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Kadaga: Refugees Flocking Into Uganda Could Lead To High Indebtedness

Speaker Kadaga(in blue) with the State Minister for Local Government, Namuyangu on arrival at Sheraton for the meeting

The rate at which refugees are flocking into Uganda amidst inadequate support from the international community is likely to lead Uganda into a situation of high indebtedness, the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has said.

Kadaga said she was disappointed with the International community which has left Uganda to shoulder much of the burden of refugees.

“We had a humanitarian summit in 2017 as you know; it was a big hype. The international community was in Kampala and they pledged to give Uganda US$ 2 billion but in the end they sent only US$ 350 million,” said Kadaga.

The Speaker made these remarks at a meeting on humanitarian localization at the Sheraton Kampala Hotel on Wednesday, 28 October 2020.

Kadaga said Uganda is witnessing depletion of its natural resources and pressure on infrastructure translating into costs to government.

“I have told donors that Ugandan roads were not made for these high tonnage trucks that transport relief items. The roads connecting to refugee communities are in worse state; I have told them that they need to construct roads,” she said.

Kadaga maintained that whereas government has had to shoulder the burden, the United Nations should take full responsibility of refugees who currently 1.4 million people.

 “Refugees belong to UN; for us, we are simply the host. The UN should therefore carry their full responsibility,” Kadaga said.

The state Minister for Local Government, Hon Jennifer Namuyangu said her ministry is concerned that in some of the refugee host communities in Yumbe and Obongi districts, the population of refugees is way higher than that of Ugandan nationals. This she said is likely to breed conflicts resulting from access to services and resources within such communities.

The Kabale Municipality MP, Hon Aja Baryayanga said this has more often bred conflicts resulting from nationals who he said feel rejected by government in favour of refugees.  He said Parliament must look into amending the law to provide for mechanisms of raising funds to facilitate refugees in order to reduce pressure on resources designed for nationals.

Baryayanga called on government to crack down on misuse and diversion of resources meant for humanitarian purposes.

 “We passed a motion in Parliament to support refugee host communities but I can tell you this money did not reach the intended communities,” said Baryayanga.

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