Gov’t Earmarks Shs15bn to Fight Looming Desert Locusts Outbreak

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PSST Keith Muhakanizi leads Ministry of Finance Officials before Parliament Committee

The Permanent Secretary/ Sectary to the Treasury (PSST), Keith Muhakanizi has revealed that government has earmarked a sum of Shs15b to fight the looming outbreak of Desert Locusts in the country.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries last month put Ugandans on alert over the impending outbreak after the desert locusts were reported in Kenya and seen in other neighboring countries.

While appearing before the Parliament Public Accounts Committee (PAC), the Accountant General Lawrence Semakula said that the funds are to be drawn from the Contingency Fund, just in case the destructive insects cross over from Kenya.

“This financial year, Parliament appropriated Shs62 billion for the Contingency Fund; they have so far released Shs32 billion; I can confirm that we have allocated Shs15 billion for the locusts,” said Semakula.

Muhakanizi said that releasing money for the locusts is to forearm Uganda as the roving pests are ravaging parts of North Eastern and Western Kenya.

Originating from Yemen all through to the coast of Somalia, scientists believe harsh environment and the conflict in Yemen have denied the government there an opportunity to marshal efforts to contain the insects.

Muhakanizi said that the funds will be released in parts saying that sometimes if the money is released at once it can be misused.

Muhakanizi has also informed MPs that no money has been released to fight Corona virus in case there is an outbreak as this is still a new area.

The virus broke out last year in the Central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year and has already killed over 300 people in China and more cases have been confirmed outside China.