International Affairs state Minister Okello Oryem has taken up the docket of Foreign Affairs Minister as his boss Sam Kutesa leaves for New York to start his term as President of the UN General Assembly.
Oryem told Parliament this week that he would keep the office for the two years that Kutesa will be away.
On Wednesday, parliament sat to pass the ministry’s Shs 25 billion budget for the financial year 2014/2015.
Kutesa who doubles as the Mawogola County MP will stay away for a full year as he heads the prestigious assembly.
The ministry of foreign affairs spokesperson, Fred Opolot, confirmed the changes but added that Oryem is in acting capacity. On inquiring whether they had received an executive communication from the president regarding the changes, Opolot said there was no need since Oryem is warming up someone else’s chair.
Opolot said Kutesa is a way on additional duties, and that Oryem will be taking control of the ministry without necessarily having the appointing authority to write.
Legislators debated the report on foreign affairs tabled by Vuura MP Sam Okuonzi and queried why the country has failed for years to come up with a solid foreign policy.
Kalungu East MP Vicent Ssempijja asked why the ministry of foreign affairs has been sluggish in coming up with a guidance for all foreign missions. He said it was appalling that Uganda’s foreign policy has remained in draft and has affected the operations of foreign missions.
The report which was tabled before parliament tasked government to expedite the process of formulating the policy.
Oryem told the house that cabinet has concluded the coming up with a foreign policy and it was waiting review by the president.
During the debate MPs raised the issue of Uganda entering a memorandum of understanding with the government of Trinidad and Tobago for Ugandan doctors to find jobs in abroad.
Kaabong woman MP Rose Akello questioned what she called the insensitivity of government since Uganda lacks enough medical personnel.
The Minister explained that government was on immense pressure from people who had got wind of the opportunities in Trinidad and Tobago.
He added that government was examining other mechanisms to see that the country doesn’t lose most of its specialists.
The MPs also complained about the sorry state of many of Uganda’s missions abroad.
Parliament proposed that Foreign affairs ministry they engage finance ministry to have foreign missions spend money generated under Non Tax Revenue (NTR).
Oryem said they had started engagement with the finance ministry to see how they embark on utilization of revenue generated from the foreign missions.