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Lukwago, councilors question gov’t delay on Covid-19 relief

Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago. File Photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The political wing of Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA has criticized the government for the delayed disbursement of the COVID-19 relief to city residents and ongoing process to identify the beneficiaries.

When the government announced plans to provide the COVID-19 relief fund, the Office of the Prime Minister released a proposed list of the beneficiaries they categorized as vulnerable. The Prime Minister Robbinah Nabanja indicated that each household would receive Shillings 100,000 to help through the 42-day lockdown period.

Some of the listed beneficiaries included vendors, salon attendants, taxi operators, boda boda riders and artists among others. However, the KCCA leaders are discontent with the categorization of beneficiaries and the process of compiling the list.

During the KCCA meeting on Tuesday, the City Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago and councilors expressed dismay that a number of people are starving as the government is taking longer to disburse the promised COVID-19 relief fund. They also questioned the criterion used to determine those who qualify for the support.

According to Lukwago, many people are vulnerable since they can neither access their shops nor workplaces yet they have not been considered. He says those in charge of the program should explain the delayed distribution of the relief and how they came up with the list of the people they considered as vulnerable.

After the government listed categories of people to benefit from the fund, the OPM working with the National Identification and Registration Authority and divisions generated lists of names and phones numbers of the proposed beneficiaries in the listed categories.

On Tuesday, the councillors noted that the lists sent to their areas were deficient and many of those who appear there are unknown to the communities. Mosh African Ssendi, the representative of Kabalagala, Bunga and Ggaba said the lists sent to his area had names of strangers some of whom are from as far as Isingiro district.

He said when they called using the contacts provided, the respondents said they were not residents of Kampala. Ssendi said there is need for the government to adopt the bottom to top approach where the lists are generated by locals and their leaders for onward transmission to the central government for the disbursement of the funds.

Apart from the gaps identified in the compilation lists, the council heard that KCCA does not have enough resources to run the program and others under COVID-19 since they were never budgeted for. John Mary Ssebufu, the City Executive secretary in charge of finance said that the government has failed to allocate resources to KCCA to run activities related to COVID-19 that have no budget.

For instance, he says the government allocated each division only four million Shillings to manage the process of distributing lists to locals and manage the verification process.

The City executive committee led by the Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago also notes that even the amount of money that the government has suggested is too little. Lukwago had earlier suggested that each person gets Shillings 252,000 to take them through the lockdown.

The members of the city executive committee want the government to give each vulnerable family Shillings 10,000 per pay for the 42 days.


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