Uganda’s Ministry of Education and Sports is yet to address the sticky issue of sanitary pads despite being stuck with Shs85bn.
According to a report tabled before parliament by Parliamentary Committee of Education and Sports on the Ministerial Policy Statement and Budget Estimates for 2017/18 for the Ministry of Education, the ministry has failed to absorb the said funds allocated to it in the ending Financial Year.
The report seen by Business Focus, indicates that the unutilised funds were meant for the purchase of instructional materials, equipment, construction and machinery.
Out of the Shs85bn, Makerere University is returning Shs12.56bn back to the government coffers while Kabale University failed to utilise Shs2.59bn.
An additional shs1.74bn remains unspent for the Secondary School Education, Shs37.78bn for Skills Development, Shs18.04 for Higher Education, Shs9.13bn for Quality and Standards and Policy Planning which is returning shs3.34bn.
The report left lawmakers wondering why the Ministry could sit on such funds yet it faces huge challenges such as; under staffing in schools and universities.
Early this year, President Museveni ordered for the closure of Makerere University after staff laid down their tools over Shs20bn arrears.
Jacob Opolot, Vice Chairperson of the Education Committee blamed the low absorption capacity in the ministry on the deliberate delay to release funds by the Ministry of Finance.
In 2016/17 budget, Ministry of Education approved budget was Shs2.44trn, and of this, only Shs1.02trn was released.
This indicates a 37.1% release of approved budget which is 12.9% less than the ideal 50% that should have been released.
According to the report, the overall absorption was 86.2% and this was mainly attributed to reduced donor funding.
In the upcoming 2017/18 budget, ministry is projected to get Shs2.77trn, representing a 9.56% allocation out of the Shs28.9trn National Budget.
According to the report, sanitary pads have not been budgeted for in the upcoming 2017/18 budget.
Janet Museveni, the Minister for Education has been under fire over failure to provide sanitary pads to pupils as promised by President Museveni during campaigns in the run-up to the 2016 general elections.
Recently, she told Parliament that they didn’t have money for the pads.