KAMPALA, Uganda, February 2, 2023/ — The Leader of the Opposition in Parliament (LOP), Hon Mathias Mpuuga, wants Parliament to institute an inquest into the management of the pensions fund for retired civil servants.
Meeting members of the Uganda Parliamentary Forum on Social Protection who called on him on Wednesday, 01 February 2023, Mpuuga said that it is important for Parliament to interest itself in the management of the budget allocations for the fund since cases of delayed pension payments or embezzlement of pension funds are on the increase.
“What we handle in the budget is to show how much more the Government is going to commit, and it is not that whatever they commit goes instantly. So on which account is that money? How is it spent?” Mpuuga wondered further adding that the pension fund is one of the most abused public resources.
“There are complaints from different corners and it is shocking that pensioners take ages without getting their pension money,” the LOP said.
The meeting in the LOP’s boardroom at Parliament House was intended for the forum to share its position paper on social protection financing in the National Budget Framework Paper for the Financial Year 2023/2024 with the Opposition leadership in Parliament.
The forum’s chairperson, Hon. Flavia Kabahenda (NRM, Kyegegwa District Woman MP), said that they looked forward to the Opposition’s support for a parliamentary vote to task the finance ministry to revoke the blanket 80 per cent cut on subventions which has mostly affected social protection interventions.
Besides, the forum also calls for a policy shift in the management of support to people with disabilities and children in remand homes to allow for local procurement and avoid misuse of public funds through unrealistic procurement processes.
“Parliament should not be used by people seeking to fill their pockets,” Kabahenda said, adding, “The food for the remand homes [across the country] is bought in Kampala and then transported to [the various remand homes] but the fuel and per diem is more than the food they are carrying to those areas.”
The forum also wants Parliament to compel the government to reinstate the Shs 121 billion budget meant for the Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment (SAGE) to meet the demands including payment of arrears amounting to Shs 5.1 billion.