Uganda’s Parliament approves an imprudent supplementary budget for government personnel salaries
On May 16, 2023, Parliament of Uganda passed a supplementary request of UGX 4.4 trillion(USD 1,181,221,360) from the Ministry of Finance seeking to cover unforeseen expenses in the 2021/2022 fiscal year.
Secrets Known has established that from the approved UGX 4.4 trillion(USD 1,181,221,360) supplementary budget, UGX 2.5 trillion(USD 671,148,500) was allocated to recurrent expenditure, and UGX 1.9 trillion(USD 510,072,860) for Development Expenditure,”
Under the recurrent expenditure category, the defence ministry and the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (land and air forces) will receive UGX 620 billion(USD 166,444,828). State House will be allocated UGX 193 billion(USD 51,812,664) for salaries, wages, and other expenditures.
The education ministry will receive UGX 50 billion(USD 13,422,970) for salaries, while the health ministry will be allocated UGX 134 billion(USD 35,973,559). Additionally, Uganda’s EMB will receive UGX 35 billion(USD 9,396,079) for salaries, and Treasury Operations will receive UGX 228 billion for salaries, wages, and other expenses.
As usual, Uganda’s security sector continues to be the biggest recipient of frequent supplementary budgets, most of which are classified — hence enabling them to escape public scrutiny.
Ideally, supplementary budgets must be ‘unabsorbable, unavoidable, and unforeseeable but often times this principle is not applied to the supplementary budgets in Uganda, which have become larger and more frequent.
Although Article 156 of the Constitution and Section 25 of the Public Finance Management Act allow supplementary budget estimates to be put before Parliament for approval, it will always be imprudent for Parliament to continue approving supplementary budgets that include salaries and wages as part of the unforeseen expenses. Salaries are a statutory requirement; therefore it is illogical for the government to recruit personnel without ascertaining the source of their wages.
The continuous requests for salaries under supplementary budgets clearly indicate that there is always improper allocation and apparent misuse of public resources.
To solve this insatiable appetite for supplementary budgets, government of Uganda must be deliberate in reducing leakages through corruption, and amplifying the effectiveness of its budget through better priority setting, targeting, and sequencing.