Row as police fail to pay Shs60 billion for food
Posted Monday, January 14 2013 at 08:27
Police officers countrywide face an uncertain future after more than 160 food suppliers resolved to withdraw services in protest over the Force’s non-payment of billions of shillings.
The decision to withdraw was made last week after the suppliers failed to meet President Museveni. The meeting with the President had been reportedly confirmed but was called off at the last minute, leaving the suppliers in uncertainty.
The meeting had been planned for January 7 at State House Entebbe. As they were about to set off, they were told that Mr Museveni was unable to meet them because of other engagements. This angered the food suppliers, who vowed never to supply maize, beans and firewood to police unless they are paid.
“We supplied a lot of food in the run up to the February 2011 general elections but [up to] today, police have refused to give us our money, they have not paid us yet we have information that Ministry of Finance gives them money for contractual obligations each year,” one of the aggrieved supplier said.
“It’s painful to see banks confiscating our assets,” another supplier said, adding: “Shs60 billion is a lot of money and we are tired of demanding our money from people who have money but they don’t want to pay for reasons we don’t know. We are losing business and our companies are closing.”
Mr Rogers Muhirwa, the Force’s undersecretary confirmed the delay in payment, which he attributed to less income flow from government.
“We are yet to get money from government but we have written to the Ministry of Finance to provide us with a supplementary budget so that we can pay the suppliers,” Mr Muhirwa said.
This newspaper understands that the Police food budget is Shs40 billion, but so far government has remitted only Shs15 billion.
In February last year, the police director for logistics, Mr Godfrey Bangirana, denied knowledge of the debts although his boss, the IGP, Lt. Gen. Kale Kayihura, admitted knowledge of the demands, saying suppliers would be paid. However, to-date the food and firewood suppliers are still crying foul.
In April 2011, Gen. Kayihura promised to meet the suppliers but to date; the meeting has not taken place.