The minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development Matia Kasaija has said he will not apologise to both Parliament and the entire nation for reading wrong figures in the 2020/2021 national budget.
Last week, the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, directed Kasaija, to explain discrepancies contained in his Budget speech read at the beginning of this month.
“The Minister is required to come here tomorrow to explain the variances between the Appropriation Bill we passed here and the speech he made on the budget day,” said Kadaga adding that “We also want to know if the President assented to this Appropriation Bill, where did these figures come from?”
Kadaga further ordered Kasaija to apologise to parliament and the nation at large for taking them for ride.
The directive followed a complaint raised by the Chairperson of Parliament’s Budget Committee, Amos Lugoolobi, who cited figures mentioned by Kasaija on Thursday 11 June 2020 that differ from those within the approved budget.
Lugoloobi said that whereas Parliament appropriated Shs400 billion for payment of arrears owed by government to private sector firms, the minister mentioned Shs673 billion in his address.
However, Kasaija said on Monday that he is not going to apologise to anyone since he was doing his job of lobbying for the country as a minister of Finance.
“This is just a blackmail I had already sent this motion two days earlier in the Parliament before the reading of the budget, why didn’t they seat and discuss about it. Let them do what they want, I will not apologise because I spoke the truth that before reading the budget I got some amount of money from donors which I added on the figures. It beats my understanding whether they wanted me to keep that money yet we could add it on the budget,” the Minister said.
He added that in his first reading of the budget he informed both the nation and the House that there would be many changes due to the current situation of Covid-19 and some figures could change.
“Instead of asking me to apologise, Parliament together with Ugandans, would have thanked me, for lobbying for the country. I’m totally disappointed with Ugandans for their ungrateful heart, most people don’t know the hustle we pass through to see that we get this money,”
Kasaija further said that Parliament has always tarnished his name by portraying him as a thief.
“ Last time they said I was among those who stole the Shs720m of Bank of Uganda, yet I had never seen any money, I’m very angry and I don’t want to hear anyone asking me to apologise,” he said.
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