KAMPALA-UGANDA/NEWSDAY: MPs on Tuesday adopted a report by the parliamentary committee on presidential affairs that recommended additional funding of Shs 71.2 billion to State House in the coming financial year 2022/2023.
Government under the proposed budget for the next financial year had allocated State House a budget totaling Shs 429.42 billion up from the current budget of Shs 410.2 billion.
However, in its report on the State House ministerial policy statement, committee chairperson Jessica Ababiku recommended additional funding to the entity saying that the modest increment in the State House budget is largely on account of substantial increment in proposed allocation to domestic development expenditure category.
She recommended an additional Shs 30 billion budget to State House to facilitate the fulfillment of presidential donations.
“State House requires Shs 83.03 billion to facilitate payment of pending donations but only Shs 53.033 billion is provided for in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) ceiling, resulting into a funding gap of Shs 30 billion. Information availed to the committee indicates that unfulfilled presidential pledges were among the key budget execution challenges to State House year in year out,” said Ababiku.
She observed that the demand for presidential donations is ever-increasing and calls for enhanced allocation. The committee also recommended another Shs 14.2 billion additional budget to State House for poverty alleviation initiatives (model villages).
Ababiku explained that the Shs 14.2 billion is to enable State House effectively support 27 model villages to produce in a commercially viable manner and also explore avenues of rolling out the initiative.
She explained that State House increases support to the Poverty Alleviation Department (PAD) through the recruitment of full time and competent staff to ensure project or program sustainability.
“The committee was informed that, there are 27 model villages under the PAD distributed throughout the four regions of the country with 8 in Central (Kalungu, Masaka, Nakaseke, Goma/ Sembabule, Luwero and Wakiso), 7 in Western (Bushenyi, Kamwenge, Rukungiri, Sheema and Ntungamo), 8 in Eastern (Busia, Kaliro, Tororo, Kamuli, Sironko, Iganga, Kibuuku and Mbale) and 4 in the North (Otuke, Kitgum, Adjumani and MadiOkolo),” reads part of the committee report.
Ababiku reported that efforts to roll out this intervention to more areas whilst continuing with the support of the existing ones has been operating on a budget of Shs 2 billion and information provided to the committee indicates that the unit cost of interventions in a model village is Shs 600 million which translates to Shs 16.2 billion for the 27 model villages.
“During the on-spot assessment of Poverty Alleviation Initiatives, the committee noted with serious concern the human resource structural gaps affecting the operations of the model villages. Whereas the program is implemented in many districts, there were no staff to coordinate model village initiatives at the district. Majority of the staff work on voluntary basis. Efforts to establish the coordination structure at the grassroots have remained weak. Without strong coordination, the sustainability of the program cannot be guaranteed,” says Ababiku.
Meanwhile, the same committee also recommended that Shs 27.02 billion is provided to State House to facilitate the retooling intervention of State House. According to Ababiku, her committee was informed that State House Vote plans to upgrade the Entebbe State House Complex to the required standard, repair and maintain Nakasero State Lodge and the 23 upcountry State Lodges.
She said that these interventions require Shs 39.35 billion but only Shs 12.33 billion is provided in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework ceiling resulting in a funding gap of Shs 27.02 billion.
Parliament adopted the report and the recommendations were referred to the committee on budget for consideration by speaker Anita Among.
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