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Foreign Affairs Ministers Tired of Begging for Money -Oryem

The Ministry has been allocated 30 billion Shillings out of a 58 billion Shillings request to facilitate its activities for the Financial year 2021-2022. Based on the shortfall, Oryem says they are frustrated by the failure by their counterparts in finance to prioritise diplomatic work and fund it appropriately.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Headquarters

Audio 3

The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Henry Okello Oryem has said they are tired of pleading for money from the Ministry of Finance.

The Ministry has been allocated 30 billion Shillings out of a 58 billion Shillings request to facilitate its activities for the Financial year 2021-2022. Based on the shortfall, Oryem says they are frustrated by the failure by their counterparts in finance to prioritise diplomatic work and fund it appropriately.

Oryem and the Permanent Secretary Patrick Mugoya were appearing before the Parliamentary Committee of Foreign Affairs, for a review of the National Budget Framework Paper for the best financial year.

Oryem told the committee that on several occasions, Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa has used his own resources to support his official trips and facilitate diplomatic work which ideally should be financed by the state.  Oryem also says that the situation is worse in the embassies, where staff have to part with their own money to save Ugandans who are stranded abroad.

“It’s unfair for my senior Minister to use his own resources, the senior minister used his own money to buy me a ticket, this is even worse in the embassies were people have to use their money,” he said.

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Oryem says that they have failed, for instance, to host ambassadors at the Ministry headquarters in Kampala when they return home for the Christmas Holiday. He says sometimes they are looking forward to strategic partnerships and talks which can be through dinner meetings and engagements, which the Ministry of Finance has outrightly rejected.

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He says several times, tables and seats reserved for Ugandan delegates have remained empty at international meetings because the Ministry of Finance has cut down on travel expenses, yet the docket, under its work, cannot operate without travels and networking.

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Oryem pleaded with the committee chaired by MP Hood Katuramu Kiribedda, to address the matter with the Ministry of Finance. He added that the Ministry of Finance does not want to hear any success story from Rwanda among others on how they have heavily invested in diplomacy and networking.

Kawempe North MP Latiff Ssebagala said the committee needs to meet the President and the Finance Ministry over the same, because, even its members have faced the same challenge whenever there is a need for travel abroad.

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The Minister of Finance Matia Kasaija told Uganda Radio Network that the Ministry should not get tired of asking for money. "When you are thirsty, you do not stop going to the well to fetch water. Do you stop going and saying this well, this well is very far or bad, I will not go back?" Kasaija questioned.