Muhakanzi said there is no money to manage the Corona Virus emergency once it reaches the country. He said that the matter was discussed in Cabinet on Monday as well as the issue of locusts, saying Cabinet approved the release of Shillings 15 billion from the Contingency Fund for the locust preparedness.
Accounts Committee of Parliament-PAC has on Tuesday afternoon that government
lacks money to handle any emergency that would arise from the Corona
The Secretary to the Treasury, Keith Muhakanizi
revealed this while appearing before PAC to respond to queries in the 2017/2018
and 2018/2019 financial year Auditor General’s report.
It came after the Committee members led by the PAC Chairperson, Nathan Nandala Mafabi asked Muhakanizi whether
government was ready to handle the Corona Virus emergency should it spread to
Uganda as well as locusts.
The epidemic broke out in China, which has since registered
over 4593 cases and more than 200 deaths. 56 cases have so far been confirmed
in Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand,
Nepal, Sri Lanka, USA, Canada, France and Germany.
According to experts, Corona virus presents with flu-like
symptoms, fever, cough, and shortness in breath and in severe cases pneumonia, acute
respiratory syndrome and kidney failure. The strain of the virus is new and hasn’t been
identified in humans previously.
While responding to the Committee, Muhakanzi
said there is no money to manage the Corona Virus emergency once it reaches the country. He said
that the matter was discussed in Cabinet on Monday as well as the issue of
locusts, saying Cabinet approved the release of Shillings 15 billion from the
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Nandala directed that the Finance Ministry to avail his
committee with a bank statement for the Contingency Fund to ascertain how the money
has been utilized on different emergencies.
This stems from reports by the Accountant
General, Lawrence Ssemakula indicating that besides the Shillings 15 billion
withdrawn for the locusts, government also withdrew money for Bududa mudslide
victims and roads.
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Muhakanzi’s revelation comes a few days after
the Health Ministry indicated that it had equipped Entebbe and Naguru Regional
referral hospitals to handle any suspected cases of Corona Virus if they arise.
Charles Olaro, the Ag. Director-General of
Health Services noted that although they hadn’t registered any case of Corona Virus,
they are on high alert because of the heavy number of Ugandans traveling to and
Some of the measures being considered by the ministry include
setting up screening points at the airport and a
national task force that has already been activated to handle any arising cases.
The ministry is also considering a sensitisation campaign in collaboration with
Civil Aviation Authority-CAA for all airport staff on the risk of the disease
and its symptoms.
In a statement issued on Tuesday last week, the
World Health Organisation-WHO revealed that their scientists are studying the
samples provided by China to understand the virus better and establish ways to
limit its transmission.
"While the current understanding of the disease
remains limited, most cases reported to date have been milder, with around 20%
of those infected experiencing severe illness", read a statement from WHO.