The office of the President is seeking a budgetary allocation of 12.33 billion Shillings to renovate the State House in Entebbe and 23 upcountry State lodges.
Constructed in 2007, the State House in Entebbe has had no major rehabilitation works and needs a retouch, State Minister for Economic Monitoring Peter Ogwang told the Presidential Affairs Committee of Parliament.
“Ever since the Entebbe State House was constructed 15 years ago, no major renovation has been done, and some of us who go there can confirm that it needs major renovation,” Ogwang said. He added that the State lodges also require rehabilitation to facilitate the President to carry out upcountry engagements.
Ogwang tabled the request while presenting the State House policy statement for the financial year 2022/2023. The committees of Parliament are currently scrutinizing the National Budget Framework Paper that was tabled before parliament by the Minister of Finance in December.
During the discussion, the committee also advised the State House to increase the budget for the Presidential Initiative on model villages, saying the two billion Shillings allocated to the program is insufficient and has had no impact.
“The entire country has been operating only on two billion, as such if you go to villages you will not see any model village, the two billion is spent on operations and management,” committee chairperson Jessica Ababiku said. She added that it was critical for State House to note that failure of presidential initiatives has a bearing on the image of the President, a reason they should push for adequate funds to have the model villages desired.
Meanwhile, MPs also raised concern over the several government agencies engaged in monitoring government programs and wondered if it was not a duplication of duties and a waste of resources.
In response, Ogwang said he was working in coordination with the State House Anti-corruption unit, the office of Inspector General of Government and the Uganda Police Force. He explained that this was a new and effective way of fighting corruption because it eliminates the chances of corruption perpetrators compromising an individual agency.
“There are some people who feel untouchable that when you send one agency, it fails to perform, as such we now have a team with technical people from the relevant anti-corruption organs,” he added. The committee gave the Minister up to Friday 14, January 2022 to provide the committee with a revised budget paper entailing Parliament’s recommendations and justification.