Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Officials from the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social development have said that they are yet to receive the 2.4 billion Shillings allocated by Parliament to relocate street children in Kampala.
The funds were requested in May 2020 through a supplementary budget. In her statement to Parliament then, the Minister of State for Youth and Children Affairs Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi said that the money was to be used to look after street children during the Covid-19 pandemic and that it would be spent in two months to resettle and feed the children in over 100 gazetted homes.
While appearing before the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Thursday, James Ebitu the Ministry’s acting Permanent Secretary said they had not received the funds. Ebitu and others had appeared to respond to audit queries raised in the June 2019 Auditor General’s report.
His revelation followed a question from Amudat Woman MP Rosemary Nauwat who inquired about the increase in the number of street children despite approval of a supplementary budget.
Bunyole West MP James Waluswaka also tasked Ebitu to explain why there are still street children despite an appropriation of 2.4 billion to relocate them.
The response shocked the committee and the PAC vice chairperson Okin Ojara tasked MP Waluswaka to raise the matter on the floor of parliament.
The money was appropriated in May 2020, after MPs on the Budget Committee recommended to Parliament to approve a supplementary request for the Ministry of Gender.
This followed an earlier authorization by Parliament in the financial year 2018/2019 for the Ministry to spend 3.4 billion for the relocation of street children but out of these funds, only 1 billion Shillings was released and Cabinet directed the Ministry of Finance to release the balance of 2.4 billion in the previous financial year 2019/2020 for implementation of the remaining street children activities.
Officials from the Ministry of Gender told Parliament that the funds are expected to finance priority interventions targeting 1,500 street children.