PIC: Minister for health Ruth Aceng (right) and state minister for general duties Sarah Opendi (left) appeared before the health committee of parliament on Tuesday. (Credit: Maria Wamala)
KAMPALA - The parliamentary committee on health has deferred the approval of the sh1.8trillion budget for the ministry of health over lack of a certificate of gender equity, as required by the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) 2015.
The ministry of health officials, led by Jane Ruth Aceng, had appeared before the committee seeking approval of their budget, for the financial year 2017/2018.
"This meeting is illegal; we cannot continue without you tabling a certificate of gender equity, I adjourn this meeting until that time when you provide the committee with a copy of the certificate of gender equity among other documents required of you," Dr. Michael Bukenya, the committee chairperson, ruled before the ministry officials were asked out of the committee room.
The Public Finance Management Act of 2015 mandates the minister of finance to issue a certificate certifying that the Ministerial Policy Statements of the respective MDAs are gender and equity responsive in consultation with the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC).
Kalungu West MP Joseph Ssewungu is on the committee. (Credit: Maria Wamala)
Last week, EOC indicated that over 40 government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) are set to miss out on budget allocations for failure to comply with gender and equity requirements for the financial year 2017/18.
Besides the gender equity certificate, the ministry of health had also not furnished the committee with other documentary requirements like the ministerial work plan, asset register and the procurement plan for the ministry.
"We cannot continue without getting these very crucial documents from the ministry. In fact we are having this meeting illegally because the law provides that these documents must be provided before a budget for any MDAs to be considered," said Fred Baseke, the MP Ntenjeru County North.
However in response, Diana Atwine, the permanent secretary in the ministry of health, attributed the delay to acquire the certificate of gender equity to the ministry of finance, which she said had not issued them, with the certificate.
"It is something that we are going to work on next time we meet; it will be given to the committee," Atwine assured.
She however noted that the ministry had already acquired other documents like the work plan, procurement plan and the assets register, which she said had been submitted to the committee.