Hon Paul Akamba (Busiki County MP) questioned why environmental levy was remitted the Consolidated Fund, when the law clearly states that such money should remain with the entity.
As a way to prevent the destruction and pollution of the environment, the environment levy is applied to various items such as old cars and machines. In the fiscal year 2020/2021 Shs262 billion was collected from environmental levy. Non-tax revenue averaged Shs14 trillion. NEMA officials, the Ministry of Works, and MPs expressed concern at the continued remittance of money to the Consolidated Fund. However, it is supposed to aid in the fight against environmental destruction.
Sheema Municipality MP Hon Dickson Kateshumbwa cited the Environmental Act to say that NEMA should retain the revenues.
“We have revenue collected by URA, and that which NEMA collects but all this goes to the Consolidated Fund. You are all part of Government and you cannot have Ministry of Finance disregard part of the law on levy by administratively moving it to the Consolidated Fund yet it is supposed to be retained,” he said.
He stated that the levy was intended to strengthen the Government’s environmental response, but that purpose is not being fulfilled at the moment, including issues relating to emissions and enforcement.
Alfred Okot Okidi (Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Energy) says that the money does not return adequately to them because it is intended to fund environmental activities within the districts.
Hon Fredrick Angura, Tororo County MP, stated that the levy was created with an eye to environmental management. However, this has proven to be one source of revenue for the Consolidated Fund.
“This is part of the money which is appropriated to all the entities; the law is very good, very strong but how to operationalise, is the challenge. What we negotiated in the last Parliament, is can we get a percentage, because all this money is going to the Consolidated Fund,” he said.
Dr. Emmanuel Otala, chairperson of the committee, stated that they will be contacting the Ministry of Finance in order to resolve this matter.
“We now know the entity to put to task, because this is in total disregard of the law; it is a breach of the constitution,” he said.
Dr. Akankwasa Barrirega, the Executive Director of National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA), told the committee that sending funds to the Consolidated Fund was a violation of the law. The constitution requires that money from a special fund established in Parliament cannot be included in the Consolidated Fund.
He stated that it is regrettable that an administrative decision was taken to take away what is in a constitution.
“The Ministry of Finance has no single excuse to argue that NEMA should remit money to the Consolidated Fund. Ministry of Finance Administratively decided to take away the National Environment Fund; so from 2019, it is not an operation, it goes straight to the Consolidated Fund,” he said.
Distributed by APO Group for Parliament of the Republic of Uganda
© Press Release 2021