KAMPALA, Uganda – Parliament has approved Shs 284 billion to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
Approved under Addendum 2, of the Supplementary Expenditure Schedule No. 2 for Financial Year 2019/2020, the Shs 284 billion will be used by the Health, Security and Local Government sectors, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness and Refugees.
The report on the supplementary expenditure for approval by the House was presented by the Chairperson of the Budget Committee, Amos Lugoloobi, during plenary sitting on Tuesday, 07 April 2020 presided over by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga.
Broken down, the security sector will receive Shs 77.4 billion; Shs 36.1 billion for Local Governments; Shs 59.4 billion for disaster response and Shs 2 billion to KCCA. The balance will be used by the health ministry.
Lugoloobi told the House, that the Budget Committee reviewed the supplementary estimates to the approved 2019/2020 budget presented by the finance minister that needed urgent approval owing to the COVID-19 situation in the country.
“The committee has recommended that the health sector budget for financial year 2019/2020 be enhanced to Shs 104 billion to facilitate the recurrent budget, development budget and allocations for COVID-l9 response by the health ministry,” Lugoloobi said.
Also approved under Addendum 1, was Shs 648.7 billon to support the Central Government votes to cater for recurrent, development and statutory expenditures.
“In considering the schedules, the committee resolved to differ consideration of Schedule 2 as this would involve consulting many entities, many of which are presently not operational because of COVID -19. The committee, therefore, agreed to process addenda 1 and 2 as matters that needed urgent attention,” he added.
Lugolobi revealed that the committee held consultative meetings with the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Ministry of Health and Ministry of ICT and National Guidance.
“Other items that require prior approval of Parliament include money to cater for shortfalls in several votes under Missions Abroad of Shs12.8 billion, several votes under Local Governments of Shs 2.5 billion and wage shortfalls for various votes of Shs 201 billion,” Lugoloobi added.
The finance minister also requested for Parliamentary approval of supplementary development expenditure requests by Vote under Addendum 1 of additional Shs 400 billion to cater for procurement of classified defence equipment.
Additional funds to cater for winding up of the Uganda Clean Cooking Supply Chain Energy Expansion Project under the finance ministry amounting to Shs 3.07 billon; and Shs 30.5 billon to cater for external financing for the East African Public Health Laboratory Networking Project and Uganda Reproductive, Maternal Child Health Services Improvement Project were also requested.
The committee recommended that the budget for scaling up of awareness campaigns on COVID-19 prevention by the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance, be reduced from Shs14.7 billion to Shs 6 billion; with the balance transferred to the Health Sector.
A minority report presented to the House by Ntungamo Municipality MP, Gerald Karuhanga dissented with majority of the committee regarding inadequate planning for the COVID-19 pandemic, escalating classified expenditures and irregular subsidies for Fine Spinners and Nyanza Textiles.