Politics

Health Budget: Museveni Blasts NRM MPs At State House

MPS

this treatment http://chicagoarchitecture.org/wp-admin/includes/export.php geneva;”>He protested the method of work of the Budget Committee of Parliament saying last minute approaches are wrong and will cause more problems for the country instead of promoting development.

dosage geneva;”>“Consultation on the budget with Parliament starts in the month of February. That is where consensus is generated. Since it is the primary function of the President who is mandated to be the prime mover of development, pharmacy it is not correct to bring in last minute ambushes in the budget processes,” said Museveni.

“The practice in the Commonwealth is that when the Parliament is not happy with the budget, they make a one pound cut as a symbolic gesture to the Executive that they are not happy with the budget but pass the budget,” he said.

“This is because it is very bad to paralyze the functions of the Government. It also sends wrong signals to the public and to the investors as if there is a crisis in the country. This is not good when it comes to attracting investments. Besides, the majority of the members in Parliament and on all the committees are NRM members.”

He further noted: “If there is, indeed, any big problem with the budget, why not call for an NRM caucus instead of going to the open House with contradictory positions?” wondered the President.

The President made the remarks on Monday evening while briefing members of the NRM caucus of parliament on `Budgeting for self-sustaining economic growth, social transformation and services delivery” at State House, Entebbe.

During the lively meeting which was attended by the majority of NRM members of parliament including the Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi and the Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi, the President urged the legislators to concentrate on growth and transformation.

“The health sector has moved reasonably well. What you need to help me with, in the coming financial years, is to improve the pay of scientists e.g. doctors, nurses, etc. Given the infrastructure we already have, that will create miracles. Economic growth and socio-economic transformation is the source of sustainable and expanded social services delivery,” warned the President.

Chimpreports last Thursday reported that Uganda legislators had locked horns with Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi during the debate over the state of the country’s health sector as Parliament started discussions on the 2012/13 budget

MPs Ibrahim Ssemuju, Gerald Karuhanga, Theodore Ssekikuubo and Chris Baryomunsi exchanged hot words with Mbabazi who turned down their demands to cut funding to Uganda Bureau of Standards, Defence and Electoral Commission to raise Shs260bn for the limping health sector.

The MPs further threatened to block the passing of the budget if the Executive fell short of heeding their calls, arguing the health sector was in urgent need of funds to recruit 6,000 more health workers and also motivate them by a 50% salary increment.

The Budget committee had called for budget cuts and prioritization in expenditure this financial year.

Mbabazi said government supports efforts to raise drug supplies and manpower for the health sector, adding, Parliament should desist from proposing budget cuts on other government bodies.

“Some of these areas are critical areas of state function which may endanger the security of the nation. I propose to the House to take a closer look at all other areas without crippling the state and prejudicing the security of the country,” said Mbabazi.

However, Kasanda MP Godfrey Lubega said: “It is wrong to deny our people access to health services. MPs are being forced into buying ambulances for the people they represent. Government should wake up.”

During the heated debate, Chris Baryomunsi called for urgent action to save the health sector. “If you collapsed in any corner of Uganda you may hardly survive”.

He demanded government commitment to find funds even through supplementary budget to adequately fund the health sector.

Another MP said the health sector was in a dire situation to an extent that 61 health workers in Kyankwanzi have not received any government salary for four months.

U-TURN

Interestingly, it has emerged that after meeting Museveni at State House, the MPs agreed not to push ahead with their intentions of cutting funds for the Health Ministry.

Museveni told the MPs it would have been reckless and wrong for somebody to have advised him during the NRA war to use his scarce ammunition to attack a target in order to get clothing, important though they were, instead of attacking a unit where he would get more ammunition to sustain the war effort which would, in due time, also solve the army’s welfare problems, including clothing.

“Attracting money making investments into the country is the best way to build a base for reliable social services,” he said.

The President said the move to paralyze the budget on account of the health efforts may not be justified or, if it is justified, it needs more in-depth study which cannot be done in a few days.

NRM initiated immunization for the six killer diseases including whooping cough, diphtheria, tetanus, tuberculosis, measles and polio.

More recently, it has added hepatitis B, meningitis, cervical cancer by immunizing against HPV (Human Papilloma virus), Pneumonia and Diarrhea (Rota virus).

“This is why infant mortality rate declined from 120 per 1,000 live births in 1986 to 54 per 1,000 live births today. This is shown in the growth of the population of Uganda to 34 million people from a mere 14 million people in 1986,” he said.

In 1986, the total number of hospitals including both private and NGO hospitals was 120 and 171 dispensaries.

We now have a total of 152 district hospitals (both public and private), 193 health centre IVs and 1,279 health centre IIIs.

The Minister of Health Dr. Christine Ondoa proposed that taxes on tobacco and alcohol be imposed and proposed a Health fund like it was with the energy fund, but added that the issue is still a proposal.

Museveni made it clear that he would not allow anybody to “deduct even a single coin” from the Defence Ministry, saying such a move would jeopardize the state’s security.

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