Government has tabled a supplementary budget worth 3.426 trillion shillings before the budget committee for the financial year 2020/21.
Which include 254 billion shillings for the construction of a road in Democratic republic of Congo.
The MPs raised the objections on the proposed expenditure while interfacing with the State minister in charge of planning David Bahati who had appeared before the committee to provide justification for a supplementary budget totaling to 3.4 trillion shillings.
200bn shillings s is earmarked for Uganda’s contribution to construction of 223km of roads in the DRC following a bilateral agreement between Uganda and the DRC to implement strategic infrastructure projects.
This amount is Uganda’s contribution of 20% of the roads project.
The inclusion of this road fund for the DRC road caused storm among the committee members who included Dokolo District Woman MP Cecilia Ogwal ,Ntenjeru north mp Amos Lugolobi ,west Budama north mp Richard Okoth Othieno questioned how the government prioritized roads in DRC when many of the local and national roads are in poor state.
Dokolo District Woman MP Cecilia Ogwal wandered how the government chose to fund roads in DRC and neglects impassable roads in northern.
She that despite the economic value of the roads in the DRC all the outstanding urgent roads in Uganda need to be fixed before embarking on the regional infrastructural project.
She threatened to block this supplementary request on construction of DRC road when its taken to the committee of the whole house.
She was supported by the West Budama North MP Richard Othieno who also expressed his frustration at the works minister for abandoning his commitment to interconnectivity roads in the country and was instead seeking funds for roads in the DRC.
Bahati defended the project by insisting that the regional interconnectivity projects also need to be prioritized since they promote trade, security and cooperation.
He said the project was a resolution of a bi-lateral agreement between the two presidents – Felix Tshisekedi of the DRC and Yoweri Museveni and a sign of warm relations between the countries.
The committee chairperson Amos Lugoloobi accused Bahati of suppressing funds that had been approved for local roads in order to fund the project he stated that the roads at the districts are not being funded and all the equipment is lying idle.
Bahati refuted this allegation by proving that the Uganda National Roads Authority had received 25% of its funding amounting to 600 billion shillings in the first quarter of the financial year and in the second quarter the interconnectivity roads are going to be funded with Shillings 30bn being released this week.
The minister for works General Edward Katumba pleaded with the committee to consider the project as a game changer in terms of trade and security he said he was handing over to the committee for consideration the draft inter-governmental agreement and the draft project development agreement which are yet to be signed pending approval of funds by parliament.
The committee members also questioned the constituent supplementary requests regarding the state house classified expenditure in the tabled budget indicating that state house needs 150 billion shilling for classified expenditure.
The committee also queried the proposed paying of 45.6 billion shillings on behalf of UTL to service part of the loan secured from Trade and Development Bank