The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development Permanent Secretary, Mr Pius Bigirimana, wants Shs17.6 billion to settle arrears meant for elderly persons.
Through a June 5 letter to the Secretary to the Treasury, Mr Keith Muhakanizi, Mr Bigirimana said the money is needed to pay dues for 148, 966 senior citizens. The money will cover the last six months.
“I draw your attention to the outstanding payment obligations to vulnerable persons, which now stands at Shs17.6 billion as the Financial Year 2017/18 comes to an end,” Mr Bigirimana wrote.
“The purpose of this letter, is, therefore, to request for release of Shs17.6 billion...”
Mr Bigirimana’s letter follows the House’s approval at the beginning of May of a supplementary budget of Shs900 billion to finance different activities.
He had in October 2017 written to Mr Muhakanizi, requesting for a supplementary budget of Shs15.3 billion to cover a funding gap for the Social Assistance Grant for Empowerment Programme (SAGE) for this fiscal year.
On February 9, Mr Muhakanizi replied, and said a supplementary for SAGE would be “considered after approval by Parliament.”
Mr Jacob Richards Opolot, the chairperson of the Uganda Parliamentary Forum on Social Protection (UPFSP), said Finance ministry should behave responsibly.
“The implications of non-release of [the] funds...are very grave...” Mr Opolot said on Wednesday during a press conference at Parliament.
He added: “This means the beneficiary elderly persons will go without their entitlement...”
Ms Flavia Kabahenda Rwabuhoro, the Coordinator of UPFSP in Kyegegwa District, accused the Finance ministry of disrespecting Parliament.
Ms Kabahenda said Parliament should always follow up appropriations to establish if the Treasury releases all the budgets Parliament approves.
The Ntenjeru South MP, Mr Fred Baseke, said should Finance not release the money, development partners who contribute a substantial amount of the funds spent on Uganda’s elderly could withdraw their support.