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MPs vow to reject budget over ISO UGX130b shortfall

Members of Parliament on the Presidential Affairs Committee tasked the minister in charge of Presidency, Ms. Esther Mbayo to call for special cabinet sitting and have the budget to Internal Security Organisation (ISO) increased. (PHOTO/FILE)

KAMPALA – Legislators on the Presidential Affairs Committee have tasked the minister in charge of Presidency, Ms. Esther Mbayo to call for special cabinet sitting and have the budget to Internal Security Organisation (ISO) increased and threatened not to pass the budget because of the failure to prioritise Uganda’s security.

The concerns from MPs followed an observation that in the coming budget, ISO has been left grappling with shortfalls of over UGX130b after many of the budget requests were rejected by the Treasury.

Mr. Peter Ogwang (Usuk County) tasked Ms. Mbayo to use her position to push cabinet to increase allocations for the sake of security and questioned why ISO should continue paying staff who neither have work or material to use to collect intelligence and threatened to mobilise fellow MPs not to pass the budget until ISO’s budget is increased.

His decision to have the Presidency budget rejected was supported by fellow MPs with Mr. Ogwang arguing: “I have the capacity to mobilise Parliament not to approve your budget if some of these areas aren’t catered for because we have talked and where we can now say enough is enough, what is more, important than security?”

Mr. Ogwang also cited an example of the recent abduction of an American tourist and her guide saying the incidence is likely to affect the country’s economy and needs to be treated as a symptom of the limited funding to the country’s security sector.

He explained: “Why employ them if you know you can’t make use of them? When will you people begin to know that where we have reached, the first thing we need as a country is accurate, timely intelligence which needs an accurate and immediate response?”

The remarks were made during a meeting held between the officials from the ministry for the Presidency who appeared before the Presidential Affairs Committee to justify her ministerial policy statement for the 2019/2020 budget.

Her presentation before the committee highlighted several shortfalls to required funding, including a shortage of Shs41bn for the purchase of 132 pickups and 1578 motorcycles for DISOs and GISOs as well as a shortage of Shs51bn for the procurement of specialised machinery and communications equipment.

Mr. Michael Tusiime (Mbarara Municipality) argued that the MP} p11inistry’s mandate of oversight and monitoring was useless in a situation of insecurity. He suggested that the budgetary allocations are lifted and urged his colleagues to ensure that his recommendation is supported.

Still, in ISO’s budget shortfalls, the entity requested for UGX14.9b for inter-agency security guidelines and only UGX4.9Bb was availed leaving funding gap of UGX10b and for the collection of intelligence enhanced timely collection and production of intelligence, ISO requested for UGX28,171b and only UGX24.617b leaving a funding gap of UGX3.554b.

ISO also requires UGX41.66b to purchase 132 double cabin vehicles and 1578 motorcycles for the District Security Officers and Gombolola Security officers, however, only UGX241m was provided leaving the institution grappling with a funding gap of UGX41.419b.

For the purchase of specialized machinery and communication equipment, ISO requested for UGX51.6b yet only UGX169m was provided for in the budget leaving a balance of UGX51.431b.

ISO also budgeted UGX13.8b to cater for statutory benefits like annual leave for its staff but no single penny was provided for the said item as well as the but only UGX682m leaving a shortage of UGX1.85b.

The security organ is also seeking for UGX4.9b for arrears for staff retirement for the past two years and no coin was allocated for the said item.

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