The 2018/2019 Budget process is reaching its peak, with Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government submitting policy statements.
Ministerial Policy Statements are plans drawn in line with the Budget Framework Paper and the National Development Plan.
The document contains the ministry or agency’s expenditure plan and activities for the financial year in question.
It is then referred to the Sectoral Committees for consideration, then to the Budget Committee which ‘fine tunes’ them before being presented to the House for debate and enactment of the Appropriation Act 2018.
Defense and Veteran Affairs Minister, Hon. Adolf Mwesige, who was standing in for Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa, tabled four policy statements.
These are for the Ministries of Defense and Veteran Affairs, Public Service and Gender, Labour and Social Development.
Hon. Commissioner Robinah Nabbanja presented the policy statement for Vote 104, which is the Parliamentary Commission.
Section 13(1) of the Public Finance Management Act gives Finance Minister Matia Kasaija up to 01 April to present, on behalf of the President, the annual budget estimates for the Financial Year.
The Act gives Parliament up to 31st May to finalize its scrutiny of the proposed expenditure.
“Parliament shall, by the 31st of May of each year, consider and approve the annual budget and work plan of government for the next financial year, the Appropriation Bill and any other Bill…,” reads part of Section 14(1) of the Public Finance Management Act.
The current financial year, 2017/2018, is running on a budget of Shs29 trillion, with an addition of Shs451b spent by way of supplementary expenditure awaiting retrospective approval by Parliament.
A letter to the Clerk to Parliament, written by Mr Keith Muhakanizi, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, seeks MPs’ retrospective approval of the expenditure, in line with Section 25 of the Public Finance Management Act.
Before the advent of the Public Finance Management Act, government would read the budget at once during the Budget Day, and the Parliament process of approval would follow.
The Public Finance Management Act now frontloads the process.