Cabinet has resolved that parliament should continue allocating money to the president’s welfare fund. This is the fund that the president uses to deliver financial pledges.
There has been concern from civil society over reduction of funding for the Youth Livelihood Fund implemented by Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development in the planning for the 2019/2020 financial year and creation of a vote for a Youth Fund under State House.
The creation of the Shillings 130 billion Youth Livelihood Fund under State House has resulted in the reduction of Gender Ministry fund from Shillings 66.6 billion in the 2018/2019 financial year to Shilling 4.62 billion in the 2019/2020 financial year.
Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) in a statement said the fund under State House risks being mismanaged. “It is notable that State House doesn’t have the required expertise to completely over see this youth program. It opens risks to politicization of the programme. Lastly, State House operations are almost beyond public scrutiny and has limited parliamentary oversight,” CSBAG said in a statement published on Tuesday, 29th January.
Addressing journalists on the cabinet resolutions, Ofwono Opondo, the Director Uganda Media Centre Director, said the cabinet decision was informed by public discussions, which have been calling for the abolishment of the president’s welfare fund.
Opondo said cabinet resolved that Museveni should continue getting money for donations because various government programmes implemented by ministries can’t reach all Ugandans.
When president is moving around the country and is approached by people with various requests, Opondo said Museveni can’t just shrug away or send them to ministries.
The president’s welfare fund will be injected in poverty alleviation focusing on model villages and demonstration farms. Museveni has established four demonstration farms, which he uses to show local communities how to embrace modern farming.
The money will also be invested in skilling the girl child, a State House programme, which has gained prominence in the past two years. Girls are trained in vocational studies and given seed equipment after graduation.
Opondo said the fund will also be used to support youth groups through provision of common user facilities and startup capital. The president since mid-2018 has been donating money and equipment to various youth groups in Kampala.
Museveni in a statement issued in November last year defended his donations, arguing that he cannot live comfortably in the neighborhood of poor people without doing something about them.