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Gov't Urgently Wants sh336 Billion to Buy Radios for Everybody :: Uganda Radionetwork

Gov't Urgently Wants sh336 Billion to Buy Radios for Everybody

David Bahati, the Minister of State for Planning presented the request to Parliament's Budget Committee on Tuesday afternoon The bulk of which is for purchasing radio sets for all households in the country
Parliament's Budget Committee Chairperson Amos Lugoloobi.

In a fresh supplementary budget request to parliament, government is seeking a total provision of Shillings 353.8 billion to purchase radios to all Uganda homesteads to support long distance learning and others.

David Bahati, the Minister of State for Planning presented the request to Parliament's Budget Committee on Tuesday afternoon saying that the Supplementary Schedule 3 for financial year 2020/2021 is urgent for consideration.

The request comes a few days after Parliament approved a Shillings 3.7 trillion Supplementary Schedules 1 and 2 on Tuesday, 20th October 2020. 

In his presentation to the committee, Bahati said that out of the required 353.8 billion shillings, 336.86 billion shillings is for purchase of 9 million Radios to all Uganda homesteads since it is one of the strategies to support long distance learning, given that schools are closed due to Covid-19 pandemic except for candidate classes.

Government also needs 6 billion shillings to cater for compensation of the Archdiocese of Kampala for land at Nsambya for construction of a modern convention centre. Bahati explained that this is to facilitate partial payment for acquisition of 20 acres of land owned by Kampala Archdiocese and occupied by Uganda Police Barracks at Nsambya. The land was valued at 64 billion and 1.2 billion has so far been paid.

Another 3 billion Shillings is required by the Ministry of Information, Communication, Technology and National Guidance for support to Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC). 

According to documents seen by Uganda Radio Network-URN, the funding will go towards preparation and participation in the 2021 General Election given that campaigns are going to be digital, support for Relevant local content development, programming and dissemination for broadcasting of International and National days, special presidential initiative and development projects, public press conferences, and for Covid-19 continuous awareness creation and sensitization broadcasting programs and education programmes.

The other funding totaling 5 billion is for Ministry of Finance to implement the Electronic Government Procurement System (E-GP) which commenced in July, 2020.

"It will support government to carry out complete public Procurement and disposal processes electronically. The benefits of the system are promotion of bidder participation and competitiveness, real time access to procurement information for planning, reduced cost of doing business, improved governance and accountability in public Procurement, effective oversight of PPDA through online monitoring and minimal human interaction reducing avenues for corruption," said Bahati.

Under the Office of the Prime Minister, government seeks  2 billion for funding of the Integrated Intelligence Computer System (IICS).

Bahati explained that the IICS is the output of a research that was funded from 2010 to 2014 under the Presidential Support to Scientists to study and find solutions to some of the challenges affecting service delivery in the Health Sector.

"It is a comprehensive end to end system handling patient life cycle as well as other critical administrative functions of the hospital namely; Human Resource (medical personnel) and Inventories. The system has been very successful and realized evident benefits namely; paperless experience, reduced absenteeism, efficiency in medical personnel while handling patients, improved patient experience, very significant reduction in pilferage and expiry of medicines among others," he said.

According to Bahati, the funding is needed for introduction of biometric in-patient registration and dispensing of medicine, improvement of patient experience, linking National Medical Stores systems and IICS systems and operational expenses including wage.

Also needed under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is 1 billion for establishment of an Embassy of Uganda in Angola for security and other bilateral relations.

"Angola is a Member of the International Conference on Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) that has been coordinating the fight against negative forces (ADF, M23, etc) in the region. Additionally, Angola has been a key mediator in the mending of relations between Uganda and Rwanda. Opening the Mission will deepen political, trade, educational and cultural relations between the two countries," reads the document before the Budget Committee.

The committee learned that the supplementary expenditure will be funded from additional borrowing of 6 trillion Shillings which is currently before Parliament's National Economy Committee and any additional revenue.

However, Amos Lugoloobi the Budget Committee Chairperson questioned the required funds for the Kampala Archdiocese saying that parliament had previously approved 12 billion shillings for the Church land. He directed the Minister to avail a valuation report in regard to the Church land as well as expenditure details of the money approved by parliament last financial year. 

Rubanda East MP Henry Musasizi also questioned how the 6 billion for the church land was arrived at since the total budget for the land is 64 billion shillings.

Bahati pledged to appear before the committee again with more details on the matter.

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