By Ambrose Gahene
Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) and Civil Society Coalition on Oil (CSCO) on Monday criticized Government intention to amend the Public Finance Management Bill, in which Ministry of Finance is seeking to allow Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) to retain a portion of the proceeds from sale of petroleum.
CSBAG Executive Director, Julius Mukunda, while addressing a media conference at their head office in Ntinda, a Kampala suburb, said that all Government ministries, departments, and agencies that collect revenue are required by law to declare the funds through the Consolidated Fund, especially non-tax revenue.
“The Proposal for UNOC to spend money at source without approval by parliament is irrational and one form of corruption. We are advising Government to ensure UNOC gets authority from parliament to spend money at source”, said Mukunda. He said UNOC should have an approved budget by parliament, just as it’s the case with Uganda Revenue Authority (URA).
Patrick Katabazi, from Centre for Budget and Tax Policy, cautioned Government against turning oil revenues into “a curse”. He said: “oil should be a blessing that we have been waiting for but not a curse awaiting us”. He said crude oil for export should not be part of the petroleum business and that money from oil should be received through the consolidated fund like any other money for Government.
“All budgets of this country should be scrutinized by Parliament and we should not erode our Public Finance Management best practices”, he added. He called upon parliament to reject the amendment of the bill, which was laid before parliament on 27th September 2021, by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.