Govt Cuts Budget for Ministries

By Arthur Arnold Wadero

The government has made extensive cuts of budgets from its ministries, department and agencies (MDA) to redirect finances to major priorities in the current financial year 2021/2022.

The across-the-board cutback, which totals Shs203.4 billion, will also affect universities, parastatals and various commissions of government.

Overall, at least 106 government entities will be affected by the cuts affecting mainly monies for foreign and inland trips, meetings and conferences.

The revelation was made Friday by Mr Ramathan Ggoobi, the Finance permanent secretary and secretary to the Treasury.

He said the measure was taken to cut down the ‘wasteful’ expenditure and redirect the available finances into areas that will resuscitate the Covid-19-battered economy.

Mr Ggoobi, who was addressing journalists on a budget strategy awareness workshop on Friday in Kampala, said: “We have had a very serious challenge with Covid-19, which has affected our economy. The priority now is to keep Ugandans alive and recover the economy of Uganda. Even the Ministry of Health, there are some activities which are not necessary or priority like travelling abroad, we say no travelling abroad [for now],” he added:

Mr Ggoobi said the money saved will be used to bankroll areas that are in line with priorities contained in the Third National Development Plan (NDPIII).

“The budget is not cast in stone. We are saying that we are going to be having a budget that is informed by the priorities. And those priorities are stated in the National Development Plan III,” Mr Ggoobi said.

The entities to suffer major cuts include Finance, where Shs25.9 billion were slashed, the Parliamentary Commission with Shs24.5b trimmed off, the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) losing Shs12.8b, and Referral Hospitals, with each suffering Shs11.6b chopping.

State House budget has also been cut by Shs8b, Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs cut by Shs5.14b, Office of the President by Shs1.9b, while the Office of the Prime Minister will get its funding sliced by Shs4.3b.

Similarly, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will have its budget reduced by Shs4.55b, Justice and Constitutional Affairs will have its budget slimmed down by Shs4.87b while the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development will operate with Shs4.1b less.

Law enforcing and securities sectors have also been affected with Uganda Police Force facing a cut of Shs1.2b and the Uganda Prisons Service budget cut by Shs102m.

Mr Ggoobi said his ministry will place emphasis on activities that enable the government to realise the return on investments and not on wasteful expenditures.

“Going forward, we are going to rationalise the budget and remove wastage so that we ensure every money we spend is having a good return on investment. That is the intention,” Mr Ggoobi said.

“This budget, therefore, has been put together, first of all, to address the current economic constraints that we have and then restore the growth of the economy to the pre-[Covid-19] pandemic status.”

In other cuts, public universities Makerere will suffer a budget cut of Shs4.32b and Busitema Shs320m, while the Law Development Centre will have Shs650m sliced off.

The Office of the Auditor-General has had a cut of Shs3.98b, National Planning Authority (NPA) Shs1.6b, National Medical Stores (NMS) cut by Shs3.12b and the National Immigration and Citizenship Control cut by Shs4.26b.

The Judiciary will have its budget cut by Shs2 billion.

Mr Ggoobi also said the total verified bill that the ministry would pay in domestic arrears is Shs1.6 trillion.

“This year, we are paying a total of Shs555 billion. We are saying we are committing that the minimum we shall be budgeting will not be below Shs400 billion,” Mr Ggoobi said.

Source: The Monitor

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