Political parties in Uganda are headed for tougher times after government failed to budget for them in the 2018/2019 national budget.
While appearing before the Committee of Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to present the Commission’s budget framework paper, Simon Byabakama, the Chairman of Electoral Commission said that government is cash trapped and will not avail the Shs10Billion that political parties have been receiving.
Byabakama informed the Committee that government has been providing funds in the Financial Years 2014/2015 (Shs10Billion), 2015/2016 (Shs15Billion) and 2017/2018, however, during the budget preparations for 2018/2019 no provision for this purpose was made.
The Commission also revealed that although Shs10Billion was approved for 2017/2018 budget, the Ministry of Finance only released Shs7Billion.
“In FY 2017/2018 political parties and organisations with representation in government were to receive Shs10bn, but only Shs7.50bn was released and no provision has been made for 2018/2019 budget,” Byabakama said.
Section 14(a) of the Political Parties and Organisation Act, 2005, provides that government shall contribute funds or other public resources towards the activities of the political parties or organizations represented in parliament.
The Commission also noted that they need Shs16bn that will be used for conducting elections and operationalizing of new districts.
“The Commission proposes that its budget ceiling be revised upwards by Shs16.61Billion to enable it conduct elections in established Local Governments and operationalize offices in the new districts,” Byabakama added.
The report adds that the 10 new districts namely; Kagadi, Kakumiro, Omoro, and Rubanda that were operationalized in 2016/2017 and Namisindwa, Pakwach, Butebo, Rukiga, Kyotera and Bunyangabo that were operationalized in 2017/2018 will require Shs7.06bn for their operationalisation as well as using the rest for payment of wage.
Additionally, six districts of Nabilatuk, Bugweri, Kasanda, Kwania, Kapelebyong and Kikuube that are set to be operationalised in FY2018/2019 have left a funding gap of Shs2.30bn.
“There are also 78 new Town Councils and 157 new Sub Counties with their attendant new parishes and new villages effective July 2018 were created without attendant budgets. The Commission requires Shs3.014Billion to conduct elections in these Lower Local Governments,” Byabakama said.