Parliament secretly allocated Shs 10bn, from the COVID-19 supplementary budget, to facilitate Members of Parliament in the committees established by the House to join national activities in the fight against the pandemic.
ChimpReports has exclusively learned that Shs 5bn was deducted from the Ministry of Health’s supplementary allocation of Shs 104bn and Shs 5bn from other sectors to realize the Shs 10bn to meet Parliament needs.
“The Committees under Parliament, carrying equally important roles in combating Coronavirus, also needed funds to function and the needful had to be done,” said a source.
Parliament’s allocation of funds to its own members, especially at a time everyone is required to remain home, will raise eyebrows.
Parliament has since established half a dozen committees, saying these would complement the COVID-19 National Taskforce in the fight against the deadly disease.
The House has also given a fleet of vans, minibuses and drivers to transport health workers and other Health Ministry essential staff during the pandemic fight period.
However, the MPs’ role in fighting the pandemic remains unclear.
When contacted on phone, Hellen Kaweesa, the Parliament’s acting Spokesperson, confirmed the development saying the allocation is necessary.
“It is true Shs 10bn has been set aside to facilitate Parliament COVID-19 Taskforce,” said Kaweesa.
“There are Committees including our Health committee traversing the country on the preparedness to handle the disease and others like on borders, food distribution oversight and also members on National Taskforce,” she added.
Nevertheless, the Parliament’s decision to cut Health Ministry’s budget could undermine the work of medical officials in combating the novel virus.
Uganda has since registered 54 cases of Coronavirus.
A lockdown and night curfew remain in place to prevent further spread of the virus.
This website established that the Budget Committee report on the supplementary sent to media was an old report before it was revised in the afternoon of April 7 2020. Parliament passed the COVID-19 supplementary on Tuesday April 7 2020. Before the passing of the supplementary, a lengthy Commission meeting was held at the Speaker’s boardroom.
The Commission meeting (Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Leader of Government Business, Leader of Opposition, Finance Minister and four backbench commissioners) was also attended by the Budget Committee Chairman, Amos Lugolobi.
The supplementary was later uncharacteristically passed without debate and the minority (opposing) report was rubbished.
The other beneficiaries of the COVID-19 supplementary budget are Ministry of Health, Security (UPDF, Police, Prisons, ESO, ISO and Immigration), Kampala Capital City Authority and ministries of ICT and Disaster.