Parliament has said allocating Shs 10bn from the COVID-19 supplementary money was inevitable for the legislative arm of Government to carry out its oversight role.
A statement released by the Parliament Public Relations Department on Thursday stated that in fulfillment of the constitutional mandate, money had to be apportioned.
“It is important to note, that the Constitution of Uganda, under Article 164(3) gives Parliament the mandate to oversee/monitor expenditure of all public funds. As such after the approval of the Supplementary of Ushs 304 billion, it was only automatic that oversight is provided because the large amount of funds are to be expended in a short span of time,” said part of the statement.
The statement noted that Parliament has established a technical taskforce on COVID-19 and already carrying out activities.
The Parliament Technical Task Force on Covid-19, has in the course of its work, visited and assessed the readiness of health facilities to manage Covid-19,” noted the statement.
Adding: “During the visits, it has assessed awareness levels of the district leadership and communities about Covid-19; interacted with different teams in the areas they have visited to sort out underlying issues which may affect managing health crises; assessed the impact of funds allocated to different districts to the needs on the ground, and assessed the readiness of health facilities to ably handle cases of other long standing and pre-existing health conditions which are not necessarily Covid-19”.
The Parliament Covid-19 Technical Taskforce is also expected to assess the state and welfare of the medical workers as they deliver the essential services and ensure that all medical workers across the country are catered for in as far as Personal Protective Equipment is concerned.
The Committee has already been to Busia, Malaba, Kabale, Ntungamo, Mbarara, Jinja and Tororo. The Committee is expected to give regular reports to Parliament about the assessment visits.
It stressed that MPs are under immense pressure to deliver and need to respond to issues raised in their constituencies before government reaches them, and is exactly what is happening with the Covid-19 pandemic. “The interventions being handled by Members of Parliament go way beyond the Ushs 20 million that has been deliberately misunderstood,” statement added.
The statement concluded that MPs have surrendered their ambulances to the Ministry of Health and they need to be fuelled and drivers facilitated.
“Lastly, about 200 Members of Parliament voluntarily offered their private ambulances, to be used by the Ministry of Health to transport patients and health workers to different health facilities around the country during the Covid-19 crisis.”