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Defence ministry in sh442b supplementary query

By Moses Walubiri, Lisa Nsaba

Added 8th August 2019 04:54 PM

The issue of classified expenditure and the increasing amount of funds being ‘labeled’ classified has of late spawned a heated debate in Parliament.

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Defence ministry officials, led by accounting officer Edith Buturo (left), appeared before the Public Accounts Committee on Thursday. (Photo by Miriam Namutebi)

The issue of classified expenditure and the increasing amount of funds being ‘labeled’ classified has of late spawned a heated debate in Parliament.

PARLIAMENT

KAMPALA - Lawmakers sitting on the public accounts committee Thursday tasked defence ministry technocrats with explaining how the entity was able to receive a supplementary budget that was over 40% of its 2017/18 budget.

The technocrats, led by accounting officer Edith Buturo, were at Parliament to answer queries raised by the Auditor General for the financial year ending June 2018.

Documents before Parliament’s foremost accountability committee indicate that the defense miniistry's approved budget for the 2017/18 financial year was sh1.48 trillion.

However, contrary to provisions of the Public Finance Management Act, which limit supplementary expenditure to not more than 3% of the approved budget, the ministry was allocated sh382b.

“The money received in supplementary budget is more than 40% of your budget. It is even more than what other ministries receive a year,” said MP Michael Tusiime.

Although Buturo conceded that the funds in issue flouted the provisions of the public finance management Act, she said the ministry’s hands were tied.

“Sh382b was classified expenditure. It was used to buy expensive equipment. This is a special project and the transaction was in dollars,” she told the committee.

The issue of classified expenditure and the increasing amount of funds being ‘labeled’ classified has of late spawned a heated debate in Parliament.

In the current financial year, the budget for classified expenditure is sh2.2 trillion.  A section of lawmakers, especially those on Opposition benches, have raised concerns over the spike in the classified expenditure budget.

Many of them aver that classified expenditure budget fan the embers of financial ‘indiscipline’ through opaque accountability procedures.

During the passing of the Public Finance Management Act, a section of MPs made a case for the public accounts committee to scrutinize classified expenditure.

However, a compromise was struck with a committee composed of chairpersons of parliamentary committees conducting scrutiny on behalf of Parliament.


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