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COVID-19 Relief: MPs Divided Over Shs8bn Musicians Cash Bonanza

The proposal by Government to gift artists with Shs8bn as Covid relief has left lawmakers divided, after questions were raised on the owners of the companies the money will be channeled through.

Last month, State House presented before Parliament a supplementary request to a tune of Shs280Bn of which, Shs5Bn is required for financial support to Events Association Uganda and another Shs3Bn was required to support Gravity Investment Company Limited.

In defending the supplementary request, State House came with a team of musicians including Cinderella Sanyu also known as Cindy, Ragga Dee, also known as Daniel Kazibwe among others.  

In a majority report signed by 27Mps on the Budget Committee, Patrick Isiagi (Kachumbala County) who also doubles as Chairperson Budget Committee recommended to Parliament to approve the controversial monies.

However, another team of MPs including Muwanga Kivumbi (Butambala County), Ibrahim Ssemujju (Kira Municipality and Gorreth Namugga (Mawogala North) authored a minority report, opposing the payment, warning parliament against spending taxpayers to make some politicians comfortable.

“We have associations that run private business that want to come here and receive donations in billions of money. There is a company called Events Association Uganda and the directors are some of the richest people in Uganda but these are the rich people who always parasite on donations of the state,” said Kivumbi.

While presenting the minority report, Kivumbi revealed that Events Association Uganda, is owned by businessman Balaam Barugahara Ateenyi, Peter Kagwa, Muyonga Patrick, David Tusiime, Ssekyanzi Elvis, Connie Akambikira, Bobkins Kibirige, Kotumbo Hudson, lrene Kiseko, Aggrey Kogonyero, Isaac Mulindwa and Aggar Sekalala Junior.

Kivumbi also revealed that another company Gravity Investments Company Limited which initially registered its Directors in 2016 as Fox Odoi Oywelowo, Stephen Tashobya, Fredrick Ruhindi, Sarah Patience Mpabwo, Kabahendo Flavia Rwobuhoro, Emmanuel Lumolo Dombo, Oleru Hudo Aboson, Ekumo George Stephen, Mulimba John, Muhumuza David, Biaaro G. Ephraim, Kasule Robert Sebunya and Auru Anne.

Later in 2018, Directors are listed as Stephen Tashobya, Ekuma George Stephen, Auru Anne and Princess Kabakumba Matsiko.

Kivumbi said that the money to be gifted to musicians is part of the Shs2.o84Trn that will be borrowed from local commercial banks to fund the supplementary, which would raise the debt to GDP ratio to 54%.

“They are rich but they aren’t good entrepreneurs and we can’t encourage them. They want Government to pay them Shs3Bn for donations. But because we want to make people comfortable and we are doing this,” remarked Kivumbi.

The majority report also recommended approvals of Shs141Bn for funding Kiira Motors; Shs100Bn for classified expenditure, Shs4Bn for facilitating intelligence operations and Shs27Bn is required for support to research and innovation.

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