MPs oppose plan by government to spend Petroleum fund money
Members of Parliament on the Budget Committee of Parliament have responded angrily to plans by the Ministry of Finance to draw money from the Shs125 billion from the Petroleum Fund when the ministry did not include the same in the Budget Framework Paper.
Junior Finance Minister David Bahati, who led a team from the Ministry, told MPs that whereas the plan to draw resources from the ring-fenced Petroleum Fund was not included in the Budget Framework Paper, “it was included in the motion tabled before the House.”
“You did not include the Petroleum Fund as source of revenue for the coming Financial Year, why are you smuggling it now?” asked Mr Muhammad Kivumbi (DP, Butambala),” said. “Even in their estimates which they have submitted, they say the amount they are going to source from the Petroleum Fund is zero.”
When Committee Vice Chairperson Ignatius Wamakuyu (NRM, Elgon County) pressed the officials to explain the inconsistency, the Director of Budget at the Ministry of Finance Kenneth Mugambe said “it was a typing error,” a response the Committee greeted with sarcastic laughter.
“These are official documents submitted by your own ministry,” Mr Wamakuyu said.
“We have noted their response, we have highlighted the inconsistency as a Committee and we shall make a decision,” said Mr Kivumbi, bringing the debate to on the matter to a close.
Section 59 (3) of the Public Finance Management Act ring-fences the Petroleum Fund to only infrastructure related expenditure.
It reads: “For avoidance of doubt, petroleum revenue shall be used for the financing of infrastructure and development projects of Government and not the recurrent expenditure of government.”
Asked whether the fund would be put to the use prescribed by law, Mr Bahati responded in the affirmative.
10 billion for political parties
Mr Bahati told legislators that government shall avail shillings 10 billion to political parties in the next Financial Year.
“We have provided Shs10 billion to the Electoral Commission as the political parties fund, the resource will be divided according to the numerical strength in Parliament,” he said.
Section 14(A) of the Political Parties and Organizations Amendment Act 2010 states that “government shall contribute funds or other public resources towards the activities