The CSOs argue that even after suffering the locust invasion, severe floods, landslides and an on-going global pandemic that has killed over 300 Ugandans, the government has in the 2021/2022 Budget Framework paper not allocated any funds to address emergencies that might emerge.
Civil Society Organizations have asked the government to allocate
money to the Contingency Fund in the 2021/2022 financial budget.
The organizations that include; the Civil Society Budget
Advocacy Group (CSBAG), Oxfam, Institute for Social and Economic Rights(ISER),
Food Rights Alliance (FRA), and the Southern and Eastern Africa Trade
Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI) say government seems to have
learnt nothing from 2020.
They argue that even after suffering the locust invasion, severe
floods, landslides and an on-going global pandemic that has killed over 300
Ugandans, the government has in the 2021/2022 Budget Framework paper not
allocated any funds to address emergencies that might emerge.
According to 2015, Public Finance and Management Act, the government
is mandated to set aside 3.5 percent of the appropriated annual budget of the
previous financial year as part of the contingency fund.
As such, in the 2019/2020 national budget, 1.4 trillion shillings should
have been allocated to the contingency fund and in the 2020/2021 government
should have set aside 1.5 trillion shillings.
Julius Mukunda, the Executive Director of CSBAG says that it seems
even after being hit by floods, a locust invasion and the COVID-19 pandemic, the
government has not allocated any funds to the Contingencies Funds as
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The Contingencies Fund Act,1962 provides for the establishment of a fund that
will be used to meet the expenditures of urgent and unforeseen matters that
have not been budgeted for.
Instead of relying on the Contingencies Fund, the government resorted to
passing supplementary budgets. In June 2020 parliament passed a supplementary
budget where 1 Trillion Shillings was allocated to handle COVID-19
interventions. The funds were supposed to cater to the procurement of facial
masks, test kits, laboratory consumables, personal protective equipment (PPE)
and also recruit more health workers.
Mukunda says the government cannot rely on supplementary budgets
to always handle emergencies. He says the habit of not planning gives room for
abuse of the supplementary budgets.
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Dr Diana Atwine, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health
says that the government needs to plan for unseen events like COVID-19. She
says more money needs to be allocated to the contingency funds.
“In light of what happened last year where the entire world was affected by a
pandemic that did not advertise itself before it struck, I think the government
needs to plan better for emergencies,” Dr Atwine said.
According to Atwine, they have made their concerns regarding emergency funding
to the ministry of finance and hope they shall be considered.