Ugandan Leader Orders Parliament to Reconsider Proposed Budget

(Bloomberg) -- Ugandan lawmakers will reconsider the nation’s 2024-25 spending plan after President Yoweri Museveni declined to sign it into law.

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The move is a rare one for Museveni, who usually assents to budget legislation without asking parliament for a review. The leader directed parliament to reassess 750 billion shillings ($202 million) of “irrational” allocations for items including local-government and health ministry development budgets and rent payments by the justice ministry, the Kampala-based Daily Monitor newspaper reported.

Lawmakers will discuss the spending plan on Tuesday, according to parliament’s website.

Museveni’s decision coincides with deadly demonstrations in neighboring Kenya against budget measures proposed by President William Ruto. Last week, at least 24 people died in Kenya, most of them in a confrontation between the security forces and anti-government activists protesting over new taxes and calling for a crackdown on government wastage and corruption to save money.

The Ugandan president has recently voiced criticism of widespread state corruption in his own country, most recently on June 28, when he urged public servants to eradicate graft. Last month, the Ugandan police arrested at least five legislators for alleged corruption.

Agora Discourse, a Ugandan civil society group, has called for anti-corruption protests in Kampala on Tuesday to coincide with the parliament session.

In its spending plan for the budget year that began on Monday, Uganda forecast a budget deficit equivalent to 5.7% of gross domestic product. That’s wider than the 4.5% estimated for the fiscal year that’s just ended and will be plugged using domestic loans. Uganda lost access to new World Bank budget support after passing draconian legislation outlawing homosexuality.

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