The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has expressed disappointment with government over failure to provide for the Aids Trust Fund in the financial year budget 2018/2019.
The Speaker expressed her disappointment while presiding over the launch of the report of the 1st Annual Presidential Fast Track Initiative on Ending HIV & Aids in Uganda.
Kadaga said that despite the Parliament deliberating and passing the fund, government has still not provided the required amount of money which was aimed at enabling Uganda to defeat Aids epidemic by 2030.
“I don’t understand the reluctance on the Aids Fund; why should I most of the time have to direct Ministry of Finance to release the funds? This was the same case with SAGE funds and I had to embarrass the Minister last time,” Kadaga said.
Parliament in 2014 passed a law which provided for the fund to generate money locally to finance campaigns to fight HIV/AIDS.
In the budget appropriation of the ministry of health, Shs 10bn was proposed to start the Aids trust Fund in 2018/19 in addition to existing budgetary allocation for the HIV interventions but this hasn’t been provided for by the Ministry of Finance.
“In case by the end of the financial year the fund is not released, I will still have to direct because we need the fund in place,” Kadaga noted.
The Speaker thus commissioned the Members of Parliament to be active agents in the fight against the virus within their areas.
“Go to radios and TV stations, let’s do whatever more we can to reduce the prevalence; the Parliament pledges to work with you to ensure that our country is free from Aids,” Kadaga added.
The Director General Uganda Aids Commission, Nelson Musoba said that the delay in realizing the fund is affecting the Presidential First Track Initiative campaign and yet the Aids epidemic is still a burden in Uganda.
According to data from Uganda Aids Commission, new infections have reduced from 135,000 in 2010 to 46,000 in 2017. HIV infections among children dropped from 26,000 in 2010 to 4000 by the end of 2016 and an estimated 1.32m people are currently living with HIV.