The Committee on Health wants Parliament to reverse its decision to trim off Shs113.14 billion from the health sector budget saying it will affect key interventions.
The committee led by the Chairperson Dr Charles Ayume was on Tuesday, 25 January 2022 appearing before the Budget Committee of Parliament to present the report on the National Budget Framework Paper for the financial year 2022/2023.
The proposed budget for the health sector for the financial year is Shs2.2 trillion, which translates into a decrease of Shs1.1 trillion for the financial year 2021/2022.
According to Dr Ayume, the committee was informed that the Ministry of Finance was proposing to raise additional funding through rationalisation of various budgets for agencies across several votes, consequently, Shs113.14 billion was slashed off the health sector budget. Shillings 80 billion was cut from National Medical Stores (NMS), Shs5 billion from Uganda Heart Institute, Shs15.6 billion from Ministry of Health, Shs4.2 billion from the Uganda Virus Research Institute, Shs0.75 billion from the Uganda Blood Transfusion Services (UBTS), Shs6.8 billion from Mulago National Referral Hospital and 0.68 billion from the Uganda Aids Commission.
According to Ayume, although the committee supports every efforts by the Government to raise additional resources to implement critical priorities in line with the National Development Plan (NDP) III, implementing the decision will affect the work of the Ministry.
“The committee recommends that Parliament reverse this proposal and instead have these funds saved under the various votes to which they were earmarked to finance the critical interventions planned in the financial year 2022/2023 under the various agencies,” Ayume asked the committee.
According to Ayume, the sector has several unfunded and underfunded priorities amounting to Shs 1.8 trillion. Some of the affected items include; a funding gap of Shs 27 billion to procure 100 vehicles for consultants, Shs50 billion to rehabilitee dilapidated health facilities, Shs70 billion to minimize stockout for essential medicines and health supplies.
Others are; Shs92 billion for specialized medicines for Mulago Hospital, and Shs139 billion for diagnostic equipment needs at Regional Referral Hospitals, Government Hospitals, and Health Centre IVs.
Members of the budget committee equally expressed concern over the budget cuts.
Hon Gyavira Ssemwanga (NRM, Buyamba) said the budget was being cut at a critical time when there is need to fight COVID-19 but also equip health centers.
“The UVRI is at the center of research on COVID-19. I do not see why you should cut their budget and yet they are key in this fight against COVID-19,” Gyavira said.
Hon Sylvia Nayebale, the District Woman MP Gomba, said the proposal to cut the budget of the different health entities should be reversed.
“I call upon members to support the committee so that Parliament can reverse the proposal and the different entities retain their funds because this is a very critical sector,” Nayebale said.
The Vice-Chairperson of the Budget Committee, Ignatius Mudimi Wamakuyu, said the committee would consider the proposals and also invite the chairpersons to attend the final meeting to see which entities to prioritise.
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