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Gov’t urged to reappropriate non-essential expenses to support COVID-19 response

CSBAG Executive Director Julius Mukunda. PHOTO via @CSBAGUGANDA

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Civil Society Budget Advisory Group-CSBAG is calling upon the government to reallocate part of the quarter four (Q4) funds for the 2019/2020 financial year to cover COVID-19 response plans.

According to CSBAG, over 200 billion Shillings which were allocated for luxurious activities like gym memberships for civil servants and Members of Parliament and entertainment should go towards procuring equipment and facilitating health facilities to handle COVID 19.

The health ministry had asked for 25 billion Shillings during the country’s COVID-19 preparedness phase. However, only 5 billion Shillings was released by the government. The ministry now needs over 100 billion Shillings for its response plan.

CSBAG Executive Director Julius Mukunda says that while the country waits to get support from international agencies such as the World Health Organisation, the government needs to start collecting all monies that were allocated for non-essential activities and use them to enhance the country’s capacity to fight COVID 19.

They also want the health ministry to use all grounded vehicle at the headquarters in Kampala and send them to different districts to serve as ambulances.

In addition to this, they want the government to recapitalise the Uganda Development Bank to enable the production of essential products like hand sanitizers during the time the country will be battling the pandemic.

Mukunda says that the government should inject 300 billion Shillings into the bank to help keep businesses afloat. He, however, stresses that while money is being given to local business, monies should be given to only credit worthy operations.

Last week,  the ministry of Finance hinted at allocating more money through the Uganda Development Bank to enable it support small-medium  enterprises during the COVID-19 outbreak.

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