Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have been tasked to explain Uganda’s failure to take up 248 scholarships offered by four foreign countries. The scholarships were offered by Italy, Germany, Belgium and Algeria.
The Public Accounts Commitee of Parliament raised the queries in a meeting at parliament today. The Ministry team led by Permanent Secretary Ambassador Patrick Mugoya was appearing before the committee to respond to audit queries raised in the financial year 2018/2019. The report indicates that only 91 out of the 339 scholarships secured during the year from a sample of four embassies.
“Underutilization of scholarships offered may imply that the Ministry is not playing its role of ensuring that those supposed to benefit do benefit. There is need for the Ministry to establish the status of scholarships secured by all missions abroad and ensure that there is improvement in utilization of secured scholarships in the future,” the Auditor General said.
PAC Chairperson Nathan Nandala Mafabi wondered why the Ministry could fail to give out the scholarships to Ugandans who are always yearning for such opportunities.
Mike Karugaba, the Head of Consular Services said that the scholarships under question were not particularly offered to Uganda but to developing countries across the world. But Nandala objected to his submission saying that the audit query is clear that the scholarships were for Uganda as a country.
Amudat Woman MP Rosemary Nauwat asked why the Auditor General would present statistics concerning the other countries. Nandala tasked the Ministry officials to provide evidence on how the scholarships which were offered were made known to Ugandans to take them up.
Florence Namayanja, the Bukoto East MP also said that it was important for the Ministry to play its role and make sure that Ugandans benefit from the offered scholarships.
Ambassador Mugoya then acknowledged that there is a gap in making citizens in different parts of the country get to know about the scholarships.