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Minister Kasaija Explains Discrepancies in Approved 2020/21 Budget

Minister of Finance, Matia Kasaija has come out to explain discrepancies in the 2020/2021 National Budget that was recently read to the nation.

It is understood that a day earlier, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga had summoned him to elaborate in detail how monies that had been approved by Parliament’s Budget Committee were inflated.

Concern arose from allocations to the Social Assistance Grant (SAG) which rose from 66 billion shillings to 107 billion shillings and funds for capitalization of Uganda Development Bank (UDB) which were raised from 103 billion to 1.45 trillion shillings.

Appearing in Parliament on Thursday, June 18, 2020, Kasaija explained that this arose out of last-minute funds that Uganda received from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and African Development Bank (ADB).

“The difference arose out of the fact that we received additional funding from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the African Development Bank after the approval of the budget,” Kasaija elaborated.

It should be noted that in May this year, Uganda received 491.5 and 15 million dollars from the IMF and World Bank (WB) to mitigate the effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic.

This is not the first time, legislators are disputing figures by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MOFPED).

In January 2020, Members of Parliament (MPs) rubbished a submission by David Bahati the State Minister for Finance which stated that Uganda’s economy had grown four times to 101 trillion shillings in spite of geological shocks.

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They also disagreed with the notion that the economy was projected to grow between 6.3% and 6.2% for three years ending 2021 and expected to hit 7.0% in the 2024/25 Financial Year.

For one, Okoth Otieno the West Budama MP, critiqued the figures saying they were out of touch with reality.

“It’s a hoax, this is not real growth. In 2014, the exchange rate was around 1 USD for 3,800 shillings and today with the expansion of the economy, the massive growth registered year after year it is 3,700,” Otieno pointed out.

In August last year, Minister Bahati found difficulty when he promised to reconcile incorrect Local Government budgetary allocations for the year 2019/2020.

This was after the then Minister of Local Government, Jennifer Namuyangu complained about allocations to entities which she said were riddled with discrepancies.

In his response, Bahati acknowledged the mistakes and promised to rectify them.

“We are requesting the committee to give chance to the Ministry of Finance to correct and reverse these errors and allow the local governments to function normally,” he acknowledged.

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