The Finance ministry has come under fire from legislators for alleged failure to release the School Capitation Grants. MPs accuse the ministry of being negligent and insensitive.
Capitation grant is the money released for each child under the Universal Primary and Universal Secondary education programmes.
MPs are furious that, the finance ministry has not released the money less than a month to the close of the second term. The matter came to the fore after Kezekia Mbogo, the Budaka county MP raised concern during the Prime Minister’s question time in parliament. In his response, Amama Mbabazi, the prime minister said there was need to verify the claims since there have been issues with the authenticity of the information on capitation grants.
He added that this is as a result of the change in the mode of accounting since the accounting officers are now required to sign directly to take responsibility for the money. Mbabazi explained to parliament that the process is still ongoing and it is what has led to delays but promised that it will be sorted out as soon as possible.
But Geoffrey Ekanya, the Tororo county MP said that the issue was very critical and needed to be discussed seriously. He asked government to compel the finance ministry to release money for the children.
Matia Kasaija, the Finance state minister said the executive appreciates the seriousness of the issue but wants to first sort out issues surrounding the grant before releasing the money so that it is not misused.
Kasaija said government is trying to make sure that the money sent serves its intended purpose. Alice Alaso, the Serere District Woman MP said the money in contention is less than 3000 shillings for each student under Universal Primary Education.
She said that the matter cannot wait when children don’t have food and their teachers lack basic necessities like chalk yet the term is less than a month away to closure.
Alaso said it is insensitive for the minister to treat the matter casually saying he doesn’t even care that these pupils have gone the whole term without learning. She added that the crisis in the education sector is caused by the negligence of the finance ministry.
The speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga concurred with the legislators saying government has not taken the issue seriously. She said that there was an attempt to get money for the capitation grant under a supplementary budget saying that a critical issue like that shouldn’t be brought under supplementary budget.
She ruled that the minister comes before the house with a full statement on the issue later today. Recently, a group of legislators led by Joseph Sewungu, the Kalungu West MP protested the allocation of shilling 2300 to each pupil each term saying the money should be in increased but government has failed to avail even that amount.