By Francis Lubega
The Parliamentary Trade Committee has threatened to block the approval of the 2017/18 National Budget after the Finance Ministry failed to appear before it to defend the budget of Ministry of Trade, Industries and Cooperatives.
The committee members got annoyed and opted not to move and propose the budget hence warned not to approve it should the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development continue to defy them.
According to the committee, the trade, industries and cooperatives’ budget for the financial year 2017/18 is estimated at 108 billion shillings but needs to be defended by the Finance Ministry.
Speaking to some of the members on the committee, Robert Centenary Bwambale who is the MP Kasese Municipality said that this is the third time ministry of Finance being summoned and undermines the committee powers.
However, the Trade Minister Amelia Kyambadde appealed to the committee to hold the decision as they pursue ministry of Finance to respond to the summons than blocking the entire National budget which might paralyze the economy.
Meanwhile, Legislators on the budget committee of parliament disagreed with their Chairperson Amos Lugolobi on the approval of a request by the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) to divert more than 212 billion Shillings which was not utilized in the ending financial year 2016/2017 to other projects.
The lawmakers such as Kyankwanzi woman MP Anna Maria Nankabirwa and West Budama North Richard Othieno described the request as irresponsible spending accusing UNRA executive director Allen Kagina for failure to utilize the funds yet other sectors are being suppressed.