Government’s decision to send parallel delegations to the ongoing United Nations General Assembly in New York, USA, has ignited widespread anger among Ugandans. Critics argue that the billions spent on over 70 officials for this extravagant trip could have been more wisely allocated to address pressing issues in the country.
Despite the Finance ministry recently highlighting financial constraints and the need for budget cuts, both Vice President Jessica Alupo and Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja were allowed to attend the same UN event. This contradiction has left citizens questioning the government’s financial responsibility.
With the World Bank’s suspension of financial aid due to the Anti-Homosexuality Act, resources are even scarcer, making such spending decisions even more questionable. Yet, government officials remain unresponsive to public concerns.
Many Ugandans believe that the funds spent on allowances and travel expenses for this New York junket could have been better utilized in critical sectors such as primary healthcare and education. The duplicity of roles in government agencies further adds to the perception of wastefulness, as experts argue that fewer representatives would have sufficed.
The magnitude of the expenditure becomes even more apparent when considering the impact it could have had on vital areas. For instance, the money spent on this trip could have covered the salaries of thousands of public primary school teachers or addressed staffing shortages in the education sector. Instead, it will likely yield little to no return.
The outcry extends to projects affected by the World Bank aid suspension, such as the Global Partnership for Education project worth $300 million, which could have benefited from these funds. Meanwhile, students struggle to pay fees, and public schools face overcrowding due to the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The health sector is also in dire need of investment, with unfilled vacancies and dilapidated facilities plaguing government schools. Despite these pressing issues, government officials seem more interested in self-indulgent foreign trips.
In light of these revelations, it’s clear that the government’s priorities are skewed and out of touch with the needs of the Ugandan people. The public’s outrage is justified, as this lavish expenditure demonstrates a lack of fiscal responsibility and accountability on the part of government officials.