MPs on the parliamentary committee on Presidential Affairs have expressed shock at the 'meagre' budgetary allocation to the Bunyoro Affairs ministry, one of the ministries in place on the basis of affirmative action.
With a total number of seven districts, the ministry of Bunyoro Affairs has been allocated the least funds amounting to Shs 800m for the financial year 2018/19. Other ministries like Teso Affairs were allocated Shs 1.8 billion, Karamoja Affairs Shs 14.6 billion while Luwero-Rwenzori Triangle’s budgetary allocation stands at Shs 33.8 billion.
According to the committee, the funds allocated to all the four ministries under the prime minister’s office to enhance affirmative action programs are too meagre to make any social development impact.
“Prime minister’s office should get serious. We are not in mchezo [jokes], we want allocations that exhibit the country’s closeness to reach middle income status by 2020. What they have brought so far can’t enable middle-income status by 2021, we are just in mchezo [jokes],” Bukoto Mid-west MP Joseph Muyomba Kasozi said.
The ministerial statement presented to the committee by a team of ministers and technical staff of the office of the prime minister indicates that the Shs 800 million will deliver 10,000 hand hoes, 70 micro projects for the seven districts of Bunyoro, 1,700 iron sheets, four consultative meetings with the public and private stakeholders and two political monitoring and supervision mission will be undertaken.
For the Shs 1.8 billion allocated to Teso Affairs, 6,000 iron sheets will be procured, a low-cost house constructed in Kaberamaido in fulfillment of a presidential pledge, an ambulance procured to enhance health service delivery, two policy committee meetings shall be held and a two- classroom block completed among others.
In Karamoja, Shs 14.6 billion is for commencement of a large water reservoir, five parish valley dams, a dormitory and dining halls and provision of irrigation water to three progressive farmers among others. However, the committee members argue that the budget to the ministries is a mere facilitation for visits and burials.
“We have a target of reaching middle-income status in the next two years. How can a full ministry take care of the whole region for the whole year with Shs 800 million? This is a lot of mchezo yet we are in kisanja hakuna mchezo,” Kasozi said.
“You cannot achieve this [middle-income status] when you are allocating very meager resources to some crucial sectors especially those areas which need affirmative action,” he added.
The committee chaired by Adjumani Woman MP Jesca Ababiku directed the office of the prime minister to revisit their budgetary allocations for the different affirmative action ministries or the budget shall be rejected.
The committee insisted that some massive cuts within the prime minister’s office ought to be done to adequately fund those ministries.