will come back to this house to seek appropriation,” He added.

Last week, while presenting the 2020/2021 budget to the public, Kasaija read figures which had not been passed by parliament thus raising suspicion among several MPs led by the budget committee chairperson, Amos Lugoloobi.

Kasaija was later summoned to appear before parliament to explain the circumstances under which he read a “wrong” budget to the public.

The Finance Minister is accused of reading a shs 673 billion budget in terms of domestic arrears, as opposed to the shs400 billion approved by parliament.

Kasaija is also accused of inflating the figures related to money meant for export promotion in which parliament had approved shs38.5 billion but he read shs138 billion, whereas money meant for the social assistance grant for the elderly was inflated from shs66 billion to shs107 billion.

In addition, parliament also approved shs40 billion as a credit to small and medium scale enterprises, in the budget but the minister indicated shs94 billion had been appropriated for the same.

Parliament also approved shs103 billion for the recapitalisation of the Uganda Development Bank but the minister read shs1.45 trillion.

The minister is also accused of inflating the funds meant for talent support to shs 256 billion from shs100 billion that had been approved by parliament.

Kleive Calvin