Parliament’s Finance Committee has tasked officials from Uganda
Development Bank (UDB) to account for the 455 Billion Shillings which was
appropriated to mitigate Covid-19 effects on businesses.
This was during a meeting between UDB officials led by the Deputy
Executive Director, Denis Ochieng and MPs. Ochieng told MPs that since August
2020, the Bank has only disbursed 202 billion Shillings by February 2021.
The 455 Billion Shillings was in August 2020 through a supplementary budget
approved by Parliament under UDB to help businesses that were affected by
Ochieng did not avail a list of beneficiaries and how much each received from
the stimulus package but noted that the bulk of the funds had gone to
agro-processing and industry.
However, this submission was not received well by MPs who noted that the 455 Billion
appropriated by parliament was meant to help keep companies that were
struggling afloat as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic occasioned
a lockdown that led to the closure of several businesses due to lack of income
while others stagnated.
Henry Musasizi, the Finance Committee Chairperson said that the key question
that they want to be answered is the particulars of the beneficiaries from the
stimulus package. He further demanded answers regarding how much the Bank spent
in saving schools.
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Following Musasizi’s statement, the UDB officials said that they had not
anticipated questions regarding the lists of beneficiaries to come up and they
sought more time to avail the information to the committee.
But Ochieng further revealed to the committee that after receiving the money, UDB
signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Finance,
Planning and Economic Development which gave them guidelines on how to spend
According to UDB, the guidelines required that the money be loaned out to
businesses that were to be involved in improving the production of essential
goods and services, and others working on import substitution.
Regarding schools struggling during the Covid-19 pandemic, Ochieng said that
UBD only deferred payment of loans by the schools. Musasizi then wondered
what the money approved by parliament did if the bank did not consider
supporting the schools with it at the time when they were closed.
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Musasizi blamed UDB for deviating from the purpose of the stimulus package. He directed
them to appear again on Wednesday next week with disbursement evidence.
Jane Pacuto Avur, the Pakwach Woman MP also said that the information availed
to them was not adequate to account for the 455 Billion Shillings.
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Charles Illukor, the Kumi County MP also shared the same sentiments saying that
UDB needed to come out clearly on how the money availed to them was spent and
whether it was in line with the initial purpose that it was intended for.