The Office of the President is seeking an additional 61.77 billion Shillings to fund the 2021 swearing-in ceremony for the president-elect and facilitation of Resident District Commissioners (RDCs).
The request was tabled yesterday afternoon before Parliament’s Presidential Affairs Committee by the Minister in charge of the presidency Esther Mbayo.
“Presidential elections are due in February 2021 and the swearing-in ceremony will automatically follow in May 2021. However, the required funding has not been availed in the budget to meet the cost of this activity,” Mbayo said.
She added that her office had received a budget allocation of only 7.7 billion Shillings for the facilitation of RDCs out of the required 11.2 billion leaving a funding gap of 3.5 billion Shillings. According to the Minister, the facilitation for RDCs has not experienced any enhancement for a long time despite the increase in the number of districts.
Besides the funding for the swearing-in ceremony and RDCs, Mbayo also requested for 924 billion Shillings for the procurement of medals. In her justification, she said that the stock of medals especially Honours bestowed on visiting Heads of State and Government has run out.
The honours include the Most Excellent Order of the Pearl of Africa, the Excellent Order of the Pearl of Africa, the Distinguished Order of the Pearl of Africa and the Distinguished Order of the Nile and others.
“There is a risk of putting His Excellence the President to untold embarrassment should he fail to decorate an invited Head of State or Government with the appropriate National Honor,” she added.
The other activities for which the Presidency requires funding are implementation of manifesto commitments and conducting camps to evaluate their status (2 billion), settlement of former Nakawa-Naguru tenants to avert possible litigation costs for government’s failure to adhere to the signed Memorandum of Understanding (40 billion) and others.
The others are establishment of Apex platform to strengthen the participation of the Presidency in the Public Investment Management System (6 billion Shillings) and monitoring of cabinet decisions (2.34 billion Shillings).
Mbayo told the committee that Cabinet approves over 23,000 decisions annually but there is no independent mechanism to verify reports submitted by Ministries, Departments and Agencies during the review of matters arising from cabinet sessions. She said that there is need to provide funds to enable Cabinet Secretariat to independently verify the reports submitted.
Michael Tusiime, the Mbarara Municipality MP said that the rest of the unfunded priorities can wait and government first addresses the issue of the coming 2021 general election and implement the campaign manifesto.
David Bahati, the Minister of State for Planning said that resources for the swearing-in ceremony will be availed in the final budget. He however said that the country has many financial demands compared to the proposed 39.6 trillion Shillings budget for the coming financial year 2020/2021.