State House asks for an extra Shs34b
By Yasiin Mugerwa
Posted Friday, May 7 2010 at 00:00
Barely two months after State House asked for an additional Shs30.8 billion, the institution now wants another Shs34 billion to take care of the presidency. The new request comes less than a month to the end of the 2009/2010 financial year. If approved, the new supplementary budget request will bring the State House expenditure for 2009/10 to Shs152.7 billion—more than double the total budget for all the referral hospitals.
Protesting the new request for additional funds, lawmakers led by Shadow Finance Minister Okello Oduman yesterday described State House as a “bottomless pit” and promised to block the demand. “The rate at which State House is spending is alarming and if we don’t call them to order, their propensity to spend, will make the government commitment control systems meaningless,” Mr Okello said. “We need to put money in priority areas such as health, agriculture, education and infrastructure.”
The revelation comes days after Daily Monitor reported that reproductive health supplies estimated at Shs7.5b will not be procured in the next financial year due to lack of funds. State House says it will spend the money to cater for the shortfall in the operations budget, allowances, medical expenses, death benefits and funeral expenses.
Others costs will be for presidential travels, undisclosed training, buying newspapers, welfare and entertainment, special meals and drinks, communication, electricity, water, fuel and presidential donations. The latest State House cash request is contained in a new supplementary schedule submitted to Parliament by Finance Minister Syda Bbumba this week. The request is now before the Budget Committee for consideration.
State House Comptroller Richard Muhinda yesterday defended the request, saying: “The Presidency is the driver of the transformation in the country. State House is not overspending, we always defend our expenditure basing on the outputs and this is the cardinal principle of budgeting.”
In February, Parliament approved Shs18.5 billion for State House’s recurrent expenditure and another Shs12.3 billion for the same institution which the minister said was to settle outstanding arrears for the presidential jet debt service. Other ministries seeking extra funds in the new schedule are internal affairs (Shs29b), foreign affairs (Shs10b) and gender that wants Shs550m for the Kasubi tombs fire inquiry.