Members of Parliament have rejected the proposed amendments on Public Finance Management Act 2015 saying it will usurp powers of Parliament on checks and balances
By Francis Emorut
Members of Parliament have rejected the proposed amendments on Public Finance Management Act 2015 saying it will usurp powers of Parliament on checks and balances.
The Government tabled the amendments to the law on September 30, 2015.
In a press statement read by Bushenyi Municipality, MP Odo Tayebwa, the lawmakers argued that amendments want to replace accounting officer with sector in preparations of Budget Framework Papers which will absolve the former from any responsibility.
They said this will encourage corruption to grow unchecked. The MPs were addressing journalists at the Parliamentary lobby room.
"Our fears on the proposed amendments under section 9 of PFMA 2015 that provides for preparations of the Budget Framework Papers to Parliament. Government is proposing to substitute the sector Budget Framework Paper to Parliament with word "Accounting Officer" with "sector". It further seeks to substitute word "vote" with "sector." We believe this will encourage corruption with impunity," Tayebwa said.
"It absolves the accounting officer of any personal responsibility in financial mismanagement of public finances".
Tayebwa was supported by Busongora North MP William Zonghu who explained that in its current form the law provides strong checks and balances against wasteful government expenditure and debt financing.
"It allows enhanced Parliamentary oversight over government fiscal management as well as conformity of sector budgets to gender and equity budget guidelines developed by government," Zonghu stated.
The MPs also queried the rational to remove the certificate of gender equity saying it will affect the great strides the Government has made in empowering the women.
"This is a disappointment given that Uganda was the first country in the world to have a gender clause in public finance management laws. Eliminating this clause will affect Government current strides in ensuring gender equality and empowerment of marginalized groups especially women and youth as the country seeks to implement the Sustainable Development Goals," Tayebwa said.
The legislators also expressed concern on the proposal in the amendments that gives power to Bank of Uganda to make temporary advances to Government and Local Governments in respect to temporary shortages of recurrent revenue without approval of Parliament saying this is unprecedented move.
On his part MP Ronald Mugume implored fellow MPs to reject the proposed amendment to PFMA 2015.
"We MPs gathered here today therefore urge our colleagues and citizens of Uganda to reject these proposals to preserve the integrity of the Act to ensure prudent financial management practices, debt sustainability and effective Parliamentary oversight of public resources," Tayebwa said.
"We also emphasize maintenance of Certificate of Gender Equity, to serve the needs of Ugandans especially the vulnerable persons which include youth, gender equity and gender responsive development," he said.
The lawmakers concluded by urging fellow MPs of the 9th Parliament to reject the proposed amendments to the law which was barely six months ago assented to by H.E President Yoweri Museveni.
Bugabula North MP Andrew Allen, among other MPs, attended the media briefing as soon as the Parliamentary Plenary session spearheaded by Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga started deliberating on the proposed amendments after they were recalled on recess.
Also present at media briefing were members of civil society group led by Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group.
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