The Equal Opportunities Commission is a constitutional body established by the Equal Opportunities Commission Act of 2007 to give effect to the state’s constitutional mandate to eliminate discrimination and inequalities against any individual or group of persons.
FINANCE | EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES COMMISSION
The Equal Opportunities Commission has asked the Government to increase its annual budget to sh12b up from sh7b, saying the current budgetary allocation barely enables them carry out their work.
The plea is contained in the Commission's current annual report on the state of equal opportunities in Uganda for the financial year 2016/17 that was launched by the Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala yesterday.
The budget increase, according to the Commission, will among other things, address some of the challenges it is currently grappling with, notably, difficulty in reaching all the 116 districts through the Commission's secretariat in Kampala.
"This challenge can only be addressed by establishing at least four regional offices. Last financial year alone, the Commission registered 291 complaints of which 62% (181) were from the central region in comparison to one percent from northern region.
"Few complaints were registered from other regions, not because of limited cases of discrimination and marginalization, but rather due to inaccessibility," the report notes.
The Equal Opportunities Commission is a constitutional body established by the Equal Opportunities Commission Act of 2007 to give effect to the state's constitutional mandate to eliminate discrimination and inequalities against any individual or group of persons and take affirmative action in favour of marginalised groups.
The commission currently receives complaints through various means, including walk-ins, emails, sensitisation meetings and awareness campaigns.
The nature of complaints, according to the report, are mainly related to issues of property rights (35.4%), land rights (26.4%) and employment (22.3%).
Other cases it receives includes fair hearing (7.3%), economic rights (4.56%) and family matters (4%).
Out of the complaints registered, 51% were by females and 49 by their male counterparts.
However, according to Sylvia Muwebwa Ntambi, the EOC chairperson, although the commission is expected to reach out to various parts of the country to administer justice with reference to the complaints lodged from the different vulnerable and marginalised groups, it lacks a tribunal fund.
"There are no funds to efficiently and effectively facilitate tribunal activities as provided under the EOC Act, 2007. The ministry of public service has approved a new staffing structure for the commission. But there is a wage gap of sh1.7b per annum for the approved structure," Muwebwa said.
She said the delayed fulfillment of this plan will delay a rollout plan of ensuring compliance to equal opportunities and affirmative action among both state and non-state institutions, consequently hindering efforts towards inclusive growth and development.