Twenty three ministries and government bodies are to undergo budget cuts as the MPs and the Executive agreed to give the health ministry an additional sh49.54b.
By Joyce Namutebi and Henry Sekanjako
Twenty three ministries and government bodies are to undergo budget cuts as the MPs and the Executive agreed to give the health ministry additional sh49.54b.
The agreement brought to an end a week-long protracted debate on the issue.
Of this, sh6.5b will cater for recruitment of 6,172 health centre personnel, Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi said on Tuesday.
He told MPs that on instructions of Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga on Thursday, the Executive and the budget committee met and agreed on the additional financing for the health sector. They, he added, had since held several consultations before harmonising their positions.
There was heated exchange between the MPs and the Government as they tried to reach a mutually agreeable position.
Mbabazi assured them that the Government would provide additional sh49.54b for recruitment and remuneration of health workers for health centres.
“We all agreed on the urgent need to improve the health care in the country. Therefore, we shall now address the human resource challenges so as to have a properly functioning system at the local government level throughout the country,” he said.
“We have managed to struggle and get sufficient funds to embark on the recruitment of a total of 6,172 health personnel.
Accordingly, we have managed to identify additional sh6.5b as seed money to enable the Ministry of Health to start on this endeavour,” Mbabazi said, in his statement to the House.
He said this will be provided by the Ministry of Finance through a supplementary well -costed work plan.
Personnel to be recruited are senior medical officers, medical officers, senior clinical officers, clinical officers, anesthetic assistants, enrolled nurses, enrolled midwives, laboratory technicians, nursing officers and midwives.
The ministries to suffer the budget cuts to raise the sh6.5b as public service, justice, lands, trade, works, energy, gender, water, Local Government, information and tourism. Government bodies include the National Planning Authority, Uganda Tourism Board, Uganda Registration Services Bureau, KCCA, Local Government Finance Commission and NEMA.
Others are NAADS secretariat, Uganda National Bureau of Standards, Uganda Cotton Development Organisation, Uganda Land Commission, National Forestry Authority and Uganda Coffee Development Authority.
He said medical officers working at Health Centre III will earn sh2.5m per month, including an enhanced consolidated allowance.
At Health Centre IV, the Government will employ two medical doctors and 47 other professional workers and support staff while at Health Centre III, a total of 19 health workers and support staff.
He said sh3b will cover the recruitment process costs while sh3.5b is available to pay the wage bill of the people recruited.
Health minister Dr. Christine Ondoa told Parliament that besides the recruitment ban, one other challenge has been the poor remuneration of doctors.
“That is why we have not been attracting and retaining doctors at Health Centre IVs which was not covered by the recruitment ban,” she said.
Aruu county MP Odonga Otto said there were 507 unfulfilled government promises and that giving only health workers was being selective.
Cecilia Ogwal, the Woman MP for Dokolo said the supplementary budget is not allowed according to the Budget Act because it preempts Parliament actions
The chairman of the health committee, Sam Lyomoki, said the move was a positive direction for the people of Uganda.
Emmanuel Ddombo, the MP for Bunyole County, said more mothers would die if the budget had been postponed again.
Tim Lwanga MP Kyamuswa agreed that the proposal presented by the Prime Minister was acceptable.
Betty Amongi said the committee on health sat with the Ministry of Health and gave a detailed work plan that is why it had recommended sh260b and was shocked that the Prime Minister was asking for a new workplan.
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga said they need to save the country from the budget tension by passing it as soon as possible.
Govt to recruit 6,172 health workers - Mbabazi