Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Members of Parliament sitting on the Budget Committee today unanimously agreed to approve a supplementary budget allocation of 2.657 billion Shillings to enable the Ministry of Foreign Affairs establish an Embassy of Uganda in Angola.
The Committee position followed a presentation of a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Ambassador Patrick Mugoya who told MPs that the Ministry needed a total of 2.657 billion to open the Embassy and run it for the next 8 months.
Mugoya had appeared before the Committee to justify a supplementary budget request of 1 billion Shillings recently tabled by the Minister of State for Planning David Bahati for the same purpose. He said that the 1 billion Shillings presented by Finance Ministry wouldn’t be enough since the embassy is new and needs a lot of funding to run.
“We note that the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development proposes a supplementary budget of Shillings 1 billion. However, the Ministry had requested for a budget of Shillings 2.657 billion for this purpose covering 8 months,” said Mugoya.
Ambassador Mugoya noted that Angola opened its mission in Uganda in August 2007 and that it’s important that Uganda reciprocates in order to deepen the cordial bilateral relations.
He added that with the starting of commercial flights to Luanda, this will present business opportunities for the country’s private sector in terms of exports and sharing experiences in areas of oil and gas management among others. Mugoya says that these and other opportunities can best be taken advantage of with physical representation in the country.
“Uganda and Angola are both members of International Conference on Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), which brings together 12 countries in our sub-region. ICGLR was established to promote sustainable peace and development. The instability in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is a major problem that destabilizes the region and threatens international peace and security. Angola has been at the forefront of fighting against negative forces (ADF, M23, etc) in the region,” Mugoya explained.
He further indicated that Angola is playing a big role in efforts to normalize relations between Uganda and Rwanda and that it chaired the Luanda Summit at which the Heads of State between Uganda and Rwanda signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the normalization of relations. Mugoya says that these efforts are still ongoing.
Following his presentation, Kasilo County MP Elijah Okupa took to the floor saying that parliament needed to support the Ministry’s efforts in regard to the country’s missions abroad and that there was need to approve the required budget for the next 8 months.
He was supported by Kasese Woman MP Winfred Kizza and said…“I don’t see any reason why we should not give him his budget, 2.6 billion Shillings.”
But Rubanda East MP Henry Musasizi demanded that a break down on how the money is going to be spent is availed to the Committee before a report on the matter is availed. West Budama South MP, Richard Othieno shared the same sentiment saying that the committee was in support of the Ministry’s required budget and only needed justification of the 2.657 billion Shillings that is proposed to be spent in the next 8 months.
Budget Committee Chairperson Amos Lugoloobi directed that the breakdown of the funds is availed and that if there is any unnecessary proposed expenditure, his committee will cut the money.
Missions abroad are established to promote and protect Uganda’s interests and currently, the country has 36 missions worldwide.
Media reports recently indicated that the former Director General of Internal Security Organisation (ISO), Col. Kaka Bagyenda had been designated as Ambassador to Angola. However, his appointment is yet to be approved by Parliament’s Appointments Committee chaired by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga.