Parliament has rejected and re-allocated Shs200 billion budgeted to compensate Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) staff that will be affected by rationalisation. The funds have now been earmarked for debt repayment.

This decision came amidst deliberations led by Hon. Dan Atwijukire Kimosho, the Chairperson of the Committee on Physical Infrastructure, during the presentation of the Budget Estimates and Ministerial Policy Statement for the ministries of Works and Transport and Lands Housing and Urban Development on Friday, 12 April 2024.

According to Atwijukire, the Project 1616 Retooling of UNRA had increased by Shs207.67 billion from Shs7.029 billion in financial year 2023/2024 to Shs216.7 billion proposed for financial year 2024/2025 largely on account of UGX200 billion to cater for payment of terminal benefits for 1,560 staff as a result of rationalization and merger of UNRA.

The Committee noted that appropriating this resource would tantamount to legislating in anticipation, contrary to Parliament Rules of Procedure since the rationalisation of government agencies has not yet been concluded.

Ultimately, Parliament resolved to delay the allocation of the Shs200 billion until further deliberation. The committee therefore reallocated the funds to pay for debts of UNRA.

UNRA closed financial year 2022/2023 with a debt of Shs591.368 billion on the Government of Uganda financed projects. The committee noted that the arrears and limited financing distort efforts to successfully achieve National Development Plan (NDP) III outputs and to meet the development objectives.

Parliament earmarked funds for other crucial projects under Ministry of Works and Ministry of Lands, with Shs 2 billion allocated for public water transport safety awareness programs as immediate interventions.

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The Committee recommended that Shs176 billion proposed under the Local Governments as the road maintenance grant, be reallocated to the Uganda Road Fund (URF) budget and be used for road maintenance in the Local Governments in line with Parliament’s resolution.

In response to declining budgets for road maintenance, Parliament proposed allocating an additional Shs200 billion to the URF for financial year 2024/2025.

The Committee also noted with concern the need for the Ministry of Lands Housing and Urban Development to relocate and pave way for Parliamentary Commission to construct offices of Parliament. It recommended that Shs24 billion be allocated to cater for rent and Shs102 billion be provided in the short to medium term to the Ministry to cater for construction of a permanent home.

Hon. John Baptist Nambeshe, the Chief Opposition Whip, noted that given the constraint of resources, the Ministry should not think of building their own home but allow the Parliamentary Commission to demolish Development House and construct a complex that could even house the Ministry.

“That since this Ministry has sensitive information, they would occupy the lower floors of that complex. In the meantime they would go by the advice of the committee to accept in the medium to rent with the Shs24 billion as they get money to construct their home,” he said.

The Speaker, Anita Among, stated that government was in the process of constructing a one stop centre that will house all government ministries and departments.

The post Parliament Delays Allocation of Shs200 bn for UNRA Staff appeared first on Watchdog Uganda.

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