In his statement, Bahati said Shillings 336.86 billion is meant for the purchase of 9 million radio set receivers for all Uganda homesteads as one of the strategies of supporting long-distance learning given the fact that schools are closed due to CooVID-19 pandemic.
The Budget Committee of parliament have
queried the government’s proposal to spend Shillings 336.8 billion to purchase
radio sets for all homesteads in the country.
The money is part of the bigger supplementary budget request
worth Shillings 353.8 billion presented to the Committee by the Planning State
Minister, David Bahati on Tuesday afternoon.
In his statement, Bahati said
Shillings 336.86 billion is meant for the purchase of 9 million radio set receivers
for all Uganda homesteads as one of the strategies of supporting long-distance
learning given the fact that schools are closed due to CooVID-19 pandemic.
However, Dokolo Woman MP Cecilia Ogwal criticized the government request as
bogus, saying it is impractical. She questioned how the government expects a family
with children from different classes to use one radio set to learn.
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Ogwal noted that all evidence on the radio project points to
somebody trying to do business. “I feel somebody is taking us for a ride and
they are taking this as a committee of rubber stamping. There is lack of
integrity and lack of truth on this issue of radios. The practicability of
the utilization of this one radio is bogus,” she said.
The West Budama South MP, Richard Othieno questioned the
program and wondered why the government plans to buy radio sets to facilitate
learning after announcing the resumption of studies by March 2020.
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Charles Illukor, the Kumi County MP tasked Bahati to explain why the government
only provided Shillings 72 billion for reopening schools and allocated a huge
sum to the purchase of radios.
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Bahati explained that the schedule for reopening schools is not fixed and that
keeping children home without any form of learning was dangerous. He argued
that the radios will not only work for the distant learning program but will
also remain as assets for homes.
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The Budget Committee Chairperson, Amos Lugoloobi also expressed fear about the government’s proposal, saying the planned distribution of masks was marred by various
challenges, adding that to date many Ugandans are yet to receive a government
“If someone is talking about assembling radios, we know how much time it took
to distribute masks, but now we are talking about 9million radios, what period
will it take for the country to get the radios? There was the circulation of
reading material, it was a failure,” he said.
The committee resolved that the Minister of Education and Sports appears in
their next meeting to explain the plan before any decision is taken.