What you need to know:
- During the same press conference yesterday, Mr Lukwago said former KCCA top officials, including Ms Jennifer Musisi, should be investigated for causing financial losses to the institution during the time they were in office.
The Kampala Lord Mayor, Mr Erias Lukwago, has asked government to stop asking citizens to pay for Covid-19 testing, saying it will worsen the situation, especially in Kampala City, which has registered the highest number of cases in the country.
While addressing journalists yesterday, Mr Lukwago said government should consider the urban poor whom he said cannot afford to pay for the Covid-19 test. Government has since set a single Covid-19 test at $65 (Shs240,500).
“The new directive will instead aggravate the problem in the city, which is already a hotbed for the spread of Covid-19 because it will be hard for the urban poor to raise that money,” Mr Lukwago said.
He added: “Besides, there is no assurance that all contacts of the affected persons can be traced. Therefore, if the untraceable contacts mix with the public, it will complicate the situation since the tests are expensive,” he said.
Mr Lukwago said Uganda is currently in a critical phase of the spread of Covid-19 where testing should be free so that the experts ascertain the gravity of the problem.
He implored government to use part of the donations they got to test communities which are vulnerable.
“People are just recovering from the lockdown and do not have what to eat and that is why the Ministry of Health should at least ask for a supplementary budget to enable them manage the crisis,” he said.
But the Ministry of Health’s spokesperson, Mr Emmanuel Ainebyoona, told Daily Monitor on Monday that the amount is already subsided.
On August 27, Mr Geoffrey Sseremba from the Ministry of Health wrote to all permanent secretaries, executive directors, town clerks, among others informing them that effective September 1, they will start paying for Covid-19 tests for their staff due to inadequate stock of test kits.
Mr Sseremba said the Health ministry is currently strained to sustain the tests for all government workers.
According to the letter, the categories of people to be tested for free include patients who show Covid-19 symptoms, contacts of people who have tested positive, community surveys to establish the extent of the spread of the virus, surveillance samples and frontline health workers.
However, truck drivers, individuals seeking to know their Covid-19 status, Ugandans returning from abroad, organisations (both private and government) and visitors arriving into the country from other countries, will have to pay for Covid-19 tests.
During the same press conference yesterday, Mr Lukwago said former KCCA top officials, including Ms Jennifer Musisi, should be investigated for causing financial losses to the institution during the time they were in office.
His remarks were triggered by findings of an internal audit report where the institution lost Shs65 billion under unclear circumstances.
The report covered financial years 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 and two quarters for financial year 2018/2019.
Mr Lukwago revealed that the funds were lost due to unclear procurement processes where some contracts were allegedly inflated. He said such losses show that there is no value for tax payer’s money.
“We will present this report to Parliament and we are demanding that the officers who were responsible for the losses be held accountable and made to refund the misappropriated funds. This is daylight fraud and we cannot just sweep this under the carpet,” he said.
He also alleged that the former director for legal affairs, Mr Charles Ouma, who headed the contracts committee, should be investigated and arrested for failure to detect anomalies in the award of contracts to construction firms.
For instance, Mr Lukwago revealed that a total of Shs3.7 billion was lost as a result of paying for private properties like survey and the laboratory equipment for China Railways Seventh Group under the project for the improvement of junctions.
He said the clause in the contract that the items were to revert to the contractor at the end of the contract seemed intentional to disadvantage the institution given the fact that the head of the Legal affairs was the chairperson of the contracts committee.
Both Ms Musisi and Mr Ouma could not be reached for a comment.