The Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, has asked the Committee on Education and Sports to avail Shs52.9 billion in its new budget to renovate facilities at the colleges of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine.
He made the call while appearing before MPs, on Monday, 17 April 2023.
According to Nawangwe, the university’s graduate students in veterinary medicine have been suspended from the Uganda Veterinary Board, owing to inadequate training facilities of the college.
He added that the Medical and Dental Practitioners Council recently warned that it would halt the registration of medical graduates due to among others, inadequate staffing at the colleges of medicine.
“The President gave a directive to avail funds to improve facilities at all medical schools in Uganda but the funding has not been realised. We request the Committee to pay special attention to these issues and help the University to resolve them,” Nawangwe said.
He said the funding can be phased by providing Shs10 billion annually, and maintaining the base for five years.
“We do not need all the money in one year, but we should be given some money to begin with, so that these Councils can see that we are putting in some effort,” Nawangwe added.
The committee chairperson, Hon. John Twesigye, observed that funding to support the College of Medicine at Makerere University had previously been catered for.
“There is money that was appropriated by the 10th Parliament for the Dental School. Why didn’t the college of Veterinary Medicine come out to raise their concern?” Twesigye asked.
He tasked the university to set up an infrastructure sustainability plan to ensure that the renovated facilities remain well maintained.
Hon. Phiona Nyamutoro (NRM, Youth National Representative) asked the university to present a detailed utilisation plan for the Shs52.9 billion, to enable the committee appreciate the task at hand.
“The Vice Chancellor mentioned that they do not need the money for renovation of the medical colleges at once, so it would be proper if they provided a breakdown on the phases and how they intend to go about it,” she said.
Hon. Joseph Ssewungu (R), the Kalungu West County MP and also a member of the committee speaking at the meeting
Hon. Agnes Acibu (NRM, Nebbi District Woman Representative) alluded to country’s economy, saying that the university ought to put forward priorities that need to be capitalised on while budgeting for the institution in the new financial year.
“When information reaches students that who fall under this docket that they cannot be a part of these Councils, they can get affected psychologically. I am calling upon us [MPs] to do the needful and arrest this situation before it is too late,” said Acibu.
Kashari County South MP, Hon. Nathan Twesigye, emphasised the need to carry out field visits to the university so as to appreciate the magnitude of the challenges faced by Makerere University.
He also queried the outputs of discussions from the Uganda Vice Chancellors’ Forum.
“How binding are your discussions and resolutions from this forum? We should have a copy of your resolutions because it is as if you only discuss your individual universities and do not look at these cross-cutting issues like budget cuts,” Itungo said.
While presenting the university budget estimates for Financial Year 2023/2024, the University Secretary, Yusuf Kiranda, called on Parliament to approve a budget of Shs367.8 billion and off-the-budget financing estimates of Shs187.37 billion.
He said this will enable an increase on the rate of food and living-out allowances for government-sponsored students, protection of university land, as well as promotion of academic staff