Friday, May 24News That Matters

Shocking: A Brief Look At The COVID-19 Supplementary Budget

By Elite Reporter

The recently passed COVID-19 supplementary budget, which saw Members of Parliament and several other government officials pocket each millions of shillings to help them in the fight against Coronavirus, has become a matter of national controversy.

Several experts and common Ugandans have questioned the supplementary budget after failing to see how it can be justifiable especially during this time when several people are starving as a result of the COVID-19 Lockdown.

Although a few Ugandans have the whole picture about the contentious Supplementary budget, Prossie OweBuddu. a popular blogger, has done us justice by simplifying the supplementary budget allocations. See for yourselves how people make money….

I spent all morning going through the COVID-19 Supplementary Budget Schedule and the Report of the Budget Committee. I will share my thoughts so that you understand how this government and its employees misuse your money and hopefully that will make you realise that no one cares about you in this country.

1. The COVID Supplementary Budget presented on 31st March amounted to UGX 284BN! Please note that in March alone, the government had presented three different supplementary budgets. The first one presented on 3rd March 2020 was a request for UGX 662.337BN. Then on 19th March, the government requested for another UGX 749.82BN of which 90BN was for State House, 6.98BN for Office of Prime Minister and UGX 4.075BN for Bamugemereirwe Commission (I am not sure why they need any more money considering that their impact has been negligible and they keep incurring more and more expenditures). So in one month of March alone, the government has obtained over a Trillion in just supplementary budgets.

PS: Expenditures over 3% of the approved budget legal limit always require Parliamentary approval.

2. Back to the COVID budget, this money would come from a loan of 600 Million Euro that the government borrowed from the EU.

3. The Ministry of Health requested for UGX 82,562,065,127BN for COVID. The Committee instead decided to give them more and hence they will be getting UGX 104,188,234,110! Out of this, Ministry is paying UGX 3.2BN to hotels where they are quarantining people. No wonder they are holding people by force even after 24 days of quarantine! Food for COVID suspects is to cost UGX 3.364BN but then there is also another budget line called “welfare and food for quarantined individuals in other institutions” which is another UGX 2BN! So in short, feeding Uganda’s current 55 patients and any more that come up will cost UGX 3.364 and those in isolation and quarantine (not yet sick) is another UGX 2BN. Over 5bn on food! Hehehehe. Teaching case workers to manage COVID patients is another UGX 1.5BN. Transport alone is UGX 5BN! I could go on and on about the funny items under here but I guess you get the picture.

4. Security sector asked for UGX 81.4BN for surveillance, case detection, case management (not sure why security is doing work of Health) and enforcement. They will get UGX 77.5BN.

5. Local government which includes your RDCs asked for UGX 36.2BN. RDCs wanted UGX 7.5BN for fuel, UGX 4.8 for 20 isolation centers per district (this was so funny considering that people are actually being centrally isolated under Ministry of Health and we definitely dont need 20 per district), UGX 1.3BN for surveillance teams (please note that as at this point of my analysis, Health and Security above have also got money for this same item), UGX 2BN for coordination by DHOs and another UGX 50M per district for operations. The Committee decided that this money will be sent to State House who will then disburse. Hehehe.

6. Disaster preparedness aka abakawunga nebinjanjalo asked for UGX 59.4BN. They got their money so hopefully the posho and beans reach you soon.

7. KCCA would not be left out so they also asked for UGX 30.18BN. They need UGX 1.5BN to enforce directives (which security also got money for), UGX 4.18BN for preparedness and coordination (which disaster and preparedness already got money for), UGX 17BN for response and case management (which Ministry of Health already got money for),UGX 3.3BN for water and sanitation (in a city that is under lockdown and where people pay for their own water and sanitation is an everyday duty of KCCA that should already have been provided for). Thankfully the Committee only gave them UGX 2BN!

8. My lovely people at ICT who had requested for UGX 14.72Bn which included UGX 50M just to record studio messages for COVID, 300M to print COVID messages, 300M for call center and payment of staff, UGX 3BN for billboards and UGX 10BN for TV and radio will only get UGX 6Bn. Atleast our extra UGX 7BN lives to see another day, or another thief!

All I see in the Supplementary Budget is everyone fighting to do the work of the Ministry of Health!

9. The Budget Committee Report was not signed by some members who instead decided to author their dissenting report aka minority report. This Report highlights a few interesting facts:

a. Uganda only has 48,231 beds across all health facilities countrywide although it would need 166,800 beds.

b. 39 districts in Uganda do not have a hospital at all. These include Kalangala, Mitoma, Lwengo, Buvuma, Namayingo.

c. There are only 55 functional ICUs in the country and each ICU costs about UGX 280M to set up.

d. There are only 484 ambulances in the entire country of which only 411 are functional and the government only owns 181 ambulances.

e. Although it is Health Ministry at the forefront, security was allocated 29% of the Schedule hence putting it at the forefront of the fight. In short, LDUs beating you is more important than Ministry fighting the disease. Health only got 22% of the allocation, KCCA 11%, Disaster 21% and ICT 5%.

f. The Minority report hence decided that all the supplementary budget be allocated to Health!

I hope this analysis wakes you up to the reality that in this country, God is for us all but money is for a selected few. I hope you remember this fact when we get to the 2021 elections. I hope you remember this when you see people buying new houses, marrying additional wives, buying new monster rides etc. Save this and remember to hold your leaders accountable!

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