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Parliament to scrutinize Covid-19 relief funds

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The Premier, Hon Nabbanja with the Health Minister, Ruth Aceng during the sitting of the House

The Premier, Hon Nabbanja with the Health Minister, Ruth Aceng during the sitting of the House

KAMPALA — The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among has directed the Public Accounts Committees on Central Governments and the Local Governments to scrutinise the list of beneficiaries for the Covid-19 relief funds.

Among made the directive after the Rt Hon Prime Minister, Robinah Nabbanja tabled before Parliament, lists of the cash beneficiaries from various cities and municipalities. This was after Nabbanja had presented a statement on the status of the Covid-19 relief funds on Wednesday, 21 July 2020.

“Iam ordering PAC Local Government and Central Government to ascertain whether those are the right beneficiaries for the “Nabbanja money” and report back to the House,” Among said.

Nabbanja said that a total of 413,504 beneficiary records had been submitted to the bank and paid over shs 41.3 billion representing 82.5 per cent. Nabbanja added that out of the total 510,107 records submitted to the Ministry, 87,603 persons did not pass the verification.
“Those with invalid National ID numbers, numbers registered under different names,unregistered phone numbers and non-mobile registered numbers have been sent back to the cities/ municipalities for correction before payment can be done,” she said.

Government released shs53.5 billion as relief for 500,000 targeted persons to support them through the second lockdown.

The targeted groups included bus/taxi drivers, conductors, baggage carriers, wheelbarrow pushers and touts. The others are traffic guides and loaders in taxi and bus parks and stages among others.

The Leader of the Opposition, Hon Mathias Mpuuga while responding to the statement said the criteria used by government to identify the beneficiaries was wanting.

“Many of the workers who earn on a daily have not been included on the list. For instance, the shop attendants in the closed arcades are not included. They earn a daily living,” he added.

He added that apart from food aid other costs had not been included such as, rent, water, electricity or even medical care.

Bukooli County North MP, Hon. Stephen Baka Mugabi said that many towns were left out and demanded to know the criteria used for selecting boda boda riders and saloon owners.

“At what point did we agree that the boda boda riders and saloon owners were only found in the big cities. My constituents and other small towns were not considered,” Mugabi said.

Hon. Joel Senyonyi (NUP, Nakawa West) noted that the money has not been distributed as promised.

“The Minister should be clear on when the distribution of cash will end. The dates keep changing. In Nakawa, 27,633 homes were to benefit from the aid but as we talk today, only half of these have received aid,” he added.

Hon Anne Adeke (FDC, Soroti City) said that there was discrimination of the vulnerable people and many had been left out.

“I note with concern the discriminatory approach by government to identify beneficiaries of the Covid-19 relief. I would like the Prime Minister to respond to the concerns raised by the Public, that the relief was distributed along party lines,” she said.

The debate on the Covid-19 sticking issues will continue with the presentation of the report of the Parliament Taskforce Committee which is traversing the country to ascertain the level of preparedness for handling the pandemic.

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