Kampala, Uganda – Makerere University does not have funding for food and accommodation allowances for more than 10,000 government-sponsored students next academic year. The initial allocation of 3.35 billion Shillings was reportedly diverted, on the advice of the government, to cover other priority areas in the running of the university.
A report by the Finance, Planning, Administration and Investment Committee of the university council, shows that the re-allocations were in compliance with recommendations of the education and social services committee of Parliament for a diversion of funds towards unfunded priorities.
The report shows that the University received a communication dated June 18 2019, requiring management to adjust the 2019/2020 financial year budget in favour of a plan to procure equipment for the Dental school, which was facing pressure not to admit students under the prevalent conditions. Other unfunded priorities included the renovation of toilets in halls of residence and equipping the school library.
The university identified food and accommodation allowances as a lesser priority compared to the other unfunded areas. In the changes, 285 million Shillings was diverted from the allowances vote and allocated to the dental school. Another 1. 8 billion Shillings was allocated towards equipping the Library while 1.5 billion Shillings was allocated to the renovation of toilets in the halls of residence.
Makerere has a total of 10,091 government-sponsored students. Of these, 4,089 students, who reside outside the university premises, receive a Living out allowance at a rate of 432,750 per student per semester. The university spends approximately 7.19 billion shillings on student food and about 4.76 billion shillings on living out allowances making a total of 11.96 billion shillings on welfare for government students.
Although information corroborated by URN suggests a 3.36 billion Shillings cut and reallocation of the funds to the selected priority areas, the university’s 1st Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Academics Professor Umar Kakumba insisted that this money was not touched.
Pius Mbeera, the Makerere University Government Students Association (Mugosa) president said the student’s body was still unaware of the development.