By Ronald Nahabwe
David Bahati, the state minister for finance has accused corrupt government officials of interfering in the procurement of bicycles that were meant for Local Council (LC) chairpersons by stealing funds meant for the project.
“Government committed to buy bicycles for LC1s and we all know what happened to the first consignment where money was misappropriated and the procurement was stopped. This financial year, we did not appropriate any funds to complete this procurement. Nonetheless we shall appropriate money in the next financial year,” Bahati said.
Bahati was responding to a question raised by Hon. Milly Mugenyi (NRM, Butaleja District) abouy the delay to fulfill the presidential pledge on bicycles for LC leaders.
In 2010, a total of 70,000 LC1 and LC2 chairpersons were to get bicycles which would facilitate them to monitor government programmes countrywide.
The procurement was however halted following allegations that corrupt officials were involved in misappropriation of Shs4.6Bn which was meant for the bicycles
Bahati said that former and current LC chairpersons will get bicycles in the financial year 2020/2021.
Bugabula South MP, Hon. Maurice Kibalya however, called on Government to make provision in the supplementary budget to buy the bicycles saying that, “They are needed urgently to enable the LCs reach the remote areas effectively”.
“The Minister said that they will be financing them in the next financial year 2020/2021. The former LCs served for over 15 years and that service is long enough to reward them with bicycles,” he said.
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga called on the Budget Committee to ensure that the monies are availed in the budget to cater for the bicycles. “The Budget Committee must ensure that the money for both the new and old LCs has been budgeted for,” Kadaga said.
Rubaga North MP, Hon Moses Kasibante called on government to buy motorcyles for the LCs in Kampala, saying that it would be hard to navigate the city with bicycles.
However, Bunyole West MP, Hon James Waluswaka rejected the proposal, saying that LCs in any part of the country are the same and there should be no discrimination about what they get.