KAMPALA – Members of Parliament on the opposition side have asked the government to halt the planned expenditure of Covid-19 relief funds until the matter is debated in Parliament.
Government announced it will soon release Shs54 billion to help over 1 million people in 500,000 households in Kampala, and other cities and municipalities.
However, speaking to the press on Thursday, the Opposition legislators pointed out that such interventions should first be processed through Parliament for proper planning.
Mityana District Woman MP and Shadow Minister for Information, Hon Joyce Bagala said that the proposed intervention is welcome but requires extensive debate in regard to the amount.
“This money is not enough; it should be doubled. We also need to ensure transparency of expenditure of such funds,” she said.
Bagala also criticised government for not having a clear plan on vaccination of citizens.
“We would like to ask the Speaker to recall the House to allow us debate interventions by government because we have suggestions to make,” Bagala said.
Kyotera District Woman MP, Fortunate Rose Nantongo proposed consideration of the vulnerable in rural areas as beneficiaries of the Covid-19 relief funds.
“The criteria used to select the beneficiaries is questionable. This lockdown has affected all Ugandans and all need to benefit from any intervention. As Parliament, we need to debate such issues and guide government,” Nantongo said.
She appealed to President Yoweri Museveni to assent to the recently passed National Social Security Bill which gives contributors mid-term access to their savings.
“Some of the workers have lost their jobs and do not have any other source of income. Such people need to access some of their savings from NSSF,” Nantongo said.
Kilak South MP, Gilbert Olanya blamed the mishaps in response to the Covid-19 on the closure of Parliament.
Olanya said since then, the country has gone astray because the executive lacks guidance from the Legislature.
“Parliament should open before 06 July 2021 when government plans to start implementing it’s policies on the interventions. We need to ask the minister the criteria used to identify those receiving relied funds,” said Olanya.
The Clerk to Parliament issued a notice stating that Parliament would be closed from 28 June to 11 July 2021 to allow for disinfection of the premises in a move aimed at controlling the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
Hillary Kiyaga Innocent (Mawokota North,NUP) called for consideration of teachers in private schools, saying that they have been neglected and yet their contribution to the country’s development is immense.