The Opposition in Parliament is adopting a new approach to the national budget, by moving away from the old practice of responding to the government’s propositions, to developing a completely different alternative of the national budget.
Addressing members of the Shadow Cabinet at the opening of a 3-day retreat at Imperial Golf View Hotel in Entebbe, the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament (LOP) Mathias Mpuuga explained that the new approach is in line with their mandate to keep the government in check.
“It is our duty to deeply study the prepositions of the government and put some level of imagination and produce alternatives. The mandate is to produce alternatives but not to support, not to clarify and not in any way recommend or patch up government policies,” Mpuuga said.
“We are not supposed to clean up their mess… our job is to offer citizens a cleaner and better alternative,” he added.
This new approach, Mpuuga said, was conceived after realising that the government mostly presents to Parliament recycled budget proposals.
“We remember the embarrassment Parliament suffered last Financial Year when ministers presented the same documents from the previous year, with the only change being the financial year. The rest was the same including the preamble,” Mpuuga said.
“In other jurisdictions, that would be a scandal of great magnitude but because we have allowed to be used to shame, they got away with this murder of sorts,” he added.
He invited his ministers to appreciate their oversight role under the new programme based planning and budgeting which was developed under the 3rd National Development Programme (NDP III).
During the retreat, the Shadow Cabinet is going to generate priorities for the next financial year which will form the Opposition’s proposals in the alternative national budget to be unveiled to the country in April.
Report by: Kamulegeya Achileo K