Featured Photo:Minister Esther Anyakun presenting the Disaster Risk Management Plan to Parliament on Wednesday
The Minister State for Disaster Preparedness, Hon. Esther Anyakun, has presented to Parliament the National Disaster Risk Management Plan aimed at preparing the country to manage and prevent disasters better.
In the plan presented to Parliament during plenary on Wednesday, 09 November 2022, the minister said the country has been faced by disasters induced by man-made and natural hazards. She added that Uganda is the 14th most vulnerable and the most unready to cope with hydro metrological disasters in Africa.
Anyakun noted that the country’s annual disaster report in 2020 showed a loss in monetary terms of Shs536 billion which was catastrophic the economy and development of the country.
The minister stated that the plan is going to target all sectors of the economy with special emphasis on hazards. The government, she says, has set aside Shs10.2 trillion as the budget for implementing the plan.
“That figure will bring all measures to attempt outright avoidance of the impacts of disasters in the country,” she added.
The Chief Opposition Whip, Hon. John Baptist Nambeshe, noted that there are a couple of flaws in how government deals with disaster when it arises and should be addressed by this plan.
The Chief Opposition Whip, Hon. John Baptist Nambeshe, proposed that the disaster and refugees ministry should have a separate vote
He proposed that the Ministry of Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees should be granted a separate funding vote so that it does not have to labour with the finance ministry and other government red tape to access funds in case of a disaster.
“The fact that the funds have to be drawn from the consolidated government fund incumbers the response time of the ministry to disasters. Some of these disasters yield a terrible aftermath if not managed in time,” Nambeshe said.
Hon. Emmanuel Ongiertho (FDC, Jonam Country) said that the plan would be better supported by the existence of a Disaster Management Commission and further supported the need for a separate fund to support disaster responses and management.
However, he noted that the money put into that fund should be well utilised. “We do not want situations where money is stolen or misused in that fund,” he added.
The Minister of State for Finance (General Duties), Henry Musasizi, objected saying the vote managed by the Office of the Prime Minister is robust enough to handle arising disasters and has not encountered any problem with it regarding starvation of funds.
However, Hon. Hilary Onek, the Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, retorted saying that the hoarding and unnecessary delay in access of funds whenever the need for them arises exists and is brought about by officials in the Prime Minister’s office.
OUR VOTE: Hon. Hillary Onek, the Senior Minister, says the efficiency of disaster preparedness will only be exceptional when granted a separate vote
“It is common place for us to find that money intended for disaster has been diverted to other things and that is why I wrote a letter to the President asking for Disaster Preparedness to be granted a separate vote,” he added.
Onek noted that back in the day, Disaster Management was a fully-fledged ministry that did well in handling its role. He held that the efficiency of disaster preparedness will only be exceptional when granted a separate vote.
The Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among, said that the matter was crucial and referred it to the finance ministry to determine the practicality of separating the vote of the Disaster Preparedness ministry from the Prime Minister’s office before reporting back to Parliament in a fortnight.
Story by POU