Uganda’s parliament recently approved a Ush45.4 trillion ($11.9 billion) budget for the financial year 2020/21, an increase of Ush4.9 trillion ($1.3 billion) from last year’s Ush40.5 trillion ($10.6 billion) as the government seeks more funds for health and security.
However, in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, there are no allocations for additional food relief required by distressed families that have been under lockdown, a fiscal stimulus package for struggling businesses, and anticipated domestic borrowing pressures.
According to the EAST AFRICA, the Health ministry was allocated Ush2.7 trillion ($706 million) and Security got Ush4.52 trillion ($1.2 billion) according to the latest budget data published by Uganda’s Finance Ministry.
The increased allocations are for emergency capacity expansion in the healthcare sector as the country prepares for a potential surge in coronavirus cases, and wider security enforcement efforts required at Uganda’s relatively porous borders amid the current lockdown.
The government’s failure to allocate more funds for food distribution for vulnerable groups has raised fears for families who may not be able to feed themselves having lost their jobs and exhausted their savings.
While Ush59 billion ($15.4 million) was approved by parliament for purchase of food for vulnerable persons under a Ush302 billion ($78.96 million) supplementary budget passed in April, the money was meant for the initial 14-day lockdown that commenced on April 1.
There have been challenges of slow food distribution in Kampala and neighbouring areas, cases of poor quality rations and weak co-ordination between the National Coronavirus Taskforce, the Uganda National Bureau of Standards and the Office of the Prime Minister.