Uganda bans foreign travel for ministers, MPs

Uganda not ready for minimum wage, says PS Ramathan Ggoobi
Ramathan Ggoobi has described the budget for FY 2022/23 as a Pro-people budget with substantial resources in areas to benefit the people of Uganda

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development has restricted foreign trips to only the Executive, Judiciary, and Parliament.

The new restrictions are contained in a second budget call circular for FY 2023/2024 issued by Ramathan Ggoobi, the Permanent Secretary and Secretary to the Treasury in the Ministry of Finance on Saturday 18, February 2023. In the circular, Ggoobi also indicated that there will no borrowing in FY 2023/24. Also, during this period, no government entity shall receive an increase in its budget.

Equally, the government has also frozen the purchase of vehicles during the same period and suspended all salary enhancements by one year. The preliminary resource envelope for FY 2023/24 has been adjusted upwards to Shs 50.871 trillion from Shs 47.328 trillion in FY 2022/23.

Asked when the new directive will be implemented, Matia Kasaija, minister of Finance referred our reporter to Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja, also the head of government business for more details but she did not answer our repeated calls.

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

The Parish Development Model (PDM) allocation of Shs 1.059 trillion maintained in the budget for FY 2023/24 is aimed at creating socio-economic transformation targeting 39 per cent 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, the government notably, proposed a Shs 48.13 trillion national budget. During the extended period of the Covid-19 lockdown, the government saved over Shs 100 billion on foreign trips such as trips for medical treatment, conferences, and consultations among others.

According to the Parliament’s committee on budget and national economy, during 2020/2021 the period spanning the Covid-19 pandemic, the government reserved Shs 167.4 billion in accumulated foreign travel expenses across all Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs).

Read Also:

Arithmetically, dividing the Shs 167.4 billion by 12 months of the year implies that on average, the government spends at least Shs 13.9 billion on foreign travel every month. During the year under review, the parliamentary commission program budget revealed that Shs 420 billion was allocated exclusively for MPs’ allowances and foreign travel up from Shs 400.7 billion in 2020/2021.

By the end of last year, with 426 legislators, parliament spent Shs 207 billion of the Shs 420 billion allocations by end of 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.