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Health committee decries stagnant NMS budget in 2021/2022 estimates

National Medical Stores

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The chairperson of the health committee of parliament, Dr. Michael Bukenya has expressed concerns about possible continued drug stock outs following a failure by the government to improve on the budget for the National Medical Stores (NMS) in the next financial year.

Bukenya’s comments come as the health committee begins scrutiny of the budget framework paper in relation to allocations and priorities for the health sector in the financial year 2021/2022.

The current budgeting process has shifted from output-based budgeting to program-based budgeting in a bid to improve the link between budgeting and national strategic objectives.

The program-based budgeting structure allocates resources by program or functional area, in alignment with the national development plan.

The health sector falls under the Human Capital Development Program which contributes mainly to the NDP III, objective four which is to enhance the productivity and social wellbeing of the population. It emphasizes the role of the four thematic areas of health, education and sports, water and gender towards increasing productivity, inclusiveness and wellbeing of population for wealth creation.

But an analysis of allocations towards the health sector shows a reduction of resources from 2.77 trillion in the current financial year to 2.52 trillion shillings.

Dr. Bukenya expresses worry that the budget for drugs has not been improved and this might result into drug shortages escalating in the next financial year.

According to the Budget Framework Paper, the budget allocation to the national medical stores has increased by just 10 Bn shillings from 410Bn shillings in the current financial year.

Dr. Bukenya says this increment is to be shared among the regional referral hospitals only and so the NMS budget remains stagnant.

He also expresses concerns about the failure by government to improve the wage bill for health workers, despite a promise by the government to increase salaries of doctors and other health workers in the next financial year.

Bukenya says these issues will be foremost among the matters they intend to raise with the minister of health and the budget committee of parliament.



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