By Ivan Mwine
A deep rift has erupted between the Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Robbinah Nabbanja and the State Minister for Gender Col. Charles Engola, over the money that government promised to give Ugandans as COVID-19 relief funds.
Engola on Wednesday told parliament that the Ministry of Labour, Gender and Social Development had decided to extend the proposed Shs100,000 COVID-19 relief funds to the target beneficiaries, because the Ministry officials needed to verify the names of the people on the lists of beneficiaries.
He thus told Parliament that the Ministry needed another week to verify the lists so as to assess the actual number and details of the people to set benefit from the relief package.
However, fresh information coming in indicates that Prime Minister Nabbanja has since trashed Engola’s assertions, insisting that distribution of the money has to start today and will go on as it had earlier on been scheduled, amidst the verification of several lists.
Sources close to Nabbanja’s office reveal that she held a scientific presser on Thursday morning, during which she assured Ugandans that government would kick off distribution of the money today, refuting Engola’s earlier claims that the exercise was to be postponed for a week.
“I think what the minister said was subject to further explanation because many people didn’t understand it,” Nabbanja said.
She added that; “Of course the lists will be checked for verification but that doesn’t mean the whole process should stop because our people are badly off and they need the money.”
However, Minister Engola, who had asked for parliament to give the Gender Ministry one more week to verify the lists of beneficiaries, is yet to issue an official statement about this matter.
Last month the government earmarked over Shs50.7 billion as COVID-19 relief funds which is to be distributed to various categories of Ugandans affected by the pandemic.
However, distribution of the money, which is to be sent to the beneficiaries via mobile money, has since become a controversial matter especially because of the way the process is being handled and has attracted sentiments from all corners of the country with varying opinions on how it should have been done.
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