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MPs Divided over Proposed Funding to ISO

The funding gap has however triggered anxiety among legislators who argue that the Internal Security Organisation cannot execute its mandate under such circumstances. They say that such a casual approach to intelligence and security exposes the country to ill motives of terrorists groups.

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Parliament's budget committee is recommending provision of over 117 billion Shillings to the Internal Security Organisation - ISO to among others procure vehicles, communication equipment and land.

A report tabled by Committee Chairman Amos Lugoloobi also recommends the provision of 40 billion Shillings for the procurement of motor vehicles (22.25 billion Shillings) and motor cycles (17.8 billion Shillings) to enable the organization effectively execute its mandate.

This will cover procurement of 134 motor vehicles and 1,443 motorcycles. However, only 482 million Shillings is allocated in the budget for the procurement of motor vehicles, leading to a funding gap of 21.76 billion Shillings. No funding is allocated for the procurement of motorcycles.

The funding gap has however triggered anxiety among legislators who argue that the Internal Security Organisation cannot execute its mandate under such circumstances. They say that such a casual approach to intelligence and security exposes the country to ill motives of terrorists groups.

Meanwhile, the committee observes that that the current communication system used by ISO is unreliable and prone to exploitation by the adversary. The equipment is managed under MTN, a public service provider.  However, only 17 million Shillings has been provided in the budget framework paper for the procurement of communication equipment. The committee is recommending that the budget be adjusted to 73 billion Shillings.

"The committee observes with concern that the allocation of 17 billion Shillings against the desired amount of 73 billion is totally unrealistic. In addition, procurement and installation of the modern encrypted communication equipment is done as a unit and not in parts." reads part of the budget committee report.

However, the committee recommendations attracted mixed reactions from legislators with some indicating that it is not justifiable to have huge sums of money spent on a vote that is of speculative nature.

Busongora North MP William Nzonghu noted that most items in the security sector are under classified expenditure and it will not be possible to tell whether the money will be put to its use.

//Cue in: "so I am...

Cue out:...that money."//

Kasambya County MP, Gaffa Mbwatekamwa equally noted that spending money on procurement of vehicles in unrealistic when medical workers are poorly paid and hospitals are in poor state.

//Cue in: "am not...

Cue out:...styled up."//

However, Adjumani Woman MP Jessica Ababiku said that the role of security organizations is paramount in keeping peace within the country and to safe guard borders.

//Cue in: "and the situation...

Cue out:...example of Kasese."//

The committee also recommended funding of another 15 billion shillings to enable the External Security Organisation - ESO deploy in all Uganda's foreign missions and other countries of security interest as well as procure communication equip. Out of the 35 Uganda's foreign missions, ESO has deployments in only 18 countries.

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