The Ministry of Finance is set to borrow a sum of 600m Euros (Shs2.46tn) to fund the 2019/2020 budget shortfall as well as funding the forthcoming general elections in the country.
This was revealed by the Finance Ministry Director for Budget, Kenneth Mugambe who was appearing before the committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.
Mugambe had appeared before the committee to respond to the concerns raised by Electoral Commission (EC) to the effect that the EC is short of funds to organise the general elections.
The Electoral Commission Chairperson, Justice Simon Byabakama told the committee that the Commission urgently needs a sum of Shs 518.78bn to fully finance the forthcoming general elections.
Byabakama said the money will be used to printing of ballot papers , dispatch polling kits, welfare of polling day officials, field supervision of polling activities, payment of polling day officials during the Presidential, Parliamentary and local government elections which are all unfunded priorities.
Byabakama said failure by government to provide money for the electoral activities will likely impact on the electoral process as this will affect the smooth conduct of elections.
“The Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) indicates provision for 2020/2021, is Shs 222.8bn out of the required Shs 357bn hence there is a budget default Shs 134.2bn therefore the total budget shortfall for the general elections road map amounts to Shs 232.68bn if this shortfall is not addressed, it may adversely affect the smooth conduct of elections,” Byabakama said recently.
Responding to the need to Finance election activities, Mugambe said that the government is concerned about urgency of the matter and is doing all that is possible to make sure funding is availed.
“We are facing revenue shortfall and that is why we are before the committee on National Economy seeking for approval to borrow a tune of 600m Euros. Some of the money will be used to finance the Electoral Commission supplementary request,” Mugambe said.
Commenting on the matter, Bugweri County MP, Abdu Katuntu said that it sounds so odd that a sovereign state would go ahead to borrow money to fund its general elections.
“So we are borrowing for purpose of elections, is it correct as a sovereign government, why can’t we reorganise our priorities so that we can finance elections!” Katuntu said.
The Minister Bahati who had arrived for the committee proceedings clarified that the money being borrowed will not only finance the Electoral Commission supplementary request but will offer budget support including everything in the budget.
Bahati allied the fears of Ugandans that they should remain calm and rest assured that the general elections shall take place as planned.
“We commit as government that we shall do all that it takes to ensure that elections will be carried out as planned and we shall provide the funding as and when it is required according to the roadmap,” Bahati said.