This is part of the money that is allocated to all entities; the law is very good, very strong but how to operationalize it is the challenge
The team made the remarks on Monday, January 17, 2022 when the Minister of State for Water and Environment, Hon Aisha Sekkindi and the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) team appeared before the Environment and Natural Resources Committee to Discuss your budget framework. Document for the year 2022/23.
Hon Paul Akamba, the Busiki County Parliamentarian questioned why the environmental tax is remitted to the Consolidated Fund, yet the law indicates that such money must be retained by the entity.
The environmental levy is applied to various items, such as old cars and machines, as a means of prohibiting pollution and destruction of the environment. In fiscal year 2020/2021, Shs 262 billion was collected in environmental taxes and non-tax revenues with an average of Shs 14 billion. Several parliamentarians, the Ministry of Public Works and NEMA officials expressed concern about the continued sending of money to the Consolidated Fund, even though it is supposed to help in the fight against environmental destruction.
“We have revenue raised by URA, and what NEMA raises but all of this goes to the Consolidated Fund. You are all part of the Government and you cannot make the Ministry of Finance ignore part of the levy law by administratively moving it to the Consolidated Fund, but it is supposed to be preserved,” he said.
He said the tax was intended to strengthen the government’s environmental response, but that purpose is not currently being served, including issues related to emissions and enforcement, among others.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Energy, Alfred Okot Okidi, says that the money does not return adequately to them because the same money is destined to finance environmental activities in the districts.
“This is part of the money that goes to all entities; the law is very good, very strong, but how to operationalize it is the challenge. What we negotiated in the last Parliament is whether we can obtain a percentage, because all this money goes to the Consolidated Fund”, he said.
Dr. Emmanuel Otala, chairman of the committee, said he will engage with the Ministry of Finance to ensure this matter is resolved.
“We already know the entity to reprimand, because this is in total contempt of the law; it is a violation of the constitution,” he said.
The Executive Director of the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA), Dr. Akankwasa Barirega, told the committee that sending the funds to the Consolidated Fund is a violation of the law since the constitution requires that money owed to a special fund established by Parliament are not part of the Consolidated Fund.
He says that it is sad that an administrative decision has been made to do away with what is in the constitution.
“The Ministry of Finance does not have a single excuse to argue that NEMA should send money to the Consolidated Fund. The Ministry of Finance administratively decided to remove the National Fund for the Environment; so as of 2019 it is not an operation, it goes directly to the Consolidated Fund,” he said.
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