Uganda seeks a further Shs 6bn for post-NAM summit activities

Uganda seeks a further Shs 6bn for post-NAM summit activities
Uganda will continue executing NAM activities as chair for 3 years.

Kampala, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | Having invested more than Shs 60 billion in the arrangements and execution of the ongoing Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit and the forthcoming G77+ China summit, the government is now pursuing an additional Shs 6 billion for post-summit initiatives over the next three years.

During a review of the 2024/2025 Budget Framework Paper (BFP) on Tuesday, parliament’s foreign affairs committee vice chairperson Fred Opolot noted that no funds have been allocated for the post-summit activities yet “the secretariats in charge of the Non-Aligned Movement will be charged with hosting and participating in meetings at diplomatic and technical levels, and preparing documents in line with the outcome document among others.”

He added that part of the post-NAM summit activities include travelling inland and abroad to participate in extraordinary sessions of the Council of Foreign Ministers, and international conferences on environment, human rights, trade and disarmament; all in Uganda’s capacity as the chair of NAM for the next three years.

“It is important to note that these functions have a great impact on increasing market access for our exports, attracting foreign direct investment and the success of international engagements and occurrences,” Opolot added.

However, Dickisons Kateshumbwa, Sheema Municipality MP questioned why the said activities were not provided for in the current ministry of Foreign Affairs budget yet the NAM and G77+China events are already going on. The ministry has been allocated Shs 31 billion in the national budget.

“I’m just wondering whether you interacted with the ministry because you’re labouring to explain the importance of NAM and G77. It is already here. The question is how can the ministry not have money allocated to support this? Did you interact with them? Because it is puzzling. Uganda is saying we’re going to be chairing, we have opportunities and then the budget comes and there is nothing. What do you want parliament to do?,” said Kateshumbwa.

Stephen Kangwagye, Bukanga County MP asked why the ministry of Foreign Affairs ought to receive funds to monitor post-NAM summit activities yet the organization of the January summits was already handled by the Office of the President.

“The NAM activities are going on within the country, and according to their report here, a provision of Shs 5.6 billion was transferred from ministry of Finance to Office of the President. With the ongoing activities, who is funding them? Is it ministry of Foreign Affairs or Office of the President?,” Kangwagye asked.

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In a related development, the MPs raised concerns over failure by the government to allocate funds for membership subscriptions to international organisations that have since accumulated to Shs 42 billion.

Some of the outstanding arrears include $3.9 million (about Shs 14.9 billion) owed to the World Food Programme (WFP), $232,329 (about Shs 885.5million) for the UN Peacekeeping Operations and Tribunals, $4.5 million ( about Shs 17.3 billion) to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and $530,497.76 (about Shs 2.022 billion) to the International Conference on Great lakes Region.

Others include $452,800 (about Shs 1.725 billion) to the United Nations (UN), $595,166 (about Shs 2.265 billion) to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, $829,363 (about Shs 3.161 billion) which is owed to the African Union (AU) and £17,869 (about Shs 86.1 million) to the Commonwealth Secretariat.