PARLIAMENT: With just a few days left to the reading of the national budget, the Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs is seeking for a supplementary request to a tune of Shs369.900,061,465.
The team from Ministry of Defence, led by State Minister for Veteran Affairs, Hon. Bright Rwamirama, was queried and cross-examined to defend the supplementary request before the Committee of Budget Tuesday morning.
According to the reports reaching this website, Shs60.9bn is required to cater for special meals purposely to purchase meals, drinking water and dry ration for operational troops across the country.
The funding, according to the Ministry of Defence, will also be used to feed recruits at training schools, feeding of soldiers during rehearsals for parade at national ceremonies, patients as well as inmates in Military barracks.
Rwamirama told MPs that for the last five years, the food item has consistently been receiving the same budgetary allocations of Shs35Bn, yet the item has been affected by inflation which triggered fluctuation in food prices, fluctuation foreign exchange for dry ration purchases, increased feedable strength and training over the years.
The Ministry revealed that in 2016/2017, the army incurred arrears on the food item amounting to Shs26.6Bn and these food arrears were settled on this Financial Year through the Ministry’s food budget allocation and this left the Ministry with only Shs9Bn on food budget against, a food consumption rate of Shs84.9Bn this Financial Year.
In January 2018, the Ministry received a supplementary funding of Shs60.9Bn and this will be used to clear all the unpaid food bills outstanding since August 2017.
The Army is also looking for Shs22.3Bn to cater for the fuel requirements for the operational activities in the Divisions, transportation of troops and logistics, SFC activities, ceremonies and army shop operation.
The Ministry revealed that in 2016/2017, the Ministry incurred arrears on this item of Shs9.3Bn due to under funding of the item, with these arrears having been partly settled from the budget allocation Shs8Bn for fuel in 2018/2019, which left unpaid arrears at Shs1.3Bn.
However, the arrears further shot up this financial where fuel amounting to Shs25.9Bn was consumed, thus creating a budget shortfall of Shs27.3Bn.
In January 2018, the Ministry received a supplementary of ShsShs5Bn to clear some of these arrears, reducing the shortfall to Shs22.3Bn and the institution plans to use the supplementary to settle the unpaid fuel bills for land forces.
According to breakdown on how the companies that owe will be paid include: Total (Shs7,562,752,368), Vivo Energy (Shs5,606,970,010), Mogas (Shs1,439,056,890), Hared (Shs6,933,489,450), City Oil (Shs522,897,550), Oil Libya (Shs189,783,440)and Hass Ltd (Shs45,190,412) tallying to Shs22,300,140,120.
On the other hand, the Ministry is also chocking on arrears of fuel for air force that will account for Shs13.1Bn to facilitate pilot training, routine flights, VIP travels, ceremonies, running of ground support equipment operations, with the Ministry saying that over the years, the aircraft fleet has increased without a commensurate increase in the fuel budget.
In the breakdown, the Supplementary budget of Shs13.1Bn will be utilised to settle unpaid fuel bills of Hared petroleum Shs12.5Bn and Total Uganda Shs506M.
Despite the fact that the Ministry undertook procurement worth Shs36.6Bn aimed at providing basic clothing items and accessories to the troops, only Shs12Bn provided which left a funding gap of Shs24,600,061,465
The Army is also seeking for Shs2Bn in medical products to settle bills incurred on treatment of UPDF patients in private hospitals especially Nakasero Hospital with the item having received Shs1.2Bn in 2017/2018, to cater for treatment in local-non-Miltary hospitals against a funding requirement of Shs6.2Bn.
In January 2018, this item received a supplementary funding of Shs3Bn that was also utlised to pay medical bill leaving a total of Shs3.8Bn unpaid and the supplementary funding Shs2Bn will partly settle this debt.
The Military is also seeking for Shs247Bn in classified expenditure.