Gov’t Restricts Foreign Trips, Halts Purchase of Vehicles

The Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development has restricted foreign trips to only the executive, judiciary, and Parliament. 

The new restrictions were contained in a Second Budget Call Circular for Financial Year 2023/2024 issued by Ramathan Ggoobi, the Permanent Secretary and Secretary to the Treasury in the Ministry of Finance on Saturday.

In the circular, Ggoobi also indicated that there will no borrowing for the next financial year 2023/24. During this period, no government entity shall receive an increase in the budget.

Equally, the government has also frozen the purchase of vehicles during the Financial Year 2023/24 and suspended salary enhancement by one year. The preliminary resource envelope for the 2023/24 financial year has been adjusted upwards to 50.871 trillion Shillings from 47.328 trillion Shillings in FY 2022/23.

Asked when the new directive will be implemented, Matia Kasaija, the Minister of Finance referred our reporter to Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja, also the Head of Government Business for more details but did not answer repeated calls made to her. 

On 1 February 2022, Parliament passed the Budget Framework Paper of 49.98 trillion Shillings for the next financial year 2023/2024 to be financed through domestic revenue equivalent to 28.83 trillion, budget support amounting to 2.491 trillion, domestic borrowing 1.585 trillion, external project support worth 8.04 trillion, domestic refinancing of 8.798 trillion, and local revenue for local government (AIA) of 238.5 billion Shillings.

Parish Development Model – PDM allocation of 1.059 trillion maintained in the budget for the 2023/24 financial year PM multi-sectoral strategy to create socio-economic transformation targeting 39% of Ugandan households that are stuck in the subsistence economy.

According to the Ministry of Finance, in order to finance its spending for the 2022/23 financial year notably, the Government proposed a 48.13 trillion Shillings National Budget.

During the extended period of the Covid-19 lockdown by imposed President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the Government saved over 100 billion Shillings on foreign trips such as trips for medical treatment, conferences, and consultations among others.

According to Parliament’s Committee on Budget and National Economy, during 2020/2021 the period spanning the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government reserved 167.4 billion Shillings in accumulated foreign travel expenses across all Ministries, Departments, and Agencies – MDAs.

Arithmetically, dividing the 167.4 billion Shillings by 12 months of the year implies that on average, the Government spends at least 13.9 billion Shillings in foreign travel every month.

During the year under review, the Parliamentary Commission program budget revealed that 420 billion was allocated exclusively for MPs’ allowances and foreign travel up from 400.7 billion Shillings in 2020/2021.

By the end of last year, with 426 legislators in the 10th Parliament, Parliament had spent 207 billion Shillings of the 420 billion allocations by end of the financial year.

This was attributed largely to the lockdown that forced many lawmakers to remain in the after other countries shut down to contain the spread of Covid-19.

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