No money for intelligence officers’ cars

Implementation of key programs under the Office of the President may fail in the next financial year owing to a Shs 701 billion deficit in the budgetary allocations earmarked for the entity in the 2019/2020 national budget allocations.

According to the Presidency’s ministerial policy statement, a policy document that outlines expenditure priority areas for the coming financial year which is currently being scrutinized by members on Parliament’s Presidential Affairs committee, the Office of the President has a funding gap of Shs 701 billion after the Ministry of Finance chose to maintain the netity’s allocations at Shs 76.9 billion.

The Minister for the Presidency Esther Mbayo told MPs that the funds are required for different activities which include purchase of 132 double cabin trucks and 1,578 motorcycles worth Shs 41.4 billion for District Internal Security Officers (DISOs) and Gombolola Internal Security Officers (GISOs).

Also highlighted is a need for Shs 51.4 billion to purchase specialized machinery and communication equipment, Shs 530 billion to operationalize new districts, Shs 6.3 billion for office accommodation for Resident District Commissioners (RDCs), Shs 5.5 billion for monitoring government programmes and projects, Shs 20.9 billion for purchase of 165 double cabins for RDCs and others.

Minister Mbayo made an appeal to the committee to support appropriation of more funds for the underfunded items.

MPs noted that several items relating to improvement of security remain grossly underfunded.

Mbarara Municipality MP Michael Tusiime argued that the ministry’s mandate of oversight and monitoring was useless in a situation of insecurity.

He suggested that the budgetary allocations are lifted and urged his colleagues to ensure that his recommendation is supported.

Usuk County MP Peter Ogwang was in agreement noting that the Minister should use her position to push cabinet to increase allocations for the sake of security. He said the government should take the initiative to source for funding since MPs are usually constrained to get resources from other items in the budget.

Ogwang alluded to the recent abduction of an American tourist noting that the incident could seriously affect the economy.

Tusiime noted that the success of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party’s manifesto depended on effective service delivery which was supported by the work of RDCs.

He argued that if the NRM was to win votes in the next election the committee needed to ensure that the RDCs were provided with money required for monitoring.