Scrutiny Begins for UGX 3.5 Trillion Supplementary Budget in Parliament

scrutiny begins for ugx 3 5 trillion supplementary budget in parliament
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The Budget Committee of Uganda’s Parliament has initiated a thorough examination of the proposed 3.5 trillion supplementary budget. The purpose of this additional budget allocation is to finance crucial infrastructure projects for the Financial Year 2022/2023.

The supplementary budget framework paper, presented to the Committee by Henry Musasizi, the Minister of State for Finance, outlines the allocation of funds. Notably, 318 billion is earmarked for the Electricity Access Scale-Up Project (EASP) under the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development.

Minister of State for Energy, Sidronious Okasaai Opolot, disclosed that a significant portion of the funds, 128 billion, is allocated to connect 200,000 households across the country within the current financial year. He emphasized the operational status of the EASP since July 2023, stating that additional funding is required to activate specific activities.

Okasaai further detailed the Ministry’s supplementary request, highlighting the allocation of 30 billion for startup costs related to the Karuma Hydro Power Plant. This includes expenses such as plant insurance, permits, service contracts, and specialized tools.

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A noteworthy allocation within the supplementary budget is 58 billion to cover shortfalls in contractual obligations for deemed energy, specifically under the Lira-Agago transmission line for the Achwa-Agago Dam.

Other key allocations in the supplementary budget include 197 billion for road construction, 47 billion to support the deployment of medical interns and their allowances, and 37 billion for ongoing renovations at Commonwealth Speke Resort Munyonyo. The latter is crucial in preparation for the upcoming Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and Group of G77 (G77) Summits scheduled for January 2023.

During the scrutiny process, Wilfred Niwagaba, Member of Parliament for Ndorwa County East, emphasized the importance of the Ministry delivering on its mandate, citing power unavailability in his constituency, a significant source of power generation.

Expressing concern, Dicksons Kateshumbwa, Chairperson of the Budget Committee and Sheema Municipality legislator, questioned the significant expenditure on deemed energy. He urged the Ministry to focus on using energy efficiently, aligning with the national agenda.

The Committee also called on the Ministry to provide a clear roadmap for the implementation of the 200,000 connections across the country. As of 2022, only 1.7 million households are connected to the national electricity grid, according to statistics from the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA).

Funded by the World Bank, the government’s five-year Electricity Access Scale-up Project aims to enhance electricity access for households, refugee and host communities, industrial parks, commercial enterprises, and public institutions. This initiative aligns with Uganda’s Vision 2040, National Development Plan (NDP) III, the 2018 – 2027 Electricity Connection Policy (ECP), and Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG 7) to achieve universal energy access by 2030.

It’s essential to note that in May 2023, Parliament passed the 2023/2024 National Budget, increased to UGX 52.7 trillion for FY 2023/24 from UGX 48.13 trillion for FY 2022/23, representing a 9.5% increase from the previous financial year.

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