During the debate and adoption of the National Budget Framework Paper for the Financial Year 2023/2024, Parliament instructed government to review the plausibility of some of the agencies created by government.
The Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa, echoed a concern raised by the Member of Parliament for Rukiga County, Hon. Roland Ndyomugyenyi, that government had failed to fully operationalise some of the funds like the Uganda Road Fund (URF).
Ndyomugenyi pointed out that during the processing of the proposed budget for the Financial Year 2022/23, it was discovered that the budget for the road fund was slashed from Shs3.9 trillion to Shs480 billion meant for road maintenance.
The background to this was that government should not be slashing the URF budget which is catered for by the fuel levy.
Ndyomugyenyi said the framers of the URF ACT agreed to the importance of road maintenance because the stock of roads which require maintenance would ideally keep increasing with the growth of paved roads network on an annual basis.
“It is counteractive to decrease the budget for road maintenance yet there are roads being constructed everyday around the country,” he added.
The Deputy Speaker proposed that government should review the existence of some of the agencies and whether they are implementable.
“If you attempted to implement these funds like URF among others, you may have to commit a huge chunk of the resource envelope which would affect the economy greatly,” Tayebwa said.
He said that government should go back to the drawing board and propose amendments to some of the Acts operationalising these agencies if they deem it difficult to fulfil.
Tayebwa said whenever a budget is passed without certain Acts being met, it poses the threat of an illegality.
The Minister of State for Finance (Planning), Hon. Amos Lugoloobi, said government has come up with ways of achieving the measures set in the Act to finance the Uganda Road Fund.
He noted, in response to the concerns, that the revenue being collected from fuel levies is not being remitted to URF as it is excise duty, a form of tax imposed on goods for their production, licensing and sale.
“The law provides for a separate levy to be put on fuel and in turn, finance the road fund,” Lugoloobi said.
The minister said government is in the process of formulating a levy on fuel to fund the URF in addition to the other government measures and will brought before Parliament for consideration before the end of the budgeting cycle.
However, he added that government would review all agencies and report back to Parliament with amendments where the need arises.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Parliament of the Republic of Uganda.