The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is seeking Parliament’s approval of a supplementary budget of Shs1.3 billion to enhance security of the Uganda Embassy in Mogadishu and the maintenance of Uganda House in New York.
The Ministry’s request was presented to the Budget Committee by the Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Hon. Norah Nyendwoha on Tuesday, 22 March 2023.
Nyendowha said Uganda’s Embassy in Mogadishu was experiencing constant attacks by the Al-Shabaab causing damage to the mission property hence the need for enhanced security.
“As a committee, we were informed of random attacks by Al-Shabaab using improvised devices, vehicle borne improvised devices and shelling with mortar projectiles,” said Nyendwoha.
She said her committee had scrutinized the report and recommended approval of Shs731 million to assist the embassy boost its security and repair its premises.
This amount will additionally bridge salary shortfalls accruing from the new government policy to enhance salaries for scientists.
Nyendwoha also tabled a request of Shs660 million as part payment for repair of air circulation at the permanent home of the Uganda House in New York.
She said that the air circulation system was last repaired in 1975 and that is has had constant break downs.
“The Embassy had initially requested for Shs1 billion but settled for a part payment schedule as agreed with both the contractor and Ministry of Finance,” said Nyendwoha.
MPs on the Budget Committee whose role is to scrutinize the supplementary budgets said there was need to analyse the insecurity of the mission in Mogadishu, and asked if the UPDF in Somalia can over its security.
“Since we have UPDF present in Somalia, why do we have to hire private guards? How do we say that our army is deployed to guard restoration of other people, but when it comes to our own embassy you are hiring?” asked Hon. Ibrahim Ssemujju (FDC, Kiira Municipality).
Nyendwoha said the term of UPDF in Mogadishu is expiring soon and the supplementary request is meant to ensure continuity in operations of the embassy.
MPs were also concerned that several other missions were in need of rehabilitation, and wondered why the ministry was focusing on New York and Mogadishu.
“I know what is in UK and other parts of the world, and even the income from Uganda House is much bigger, what is your interest in New York?” asked Hon. Joseph Ssewungu (NUP, Kalungu West)
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Parliament of the Republic of Uganda.