By MARTIN LUTHER OKETCH
Kampala. The Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Mr Matia Kasaija, yesterday said some government officers are “squandering” Budget money.
Mr Kasaija was speaking at the launch of the National Tree Planting on Bombo Road as part of activities to mark the Budget month ahead of the reading of the budget for 2019/20 Financial Year ( FY) at the weekend.
He said accounting officers must ensure budget money is used for its purpose.
“The budget money is being squandered by some accounting officers but there are some, who are not squandering the money,” Mr Kasaija said.
He said over the years, the government has engaged in activities aimed at promoting budget transparency through increased citizen interactions and engagements in budget issues.
“The budget is not Kasaija’s budget. I am using your money to spend on government programmes. So people should have a keen interest in how the money is spent,” he said.
The Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development has lined up various activities for the Budget Month before the budget reading on June 13, which includes a national exhibition by all institutions that get budget money to run particular programmes.
The minister said during the national exhibition at Kololo, Kampala, every institution that gets money from the government must showcase what they are doing with the budget money.
“I call upon all the institutions to come and exhibit how they have used the money that they received from the government. Whoever fails to do so will not receive any money and they will be asked to leave,” he said.
He added: “I also call upon the general public to come to Kololo and see for themselves what the government institutions are doing with the money and ask the exhibitors questions related to their performance.”
Mr Kasaija said natural resources, both renewable and non-renewable, and ecosystem services are part of real wealth for nations. He explained that the government is taking environmental issues seriously.
Mr Kasaija cited the prolonged drought in 2016/17 which diminished agricultural output and incomes of farmers and slowed down economic growth.
“As a government, we set a target to reverse the trend in environmental degradation and increase the percentage of land covered by vital ecosystems from the current 19.9 per cent to 24 per cent by 2022,” Kasaija said.
The Deputy Secretary to the Treasury, Mr Patrick Ocailap, said government plays an essential role in making policies that ensure resources contribute to economic development.