Parliament approved a supplementary budget of 1.087 trillion on COVID-19 response

Parliament has approved a supplementary budget of 1.087 trillion Shillings to facilitate the COVID-19 response by the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Trade and other government entities.

The approval followed a recommendation of the Budget Committee chaired by Amos Lugoloobi, in line with a request which was tabled before parliament on June 16 2020.

The Ministry of Health will use 89 billion Shillings of the total approval to fund requirements for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

This includes Procurement of facemasks budgeted at 33 billion Shillings as part of the response to control the spread of the pandemic as the country eases the lockdown.

The Ministry will also use 2.3 billion Shillings for transport and allowances for the distribution of face masks, 37 billion Shillings for the procurement of test kits and laboratory consumables, 6 billion Shillings for tents, 4 billion Shillings for support to Local Governments for District-based Surveillance activities in the 48 border districts and other districts with COVID-19 cases and 7.04 billion Shillings for re-modeling of Intensive Care Units.

Lugoloobi reported that the Ministry had already exhausted the 3 per cent statutory limit provided under the Public Finance Management Act.

However, this is the second supplementary budget to the Ministry after the initial allocation of 119 billion Shillings which was released after the first outbreak of the disease.

But this week the civil society organizations like Transparency International Uganda and Anti coalition Corruption teamed up to demand the various agencies and ministries to give thorough accountability of COVID 19 funds they have received since March this year.

Cissy Kagaba is a lawyer and the Executive Director of the Anti- Corruption Coalition Uganda demands that accountability should be shared with the locals as well not only the technocrats.

Kagaba adds locals have a right to know how these funds have been used and be sure whether what the funds benefited her.

 However some members of the budget committee Cecilia ogwal and Muwanga Kivumbi presented a minority report   opposing   the move to approve the money which will not be disbursed and utilized since its three days to the end of the financial year.

 However the chairperson of the budget committee Amos Lugolobi says approving the money late may not be a problem since it can be spent in the coming financial year.

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