PUBLIC universities are facing a funding gap of sh67b this financial year, MPs learnt yesterday.
The heads of the five state-owned universities asked the Government to avail the funds to enable them provide quality education to their students.
Makerere University suffers the biggest shortfall of sh50b.
The vice-chancellor of Makerere University, Prof. Livingstone Luboobi, said the salary enhancement that was effected last year following a strike by the academic staff was partly responsible for the shortfall.
As a result, he said, sh8b was diverted from other faculties to cater for the salary increment.
Makerere submitted a budget of sh147b but only sh97b has been earmarked.
Kyambogo University has a shortfall of sh8b, Gulu University sh4b, Busitema sh3b and Mbarara sh2b.
The university heads, led by State Minister for Higher Education, Gabriel Opio, were appearing before the committee to defend their policy statements for the 2007/08 financial year.
â€œHaving such a big shortfall for public universities is a sign of poor planning and management by crisis,â€ Rukiga County MP Sam Byanagwa (NRM) said.
MPs wondered how the universities would cope with deficits following the Governmentâ€™s proposal to increase the number of state-sponsored students from 5,800 to 10,000.
They argued that scrapping the funding of studentâ€™s welfare while increasing the intake was a bad planning policy that needed to be revisited.
The other heads included Kyambogo Universityâ€™s vice-chancellor Prof. Lutalo Bbosa, Gulu Universityâ€™s secretary Vicente Okoth, the deputy vice-chancellor of Mbarara University, Prof. Jonathan Baranga and Prof. Mary Okwakol, the head of the task force management committee of Busitema University.
Public universities in sh67b shortfall