By Elite Reporter
The amount of money that the government of Uganda is using to fight locusts which invaded the country on Sunday has already started raising eyebrows on how it is being spent, by whom, on who and on what.
It should be noted that the government recently released Shs15Bn to help the ministry fight the locust invasion.
However, economic analysts reveal that this is the so far the highest amount of money to be released by government in response of a natural catastrophe.
It is actually more than the money that was released by government to fight Ebola outbreak or during the rescue of several people who were affected by the mudslides in Buduuda and Bulambuli districts in the recent past.
Although the Office of the Prime Minister is yet to release the official expenditure budget for the fight against locusts, some shrewd fellows have laid down a purported breakdown of the budget to combat locusts as follows;
Procurement of Spraying Chemical at Shs4Bn
Out of Pocket for UPDF Personnel Shs1.2Bn
Hire of Drone Shs2.3Bn
Hire of Planes from Kenya Shs2.5Bn
Facilitation for Pilots Shs970m
Procurement of stones for scaring away locusts Shs100m
Procurement of Drums from Masai Shs300m
Hiring stone throwers Shs2.250m
Per Diem for Staff from Kampala Shs780m
Facilitation for Media Team Shs460M
Radio Talkshows in Local Radio Shs700m
Fuel For Local Government Leaders Shs700m
Sub Total is Shs20,160,000,000.
However, apart from the Office of the Prime Minister remaining tight-lipped about the budget, we have also learnt that although the money was released, many Local Defence Unit (LDU) and Uganda Peoples Forces (UPDF) soldiers who were deployed to fight and or chase the locusts are complaining of not being paid.
“Alo man, we are working day and night as they promise us that the money is coming but we are not seeing it,” said an operative with the LDU who preferred anonymity.
He added that “If the situation continues, we shall have to choose between chasing after the money or the locusts.”
Besides that, the drones, planes and pilots that were purportedly to be hired from Kenya have not been seen to do the work for which they were meant to be hired. Instead of seeing planes carrying out aerial sprays UPDF soldiers are blowing whistles to chase away the locusts, while LDUs were armed with hand pumps to spray the pests.
It is because of the above and many other issues surrounding the fight against locusts and the way concerned government officials are spending the money released by government that pundits have started punching holes in #Operation Fight Locusts.
Watch this space for details.
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