Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Minister of Finance Matia Kasaija has said that Ugandan scientists have requested for more than 248 Billion shillings for producing the Covid-19 vaccine.
Kasaija was appearing before Parliament’s Covid-19 taskforce together with Henry Musasizi, the State Minister for Finance General Duties and Kenneth Mugambe, the Director of Budget.
The taskforce was put in place to inquire into government’s preparedness and response to Covid-19 and the impact of its interventions in fighting Covid-19.
It is also scrutinizing how much money the country has spent in the fight against Covid-19 since the outbreak of the pandemic last year.
Jim Ochero, the MP Labwor County told Kasaija that vaccination is the ultimate solution and that the government should use the funds allocated to security and enforcement, to mobilize and procure the vaccines.
However, Kasaija told the MPs that there are two solutions to the Covid-19 vaccine which include locally manufacturing vaccines, and sourcing for vaccines for all Ugandans.
According to Kasaija, a group of scientists have approached him seeking 14 million dollars for the initial stages of manufacturing the vaccine that will involve bringing in international partners, and 70 million dollars for setting up the vaccine facility.
Meanwhile, MPs have also questioned the 371 billion shillings supplementary request for Covid-19 intervention which was allocated to the Ministry of Health, security, and Covid-19 taskforce among others.
They were concerned that 50 Billion Shillings was allocated to security, 53.7 billion to the National Taskforce and Local Government activities, 8 billion shillings for the Ministry of ICT and National guidance for information dissemination, 53.5 billion shillings cash relief for vulnerable Ugandans.
Kalungu West MP Joseph Ssewungu questioned why Internal Security Organisation (ISO) was getting 6 billion shillings while the External Security Organisation (ESO) has 1.8 billion.
Kasaija also told the MPs that 4.304 trillion shillings was spent for COVID-19 intervention in three financial years. However, Members of Parliament challenged him saying that the money from International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the money that was passed by Parliament was over 5 trillion, questioning how the 1 Trillion Shillings was put to use.
According to Kasaija, in the financial year 2019/2020, 314 Billion Shillings from the supplementary budget, contingency fund was spent, in 2020/2021 financial year, shillings 2.7 trillion was provided by Parliament, supplementary funding and contingency fund.
In the financial year 2021/2022, 932 billion shillings was provided. 560 billion shillings out of which 80 billion was allocated to the National Medical Stores-NMS for procuring vaccines while supplementary expenditure of 480 billion shillings is external funding from the World Bank and 371 billion shillings for oxygen, case management among others.