PARLIAMENT- Government plans to spend Shs95 billion on purchases of vehicles and other transport equipment.
The details of the vehicles to be bought per each government sector and the reasons for the purchase are contained in the national budget framework paper for Financial Year 2017/18—a Ministry of Finance document—that contains information on budget estimates for the different ministries.
According to the estimates, the accountability sector will be the biggest spender on vehicles with a budget of Shs15 billion followed by security/defence with a budget of Shs13.8 billion.
The accountability sector includes Ministry of Finance, and bodies like Uganda Revenue Authority.
Some purchases under the sector, like the Shs1.5 billion to be spent by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, are justified as replacement of aged fleet of vehicles.
Another Shs300 million will be spent by the Public Procurement Disposal Authority because, the paper notes, “the fleet of the authority is aging yet most of the activities of the authority are field-based hence the need to replace the fleet on a rolling basis.”
Vehicles worth Shs320 million will also be bought for the Inspectorate of Governments office “to enhance the capacity of IG to execute its mandate namely investigations prosecutions and enforcement of the Leadership Code of conduct and conduct public awareness.”
The Budget Framework Paper neither shows the number, nor the particulars—in terms type and chassis number— of vehicles each sector will buy.
Public sector management has a budget of Shs9.9 billion, Shs3.1 billion of which was justified as, “need to retire outstanding obligations on vehicles” under the Ministry of Local Government.
The Ministry of Education plans to spend Shs7.6 billion with most of the money going into the purchase of vehicles to be used in the delivery of tertiary institutions and research.
Sectors with the least vehicle purchase budgets include; Parliament (Shs675 million) Energy (Shs712 million) and Tourism (Shs964 million)—Shs185 million is planned to buy a vehicle for the tourism minister.
Shs4.921 billion out of the Shs8.77 billion health sector vehicle budget will be used for the purchase of 57 vehicles for programme management and district health offices.
Some regional referral hospitals will get vehicles.
Shs80 million is budgeted for the procurement of an ambulance and staff van for improved service delivery at Mbarara Referral Hospital.
The plan to spend Shs95 billion on vehicles, however, comes after the Auditor General, in his latest report raised a red flag over what he termed as high motor vehicle maintenance costs in some sectors and or offices like the president’s office.