The Ministry of Health revealed on Sunday that allowances for personnel on the frontline of fighting COVID-19 were stuck in Stanbic Bank.
Health workers have routinely cried out to the Ministry to release their emoluments including risk allowances.
The call was not made by frontline health workers but also Uganda Medical Association (UMA).
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, a total of 28 frontline health workers have contracted the disease.
While giving the nation accountability for funds given to the Ministry of Health to fight the pandemic, the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Dr Diana Atwine said that she was unaware that staff’s allowances were yet to be released by Stanbic Bank.
Atwine wondered why she kept approving money in the system but beneficiaries never received it.
“Today, I got to know that all these payments we have been making, about Shs 4 billion for allowances have been stuck in commercial Banks somewhere in Stanbic for a long time,” said Atwine.
“That’s why we kept on wondering why people are not getting their money we approve in the system. But I am told today when I said I am going to expose people, I heard that they have now worked on it. So all you people who have been waiting for your allowances and have not been paid, I have come with evidence here to show that I paid long time ago,” she emphasised.
“In the system, I approved but it was somewhere, I don’t know why. But I am glad today that the commercial Bank has acknowledged that it was their mistake,” said Atwine.
However, to the staff that provided wrong telephone numbers, Atwine said that the Ministry will not be able to pay any person whose line is not registered in their names.
“Because we are not sure whether we are paying the right people. We request those of you who are affected, who have not received your money and you know you gave a wrong phone number, we need a written explanation. We will not be able to pay anyone whose mobile number reads a different name from the person’s name we are paying. Sorry,” she said.
Meanwhile, Atwine also blasted social media reports that COVID-19 funds were stolen.
“I request that we desist from making inflammatory statements. They break us. We have families, we have children. How is it when I go home and my child asks, mummy I hear you stole COVID-19 money and you are building apartments, where are those apartments? It feels so bad, please spare us. We want to serve, we are committed but don’t demonize us like that,” said Atwine.