Parliament’s Budget Committee on Monday agreed to approve a total of 21 billion Shillings to compensate the Church of Uganda -COU for its land taken by government to expand Entebbe International Airport.
Parliament’s Budget Committee on Monday agreed to
approve a total of 21 billion Shillings budget meant to compensate the Church
of Uganda -COU for its land taken by government to expand Entebbe
The committee had earlier rejected this request from
the Ministry of Finance that was part of a bigger 3.8 trillion Supplementary
Legislators sitting on the Budget Committee on Monday
held a closed meeting and agreed to sign a report approving the funds for the
church land. The report is expected to be presented before the House on Tuesday
during a plenary sitting for consideration.
The Budget Committee Vice Chairperson, Ignatius
Mudimi Wamakuyu confirmed the development saying that this outstanding arrears
totaling 21.25 billion Shillings will compensate the Church of Uganda for their
land used by government to expand the Entebbe Airport and establish Ministry of
He explains that his committee earlier halted the approval
of the money following a technical problem that was detected. Wamakuyu says
that the request was put under the Ministry of Lands budget but when asked to
justify the money, the Ministry officials were ignorant about the request.
Wamakuyu says that by the time, the Ministry of
Finance wrote to the committee indicating that the request is transferred under
the Uganda Land Commission budget, his committee had concluded its report and
already supplied to MPs.
“So that is why we are revisiting this item that was
straight forward but not considered at the time,” he said.
Wamakuyu further said that the money is urgently
required by Church of Uganda since the institution also has outstanding
obligations to settle.
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Igara East MP, Michael Mawanda also noted that this
supplementary budget was just deferred pending additional information from the
Ministry of Finance
He said that the Budget committee has now deemed it
necessary to clear the funds.
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Mawanda added that government ought to pay this
money to the Church of Uganda which is also in debt regarding the Church House
building along Kampala road. He says that this money will be a big relief
towards the debt.
The Church of Uganda, led by the Archbishop, the Most
Rev. Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu is currently undertaking fundraising to clear the
48 billion Shillings debt for the Church House building located along Kampala
Equity Bank extended 41 billion Shillings to the
Church of Uganda towards the construction of the 16- storey building and
currently is owed 40 Billion Shillings. The 8 Billion Shillings is owed to
different individuals and entities.
Kaziimba has in the past said that completing the
debt will help the Church in its self-governance drive.
In 2017, Equity Bank threatened to take over the
structure which was valued at 58.8 Billion Shillings upon completion. In 2018,
the Bank again threatened to auction the building after the Church failed to
service its loan and accumulated arrears.
To construct the building, Christians and well-wishers contributed about 10.8
Billion Shillings through fundraising but since the money was inadequate, the
Church acquired a loan from Equity Bank through its business arm, the Church
Commissioners Holding Company Limited in 2010.