KAMPALA, Uganda, January 14, 2022/APO Group/ —
The officials led by General Jeje Odongo, the minister, appeared on Thursday, January 13, 2022, before the Foreign Affairs Committee on the sector budget framework document for the fiscal year 2022/23.
“We have written to the Ministry of Finance about this. There was a situation where we were transporting a guest and the car broke down. It was an embarrassment for our VIP. This is not business as usual: Foreign Affairs needs its fleet to take care of dignitaries,” Bagiire said.
Bagiire revealed to the committee that they are still waiting for a response from the ministry.
Hon Lucy Akello, the Amuru Woman MP asked if the team has been raising this issue since 2007 with the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.
“As you continually use these vehicles, do you send complaints to the Ministry of Works and Transport saying that this has been long overdue so that we also know that you have taken it very seriously?” Akello asked.
Hon Richard Lumu (DP, Mityana County South) questioned why the ministry does not have its own fleet.
“Why don’t we budget for the Foreign Ministry to acquire its fleet since they are the ones who manage these dignitaries?” Lumo said.
During the interaction with the committee, the minister, General Jeje Odongo, told the parliamentarians that the classification of the Ministry as consumptive has led to continuous budget cuts that prohibit much work.
He says that they are discussing with the National Planning Authority (NPA) and the Ministry of Finance to change this as it is affecting the work of the Ministry.
“All the time we have been complaining about inadequate resources, and yet in this budget circular, there is an additional deduction of resources that we have been complaining about not being enough. This is due to the misunderstanding that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as classified by the NPA, is a consumptive Ministry,” he said.
Gen. Odongo demonstrated that they are not simply consumptive but also generate income for the country through their coordinating role.
“As a result of our coordination, we have enabled entities in Uganda to reach agreements, sign contracts in the amount of US$2 billion,” he said.
He says that as a result, travel for staff at headquarters and embassies has been reduced by as much as 16.1 billion shs, which has affected their travel to engage in diplomacy, a core element of his mandate.
Hon Fred Opolot, Pingire County MP, said the ministry’s classification as consumptive has been going on for a long time. “As a committee, we view this as a serious matter,” he said.
Committee Chair Hon Norah Bigirwa (NRM, Buliisa District Woman) said they will address the matter and engage with the NPA and the ministry.
Bigirwa reported that Parliament supports the Ministry to acquire a US$2.5 million building in Canberra, Australia, which houses the Ugandan High Commission, which is for sale.
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