KAMPALA – Uganda’s Non-Tax revenue from Missions abroad has reduced by UGX.730M from UGX17Bn in FY2016/2017 a report by the Committee of Foreign Affairs has revealed.
The report on the Ministerial Policy statement for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs showed that with exception of Missions in New York, Denmark, Kinshasa and Egypt, Italy and Saudi Arabia that registered an increase in NTR, majority of the Missions totaling to 24 registered a decline in NTR collections most especially in Berlin whose NTR reduced by 4 times from UGX380m to UGX88M.
The Beijing Mission also recorded a reduction in NTR by 4 times from UGX210m to UGX.54M, Washington reduced by 52% from UGX2345bn to UGX1.137bn, Ottawa reduced by 52% from UGX198million to UGX95 million), Abu Dhabi (reduced by 5301, from UGX.164 million to UGX77.7 million), Guangzhou (reduced by 50% from UGX.63 million to UGX 32million).
The Ministry explained that the reduction in NTR is attributed to reduction of the visa fees from USD100 to USD50, reduction of visitors from some of host countries, and the introduction of the electronic visa system among others.
In a related development, Parliament has recommended to have the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to be involved in the process of nominating Heads of Missions and recruiting technical Officers to work at the Missions’ Staff who qualify to head Missions should also be given an opportunity to utilize their Potential arguing that the current process has left a big gap in the process.
The MPs were told that because of this, career diplomats who have served in the Ministry and have reached the highest level where they should serve as Heads of Missions stay at Headquarters because they are not appointed to these positions.
Hood Katuramu, Chairperson Foreign Affairs Committee noted that although the Appointing Authority has the prerogative to appoint Heads of Missions, there is need for a balance between Political Appointees and Career Diplomats to enable Missions to operate smoothly and called for a balance between career diplomats and Political Appointees.
The overall budget allocation for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs increased from UGX32.485 for FY 2018/19 to UGX33.522Bn in 2019/2020 an increase of UGX1.04 representing a small percentage increment of 4.8%.