The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among has tasked all committee chairperson to urgently report back to the House in regard to Bills and other business that was referred to them for consideration.
The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among has tasked all committee chairpersons to urgently report back to the House in regard to Bills and other business that were referred to them for consideration.
Among made the statement while presiding over the Wednesday afternoon plenary sitting in which she noted laxity of committee Chairpersons in handling business sent to them.
She noted that different committees of parliament had been given Bills to handle and report back to parliament within the specified 45 days under the rules of procedure, but added that none of the chairpersons has returned with a report or sought more time to conclude the work.
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However, Bukooli Central MP Solomon Silwany informed the Deputy Speaker that its not the committee chairs causing the delay but rather the Ministry of Finance which he accused of not funding the activities to be done.
He noted that some of the committees are stuck with business because legislators are not able to carry out field visits in-order to draw conclusions on matters before them due to lack of money.
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In response, Among called on government to play its part so that parliament business is processed on time.
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In October, the Parliamentary Commission protested budget cuts to Parliament saying that these had crippled the work of the House committees.
Parliament appropriated 831 billion Shillings for the Parliamentary Commission for the financial year 2021/2022 but available information indicates that the budget was cut by 24.5 billion Shillings and this was particularly for workshops and travel abroad. This is one of the measures that was undertaken to reorganize government expenditure amidst the tough economic times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In July, the Ministry of Finance sent out a circular to all accounting officers, indicating that budget cuts had been effected across the board to allow the government to generate emergency financing totalling 600 billion Shillings for the COVID-19 response. The cuts affected the Office of the Prime Minister, State House, Uganda Aids Commission, National Medical Stores, The Office of the President, Mulago National Referral Hospital, among others.
Deputy Speaker Among then said that salaries for parliament had been delayed and that committees could not perform their duties effectively with the cuts, and insisted that despite the different challenges that came with the outbreak of COVID-19, the operations of parliament should not be stifled.
In response to this, the Minister of Finance Matia Kasaija then justified the budget cut on the Parliamentary Commission, saying that it was necessary to help the country meet urgent COVID-19 medical needs.
According to Kasaija, the decision was taken by Cabinet to cut money appropriated for travel and workshops in all government entities. He said that reversing the decision would need the approval of the Cabinet.
In total, the Finance Ministry cut 203.41 billion from different government entities to reorganize government expenditure amidst the tough economic times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The cuts affected the Office of the President (1.9 billion), State House (8 billion), Office of the Prime Minister (4.31 billion), Ministry of Defence (5.14 billion), Ministry of Finance (25.9 billion), Office of the Auditor General (3.9 billion), Makerere University (4.3 billion) Uganda Revenue Authority (8.8 billion), National Curriculum Development Centre (12.8 billion), Missions Abroad (11.6 billion) and others.