MPs Query UGX160bn Supplementary Budget for Presidential Initiative on Job and Wealth Creation

The Budget Committee members have raised concerns over the delayed distribution of the funds despite appropriation by parliament leading anxiety in the villages. While meeting Planning minister David Bahati the MPs also questioned the intent of government to allocate Shillings 50bn to Kampala during the campaign season.
Minister of State for Microfinance, Haruna Kasolo making remarks at the launch

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Members of the Budget committee of Parliament have raised a red flag over a supplementary request of an additional Shillings 160bn for the presidential initiative on Job and wealth creation.

The poverty alleviation initiative that has been dubbed ‘Emyooga’ targets Ugandans from 18 clusters including Boda boda riders, taxi drivers, restaurants, welders, market vendors and women entrepreneurs who form Saccos where each gets UGX30 million as seed capital.

The request for additional funds for Emyooga was tabled before the committee by the state minister for planning David Bahati on Monday as part of a UGX3.4tn supplementary budget request that he was providing justification for.

According to the supplementary request UGX50bn is to provide additional support to the Emyooga initiative in Kampala and Wakiso areas, while UGX110bn has already been distributed under the initiative in the rest of the country since it was part of the 3% of the supplementary budget that the government can spend without approval.

However the committee members led by the committee chairperson Amos Lugoloobi queried the validity of the latest allocation. Lugoloobi noted that the Saccos had been formed by the beneficiaries at the grassroots but no funds have ever been received by the groups even after release of the money, he wondered what kind of processes are being employed to distribute the funds.

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The Dokolo district woman MP Cecilia Ogwal rejected the idea of giving Kampala a lion’s share of the allocation and accused the minister of using the initiative to help neutralize the opposition support in the city especially given the huge support enjoyed by the National Unity Platform presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi.

She asked the minister why Kampala has to be given a special status from the rest of the country. Ogwal has also accused the government of using the Emyooga initiative as a ruse to collect signatures of citizens which she suspects have been used to support President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s nomination as a presidential candidate in the forthcoming general election.

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The Kumi county MP Charles Illukor also objected to the allocation noting that a statement on the floor of parliament by Haruna Kasolo the state minister for micro finance last month had indicated that the government already has Shillings 30bn to distribute and only requires an additional Shillings 36bn, he said the contradicting figures from government was very suspect.

However a perusal of the ministers statement by URN shows that the minister actually indicated that out of a total allocation of Shillings 210bn, a total of UGX 140bn has already been disbursed.

Following a heated exchange between MPs and the minister, the committee has resolved to retrieve the record of the Hansard and approve funds according to the actual record of the minister in the house.

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