President Meseveni has expressed disappointment that Members of Parliament (MPs) would go ahead and allocate themselves Shs10bn off the COVID-19 supplementary budget at a time when the country is in dare need of funds to fight the spread of the virus.
On Tuesday, April 7, 2020 Parliament passed a supplementary budget of Shs304b that was tendered in by government to help finance several activities in the fight against Corona virus.
The supplementary budget was meant to cater for the activities under the emergency response to COVID-19 under several agencies including; Health (HQs, Referral Hospitals, District Hospitals, DMOs), Security (UPDF, Police, Prisons, ISO, ESO, Immigration), Local Government (RDCs and Districts), KCCA, Disaster preparedness/ Support to the vulnerable.
However, Parliament used it’s discretionally powers to make several reallocations of the funds and as such allocated a total of Shs10bn to the institution of Parliament.
As such, the Parliamentary Commission earmarked a sum of Shs20m and has since disbursed it to each Member of Parliament to help run activities in the fight against COVID-19.
This has since raised a lot of concerns from several members of the public as well as some Members of Parliament who have come out to condemn the move and have since returned the money.
Commenting on the matter while addressing the Nation on COVID-19 response, the President said that Parliament messed itself up when it allocated itself Shs10bn which was never allocated to the institution by Government and this amounts to poor planning.
Museveni said that there are legal and constitutional issues involved in the conduct of Parliament which he declined to indulge in.
“The moral side, it would be morally reprehensible for Members of Parliament (MP) to give themselves money for personal use when the country is in such a crisis, this is totally unacceptable to me and the National Resistance Movement (NRM),” Museveni said.
Museveni added, “When I meet with the Speaker, I told her that you have entered yourselves into a trap which you should get out and the best way was not to spend the money on yourselves not as an allowance.
I agreed with the Speaker to take the money and donate it to the district taskforces where they come from and ensure that MPs are members of the taskforce.”
He advised that the MPs should take the money to the district taskforce and give it to the CAO who is the known district Accounting Officer and this would limit the damage.
“I hear some of the MPs went ahead and bought things which is not right because you are not the purchasing officers of the State,” Museveni said.
He has thus noted that these categories of MPs shall be subjected to audit by the Auditor General and will be required to disclose whoever gave them authority to purchase on behalf of the State.
Museveni warned that those Lawmakers that spent the money anyhow will have to pay it back to government since its tax payers’ money.
He further warned the MPs and Ministers against involvement in the distribution of food relief which is contrary to the guidelines he issued from the start.