By Andrew Irumba
Kampala: Uganda’s oldest University Makerere has failed to accumulate money for funding food and accommodation allowances of more than 10,000 government-sponsored students in the academic year 2019-2020.
It is said that the Shs3.35 billion meant for food and accommodation was reportedly diverted on the advice of the government to cover other priority areas in the running of the university.
A report by the Finance, Planning, Administration and Investment Committee of the university council shows that the University received a communication dated June 18 2019, requiring management to adjust the 2019/2020 financial year budget in favor of a plan to procure equipment for the Dental school, which was facing pressure not to admit students under the prevalent conditions. Other unfunded priorities included the renovation of toilets in halls of residence and equipping the school library.
The university is said to have identified food and accommodation allowances of students as a lesser priority compared to the other unfunded areas. In the changes, 285 million Shillings was diverted from the allowances vote and allocated to the dental school. Another 1. 8 billion Shillings was allocated towards equipping the Library while 1.5 billion Shillings was allocated to the renovation of toilets in the halls of residence.
Makerere has a total of 10,091 government-sponsored students. Of these, 4,089 students, who reside outside the university premises, receive a Living out allowance at a rate of 432,750 per student per semester. The university spends approximately 7.19 billion shillings on student food and about 4.76 billion shillings on living out allowances making a total of 11.96 billion shillings on welfare for government students.
However, the university’s 1st Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Academics Professor Umar Kakumba insisted that there is a balance of 3.36 billion Shillings which wasn’t touched on.
Pius Mbeera, the Makerere University Government Students Association (Mugosa) president said the student’s body was still unaware of the development.