KAMPALA – Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has defended a decision by Parliament to allocate itself Shs10b for the fight against coronavirus saying the money would be used to fuel some of the ambulances owned by MPs that will be used by the Ministry of Health during this crisis period, as well as conduct Committee work.
Kadaga was in an interview with NBS Television, where she was explaining why Parliament is still sitting amid calls of social distancing to contain the spread of Coronavirus in Uganda.
Media reports indicate that during the consideration of the Shs284b Supplementary Budget to avert the Coronavirus pandemic, Parliament allocated Shs10b to facilitate MPs working alongside the COVID-19 National Taskforce.
According to reports, the Shs5b was deducted from the Ministry of Health budget and the remaining Shs5b came from other sectors.
Parliament has offered a fleet of vans, minibuses, drivers to transport health workers and other Ministry of Health essential staff during the lockdown.
In defence of the Supplementary funding, Kadaga said that some of these funds would cater for the Health Committee, in addition to meeting costs of MPs messages on electronic media, in diverse languages.
“We have ambulances commandeered by Ministry of Health. The drivers have to be paid and ambulances serviced. MPs are also busy on advocacy. Committees are following up on what is happening in hospitals and they are reporting to the country.”
During the interview, Speaker clarified on a number of issues including calls by public to have MPs sacrifice their pay to facilitate the population with Speaker replying, “MPs have paid over Shs1b for the cancer ward in Nsambya Hospital. We have contributed millions to the Uganda Cranes. So if they bring such a motion to Parliament, we shall consider it.”
The Speaker also demanded for better treatment of local investors by the government, arguing that Uganda’s economy will be battered by Coronavirus and there is need by Government to put mitigation measures to curb the impact of the Pandemic in Uganda.
Kadaga stated that there is unbalanced handling of investors with foreign investors being pampered at the cost the local investors who hardly receive the same support from Government.
The Speaker also castigated Government for distributing food relief to residents in Kampala and Wakiso districts, while leaving out other urban poor in many districts across the country
She also called for increase in the funding to the Health sector from the current 8% to 15% of the national budget.