Published by ACFIM on

Is Uganda’s National Budget a tool for financing partisan politics?

The Alliance for Finance Monitoring (ACFIM) routinely conducts an analytical study on the budget with the idea of identifying resources that are diverted into financing politics. ACFIM’s study on Uganda’s national budget for the Financial Year 2020/21 provides an analysis of the national budget and how expenditure in the votes(entities) of focus could have impacted the outcome of the 2021 General election in Uganda.

As the 2021 campaign period intensified, SecretsKnown recounts that there was increasing fear that the national budget, was used as a tool to finance partisan electoral activities. Primarily, through the abuse of supplementary spending.

The SecretKnown is that the pre-election and election year tends to register spikes in budget allocations and utilizations for sectors susceptible to electoral pressures as identified, Office of the President, Statehouse, Office of the Prime Minister, Electoral Commission and Parliamentary Commission. SecertsKnown has been able to point out the supplementary increments contributing significantly to the trend in the period under review.

In the FY 2020/2, UGX 6.055 trillion ($1.728 million) was spent as supplementary for the FY. Out of this total supplementary provision, non-wage recurrent accounted for UGX 4.364 trillion ($1.245 billion) (72%). The non-wage recurrent expenditure covers day to day operational costs of government. The total approved budget for these five votes increased by 32% on account of supplementary budgets.

Out of the total supplementary budget that was released in the FY 2020/21, 29% was accounted for by these votes. The Ministry of Defense had the highest budget of UGX 4.165 trillion ($1.189 billion) and the highest supplementary allocation of UGX 2.252 trillion ($642.9 million).

In regard to classified expenditure in the FY 2020/21, State House received UGX 791.98 billion ($226.108 million) of which UGX 546.347 billion ($155,980 million) was a classified expenditure. Under the office of the president, Internal Security Organization (ISO) Uganda government’s counterintelligence agency had the second-highest budget under the cost centers with UGX 73.951billion ($20.967 million). SecretsKnown observed that UGX 22.579 billion ($6.401 million) was classified (30.5%).

At the end of the FY 2020/21, the national budget had been reviewed from UGX 45.493 trillion ($12.898 billion) to UGX 51.625 trillion ($14.637 billion). This was representing a 13.47% budget increase on account of supplementary expenditure.

The State House had a total approved budget of UGX 410.247 billion ($117.124 million) in the FY 2020/21 but later revised to UGX 891.753 billion ($254.593 million). This was on account of a supplementary budget of UGX 481.713 billion (137.527 million). This supplementary was also tagged to the non-wage recurrent budget of statehouse.

State House Supplementary Budget FY 2020/21

Source: Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development

The current constitutional regime allows the executive to spend funds under supplementary budgets without seeking prior parliamentary approval. Initially, the Public Finance Management Act 2015, put in place sound legal safeguards to regulate supplementary budgets. However, this was later compromised by the amendments to the law with the justification that the constitution of the Republic of Uganda under Article 156 permitted a more relaxed process regarding supplementary expenditure.

SecretsKnown strongly recommends the building of constitutional safeguards against excessive supplementary spending. Article 156 of the constitution should be amended to promote prudent public finance management.


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1 Comment

Kimalyo Geoffrey Willigers · January 14, 2022 at 7:29 am

Effective, Efficient, Economical and Adaptive Public Administration and Management of National Resources and Fiscal Policy are essential tenets and infrastructures a liberal democracy!!

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