KAMPALA – The Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Betty Aol Ocan has called for more transparency in the use of funds mobilized by the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) to cater for refugees.
Ms. Ocan, who together with Opposition legislators toured refugee settlements in South Western Uganda on Wednesday said there was need for financial transparency if more funding was to be sought from the government for refugees.
“Accountability is important if we are to advocate for more funds from the government. You need to be clear with how much was mobilised, realised, and how much was spent,” she said adding that “We shall be tabling these findings on the floor of the House in two months; we should have a log of how the monies are spent.”
During their visits earlier this month, the team raised concerns about accountability, security and management of the refugee register. The Commissioner in charge of Refugees in the OPM, Gerald Menhya, agreed that indeed accountability is an issue since the Prime Minister’s Office does not directly handle the funds.
He said budgeting is done at regional desk offices, while the funds meant for Kyangwali and Kyaka II are budgeted for in Hoima.
“The money is given directly to Non-Governmental Organisations that work with particular refugee camps. Out of courtesy, they may inform government on what they have done but not necessarily [account for] the actual money,” he said.
Menhya informed MPs that refugee numbers were increasing at an alarming rate and that currently, they were dealing with over one million refugees from 30 different countries.
The Opposition team included Hon. Harold Muhindo (Bukonzo East); Hon. Betty Muzaniraa (Rukungiri district) and Hon. Patrick Ochan (Apac Municipality).