Parliament suspends debate on Private Teachers’ relief Cash Disbursement citing corruption

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Deputy Speaker Anita Among; Parliament Photo

Renewed hope for temporary relief cash for private school teachers courtesy of a generous NGO, also suffered a setback today after parliament suspended debate on disbursement procedure citing corruption in government agencies and ministries handling the cash transfers.

This followed the presentation of a statement to parliament by the minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development (MoGLSD), Hon Betty Amongi, indicating dismal progress in the implementation of the long-awaited transfer of 30BN donated by an NGO to teachers who were greatly affected by COVID-19 containment measures when the schools closed leaving them without any source of livelihood.

Under the program currently undertaken by MoGLSD, 300,000 primary and secondary school teachers across the country were expected to receive UGX100,000 each. The legislators were however told that majority of the teachers will have to wait a little longer due to delays in data collecting and related challenges.

According to the minister, as at 7:20pm, 31″t January 2022, only 11,531 teachers (3.8%) out of the targeted 300,000 beneficiaries across the country had submitted details required for eligibility to benefit under the program. Amongi also said, an inter-Ministerial Oversight Technical Committee with membership from MoGLSD, [VloES, OPM, MoLG, MolA, ISO, MoJCA, and NITA-U) was constituted and is overseeing implementation of the Program.

The minister stated that MoGLSD has issued a Circular providing implementation guidelines to the KCCA Executive Director, Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs) and Town Clerks and an Online Data Collection System has been upgraded with support from the National information Technology Authority- Uganda (NITA-U) to facilitate efficient collection,
verification and transmission of the data required. She also appealed for MPs’ support in mobilization of beneficiaries claiming that the process has partly been hampered by lack of digital skills by some of the Head teachers and poor internet connection in some remote areas.

But MPs quickly raised suspicion over the delays occasioned by bureaucracy in government and the history of corruption as witnessed during the process to issue covid-19 relief cash last year demanding for a detailed report of the process and an elaborate mechanism of cash distribution.

“We have all evidence to prove that the many people who were supposed to get money during COVID but did not get it. Rt Honorable Speaker we have now another avenue open. I am now suspicious; are there some people in government who just find opportunity of finding free cash or what? We want a report of what happened with the first lot of cash distribution!” Hon Cecilia Ogwal said… “Allow me Hon Speaker to put it on record that I reject this move.”

Subsequently, the shadow minister for education Hon Brenda Nabukenya, shadow Attoney General Winfred Niwagaba, Hon Barnabas Tinkasimire echoed their dissatisfaction over the process until Hon Sarah Opendi moved a motion staying debate on the statement by the Gender minister on the cash transfer to teachers in private schools until after PAC and LGPAC reports on covid funds are disposed of by the house.

The presiding speaker Rt Hon Anita Amongi ruled that the hose should first receive and debate the reports from the probe which was conducted by the Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) and Local Government Accounts Committee on covid relief cash and later proceed with a discussion on the minister’s statement on private teachers cash.

Amongi said the house needs to identify the mistakes government made in the first disbursement before another batch of funds is disbursed. “Lets not just give out money and then tomorrow you come lamenting” Amongi said.

The PAC report is expected in the house on Thursday and debate on the ministers statement will come later.

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