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Muhakanizi, NMS Clash Over USD 200Million Loan

It was a long day Wednesday for the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) as it commenced investigations into the whereabouts of the USD200Million Loan from the Preferential Trade Area Bank (PTA) that was to settle deficits that were created due to the fluctuating foreign exchange.

The National Medical Stores (NMS), cialis 40mg the Ministry of Works and Rural Electrification Agency were cited among the beneficiaries of the said loan.

Despite approval of the loan by Parliament in April 2016, Members of Parliament were shocked to learn that NMS had never received money that was allocated to them.

Appearing before the Health Committee recently, NMS officials revealed that due to the debt of Shs. 68bn, the entity wouldn’t be in position to supply drugs to the lower health centers in the country.

NMS Corporation Secretary Apollo Mwesigye told the committee that the entity had shortfalls of Shs68 billion due to foreign exchange fluctuations since 2011 that contributed to drug stock-outs.

To date, a balance of 41 billion shillings remains and the NMS insists that it is not able to supply essential drugs other than TB and Malarial drugs to most health centers next financial year.

The Bank of Uganda governor Emmanuel Mutebile on the other hand says the bank has so far received a total of 97 million dollars as part of the loan from the PTA bank.

He says between October 2016 and 23rd May 2016 this amount was transferred to the Consolidated Fund.

The Ministry of Finance Permanent Secretary and Secretary to the Treasurer, Keith Muhakanizi told the committee that indeed the loan was disbursed and money sent to NMS through the 2016/ 2017 financial year budget.

However, Mwesigye says NMS has to date never received any funds from the said loan despite receiving confirmation from the finance ministry in August last year that the loan was ready.

“We have persistently communicated about this deficit because it was to be paid in the 2015/16; specifically for the monies of foreign exchange we have not received any funds as far as the PTA loan is concerned,” Mwesigye said.

In response, Muhakanizi noted, “We released all the money as appropriated by Parliament plus a supplementary of Shs7bn; we acknowledge that there is still a funding gap of Shs41bn but we have agreed that we shall provide accelerated release come the first week of July.”

The committee was not convinced by responses from the permanent secretary of finance on how the loan has been used noting that they will soon meet the Ministers of Finance and Health for clearer explanations.

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