Outrage As Allowances Get Lion Share Of Nakasongola COVID 19 Budget

The District Task Force chaired by Dan Muganga the Resident District Commissioner also unanimously resolved to spend 49.2 million shillings on monitoring adherence to COVID 19 SOPs.
A summary of Nakasongola District COVID 19 response budget.
Nakasongola District leaders have raised concern about the allocation of huge chunks of covid-19 funds to sitting and fuel allowances.

According to the Nakasongola district COVID 19 Status report, at least 403 patients have tested positive for the virus and only 116 have recovered and 13 have died. About 28 health workers have also tested positive for COVID 19.

Recently Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development released funds to districts to functionalize task forces, buy medical supplies, office fumigation and cater for allowances of staff.

Nakasongola district received 295 Million Shillings and the District Task Force on COVID 19 has approved the supplementary budget for the fight against the virus.

According to the budget obtained by URN Reporter, 26 members of the District Task Force will pocket 15.6 million shillings while members of the sub the county task forces have been allocated 21.9 million shillings and Village task force members 36.3 million shillings in sitting allowances.

The District Task Force chaired by Dan Muganga the Resident District Commissioner also unanimously resolved to spend 49.2 million shillings on monitoring adherence to COVID 19 Standard OPs.

The Village Health Teams have been allocated 108 million shillings for detecting COVID 19 cases and deaths. Each of 363 VHTs will get 100,000 shillings for three planned days.

The Task Force allocated only 9.4 million shillings to investigate COVID 19 cases, eight million shillings for ambulance services and 14 million shillings to repair vehicles among other funds for coordination of COVID 19.

But the allocations of funds has attracted outrage from local leaders and residents. They argue that the budget is intended at benefitting the officials rather than the residents in the fight against the fight.

Charles Bogere the Former District Councillor says that the largest budget was supposed to go medical supplies and equipping Nakasongola Health Center IV is handling COVID 19 patients.

Bogere says that the health centre is struggling with limited beds to admit patients as well as limited drugs but it was unfortunate to see task forces pocketing sitting allowances.

Bashir Bisaaso the District Councilor for Kazwama town council says that so much has been shared among the officials and leaders at the district headquarters yet the Village Health Teams which are doing a good job in advancing home-based care have been allocated inadequate allowances.

Bisaaso explains that apart from 100,000 shillings allocated to VHTs, they are no protective gears provided for them in budget yet they play a great role in identifying COVID 19 patients and alerting district officials.

Bisaaso adds that other funds could go towards buying protective gear for health workers in health centres II and IIIs but this is not catered for.

Nathan Musoke the LCI Chairman of Wabigalo village says that village task forces don’t need allowances but want to see residents accessing drugs in health centres and provision of fuel in ambulances to refer patients to hospitals.

Musoke says that many people are located in remote villages and in case they have signs related to COVID 19, these may fail to reach health centers for treatment hence dying there.

Musoke wondered if eight million allocated on the ambulances is enough for fuel to respond to such emergencies.

Samuel Mubiru a resident in Nakasongola town says that so much money could go towards helping patients in home-based care to buy food and drugs since they are not financially stable. "Some people are advised to isolate in homes but they don't have money to buy food. Why can't such funds for monitoring and sitting allowances help to provide food items to such sick persons ?" Mubiru questioned

Other leaders questioned the double facilitation of Resident District Commissioner yet the office of President disbursed funds for fuel.

A member of the task force who preferred anonymity said that it was morally unacceptable to earn allowances yet meetings are held at district headquarters where they all work daily.

“The public looks at us as selfish, greedy, and insensitive to their needs if we take such allowances in disguise that we are fighting the virus,” the official sai.

Sam Kigula the LCV Chairman of Nakasongola and Dan Muganga the Resident District Commissioner didn’t pick calls to comment on the budget.

Alex Felix Majeme the Nakasongola District Chief Administrative Officer also declined to comment on the budget.

But Sunday Rogers Bwanga the District Speaker says that people need to appreciate the fact the money was disbursed with specific guidelines making it difficult to spend outside what the government planned them for.

“My only concern is about the unfair allocation of allowances whereby village task forces will receive less compared to district task forces yet meeting are held within their offices where they sit daily,” Bwanga said.

The District has since submitted the budget to the Ministry of Finance for the issue of cash limit, warrant and thereafter they start spending it.

In Luwero and Nakaseke, officials dillydallied the reporter when he asked them details on the breakdown of their supplementary budgets for COVID 19 response funds.

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