Published by Patra K on

STATE HOUSE: What a Costly House for the Ugandan Taxpayer to Maintain!

Photo Courtesy of Independent Magazine

The recent supplementary budget approved by Parliament in October 2020, allocated to State House an additional classified expenditure of UGX 450 billion($122million). This is in addition to the UGX 410 billion ($110 million) that it was allocated in in the national budget for Financial Year 2020-2021. Thus, a total of UGX 860 billion ($232 million) has been allocated to State House. The budget for Office of the President (vote 001) remained at UGX 410 billion ($110 million).

State House is the official residence(s) of the President of Uganda. The main State House is situated at Entebbe while the second one is at Nakasero in Kampala. This house is where the President, his spouse, children and immediate family reside. All official work pertaining to the president is supposedly done in the President’s office.
In view of the fact that the official work place for the person elected as president, is Office of the President, one would expect it to be allocated more funds than the residence (State House). Paradoxically, the reverse is true for Uganda. State House has for financial year 2020-2021, been allocated twice as much as the Office of the President, and much of it is non-wage expenditure.

Non-wage expenditure refers to the funds that are spent on allowances of all sorts. This begs many questions. Could the fact that since 2020-2021 is also the election year, it has something to do with this paradox? What are those unending needs that the president, his wife and family have that call for much more funding than the official working place? Why would it impose such a burden onto the Ugandan tax payer?

The answers to the above questions can be found by interrogating the fact that much of the spending incurred in State House is classified. Classified expenditures are not subjected to rigorous public scrutiny. It is the money that facilitates the donations the president makes to different groups of citizens.
Whereas classified spending allows governments all over the world to exercise financial control, boost economic growth, and achieve price stability, in the case of Uganda, this often goes into financing politics including ensuring that “voters” are happy.

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