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Parliament approves UGX21Bn supplementary budget for church land compensation

Parliament adopted a Supplementary expenditure of Shs21 billion under Schedule No.1 for FY 2021/2022 to Uganda Land Commission to settle outstanding claims by the Church of Uganda.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Parliament has today approved a supplementary budget totaling 21.25 billion Shillings to compensate the Church of Uganda for its land taken by the government to expand Entebbe International Airport.

The money was under a bigger 3.8 trillion supplementary budget that was recently approved by Parliament but its consideration was then deferred by the Budget Committee pending supporting documents and clear information from the Ministry of Finance.

While presiding over the Tuesday afternoon plenary sitting, Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah explained that the church budget was deferred earlier since it had been sent to a wrong vote.

Following Oulanyah’s communication, the Minister of State for Finance-General Duties Henry Musasizi moved a motion for the House to resolve itself into a committee of supply to consider supplementary expenditure for financial year 2021/2022 to settle outstanding claims by the Church of Uganda.

Speaker Oulanyah then posed a question that the House approves 21.25 billion under the Uganda Land Commission (ULC) to cater for outstanding claims by the Church of Uganda. The MPs approved the motion overwhelmingly.

This development follows the approval by the Budget Committee on Monday chaired by the Vice Chairperson, Ignatius Mudimi Wamakuyu.

The committee argued that it was urgent to provide the money to the church which is also in debt regarding the Church House building along Kampala road, explaining that this money will be a big relief towards the debt.

The Church of Uganda led by the Archbishop, the Most Rev. Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu is currently undertaking fundraising to clear the 48 billion Shillings debt for the Church House building located along Kampala road.

Equity bank extended 41 billion Shillings to the Church of Uganda towards the construction of the 16 storey building and currently is owed 40 Billion Shillings. The 8 Billion Shillings is owed to different individuals and entities.

Kaziimba has in the past said that completing the debt will help the Church in its self-governance drive.

In 2017, Equity bank threatened to take over the structure which was valued at 58.8 Billion Shillings upon completion. In 2018, the bank again threatened to auction the building after the Church failed to service its loan and accumulated arrears.

To construct the building, Christians and well-wishers contributed about 10.8 Billion Shillings through fundraising but since the money was inadequate, the Church acquired a loan from Equity bank through its business arm, the Church Commissioners Holding Company Limited in 2010.

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