By Andrew Irumba
Well, you remember that national shame still happening in Dubai till March 2022, dubbed #DubaiExpo2020, where Uganda reportedly, literally exhibited only two Kgs of Sugar and two tins of Lato Milk? Well, that ‘big’ job that took almost the entire cabinet to Dubai, including president Museveni and a good number of MPs, cost taxpayers a whooping shs5 billion!
It has emerged that Shs3billion of the Shs5billion was spent on the ‘construction’ and decoration of the Uganda pavilion (stall) by the Uganda Export Promotions Board (UEPB) in Dubai, and another Shs977million on other additional costs by the same Government agency.
Wait a minute, the above 5billion is exclusive of President Museveni and MPs expenses, so do the calculations there as well as we also stagger to do the same here.
It has emerged that the Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development provided UGX 1,979,540,400 for the Dubai #Expo2020, on top of the Shs3 billion earlier given to the Uganda Export Promotions Board (UEPB).
UEPB wrote a letter to the Ministry of Finance and economic development on 13/9/2021 requesting that the budget of the expo be raised to UGX5 billion from the original UGX3 billion.
The new development is revealed in a letter written by Ramathan Ggoobi, the newly appointed Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and Secretary to the Treasury.
“Reference is made to the letter Ref: UEPB/ED/21-087 dated 13, September 2021, requesting for UShs 5,283,067,000= across various MDAs (ministries, Departments and Agencies) to enable their participation in the Dubai Expo 2020,” he revealed.
The Ministry of Finance and economic development went ahead and gave the money saying it was an urgent matter.
“We have reviewed the requests in line with the budget provision for the respective institutions for FY 2021 /22 and observed the urgency to provide additional Quarter One Expenditure Limit amounting to UShs. 1,979,540,400.”
“This is therefore, to authorize additional Expenditure Limits amounting to UShs. 1,979,540.400 (One billion, Nine hundred and seventy-nine million, Five hundred and forty thousand, Four hundred Shillings Only) to your votes as indicated in Annex 1 attached,” he added.
The six entities included Uganda Export Promotions Board, which took half of the money 977m, Ministry of Agriculture 502m, Ministry of Foreign Affairs 276m, Ministry of Trade Industry and Cooperatives only 87m, Uganda Investment Authority only 96m and Uganda Coffee Development Board (UCD) only 40m.
“You are requested to submit your warrant requests on the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) to facilitate the release of funds,” said Ggoobi.
According to the organizing protocols of the Dubai Expo 2020, Uganda Export Promotion Board was selected and charged as the lead agency to organise and put everything in order for Uganda to benefit from the exposition. This is how the promotion board ended up taking the budget lions to share.
It has however come to our notice that things have not gone well at the Expo as some exhibitors like Livara were tossed up and down and further conned yet they had got clearance from the Export Promotion Board. It’s should also be noted that social media was awash with pictures of the Lato milk stall where items were literally laid down on the floor. This triggered a good section of Ugandans to raise up in arms blaming the Ugandan organizers of the Dubai exposition for embarrassing their country.
However, by Monday three days after the start of the Expo, Uganda Investment Authority had scooped investment deals worth $650 million despite being one of the least funded agencies with only 96 million Ugandan shillings in the ongoing Dubai Expo 2020.
The said deals were signed off by the minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Hon Matia Kassaija Amooti. Watch the Space for more revealing details…!