• Tue. Oct 3rd, 2023

UGANDA, Amuru | Real Muloodi News | In a surprising turn of events, Parliament has given its approval to a supplementary budget request of USh1.3 trillion to address emerging spending gaps in the Financial Year 2022–2023.

A significant portion of the supplementary budget, approximately USh274.9 billion, was allocated to the financing of the Atiak Sugar Factory in Amuru District, owned by Ms Amina Hersi Moghe.

The sugar factory had previously faced closure due to insufficient cane supply. The government, through the Uganda Development Corporation (UDC), holds a 40 per cent stake in the factory, with a total investment of USh563 billion.

Ms Amina, the majority shareholder, has invested USh129 billion in the venture.

The Ministry of Finance also sought approval for an additional USh48 billion for the construction of a Convention Centre at Commonwealth Speke Resort Munyonyo. This project aims to prepare for the 19th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) scheduled for January 2024.

The government is financing the convention as a joint venture between UDC and businessman Sudhir Ruparelia’s Meera Investments Ltd.

As part of the joint venture agreement, UDC received a supplementary budget of USh86.4 billion, with USh38 billion allocated for the acquisition of a 50 per cent shareholding, while the remaining funds were designated as a shareholder loan.

The approved supplementary budget also includes USh26 billion for the purchase of CCTV cameras for the Uganda Police Force.

Some members of the Opposition, led by Shadow Finance Minister Muhammad Muwanga Kivumbi and Mr Jonathan Odur, attempted to block the supplementary budget for Atiak and Munyonyo.

They argued that approving the request would be unjustifiable since the government failed to provide evidence of value for money.

Mr Kivumbi highlighted the stark contrast between Atiak and another investor, Abid Alam, who spent only $52 million to establish a complete sugar plantation with a factory, while Atiak, despite receiving substantial funds from taxpayers, had little to show in terms of investment.

In December of the previous year, the Ministry of Finance presented a supplementary budget request of USh2.4 trillion to Parliament.

Part of this request, amounting to USh1.3 trillion, fell under the 3 per cent threshold that allows the government to spend without parliamentary approval, while the remaining balance required prior approval.

However, in April, the House rejected the request. Now, State Minister for Finance (General Duties) Mr Henry Musasizi has resubmitted the request for approval, leading to a reversal of the previous decision by MPs.

The speaker urged the MPs to approve this supplementary budget but made it clear that future requests should be rejected.


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