By Steven Enatu
The Soroti City East Member of Parliament, Moses Attan Okia has strongly opposed a proposal by Zombo Woman representative, Esther Afoyochan which sought to compel MPS to contribute towards purchase of covid-19 vaccines.
Afoyochan last week proposed a deduction of Shs2m from each MP as a contribution towards the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines. This attracted an uproar on the floor of Parliament with many MPs rejecting the proposal.
Now according to Attan, Members of Parliament like him have been doing lots of things for their constituents and procuring vaccines cannot be their role.
He says MPS and citizens in Uganda pay taxes and it’s the mandate of the government through the executive to procure the vaccines for the population.
“There is what the member of the parliament has as a role and there is what the executive has as their role. It’s not the Member of Parliament’s role to buy vaccines. I pay taxes, citizens pay taxes and it’s the role of the executive to provide for services through the resource envelope we give to the executive,” he said.
He added that the government has all it takes to procure vaccines because lots of money has been borrowed from World Bank and International Monetary Fund since the first wave of covid-19. All were geared towards mitigating covid-19 effects unfortunately these monies are even being questioned.
“Do you know that we borrowed from the IMF and World Bank? You are aware that some of these monies are not spent anywhere even and there is a report from the committee on covid-19 response asking for a forensic audit on taxpayers money which was not spent appropriately,” he said.
Meanwhile members of the public like Francis Erau of Wire cell in Nakatunya ward Soroti city West says that MPs were right to reject the proposal adding that individuals making personal contributions to aid the country fight corona virus are weakening the health system.
“It would not be a bad idea but it shows the weakness of our health system in Uganda, it means that the government is not planning for the health system in Uganda. The planning for our people also health wise shall be affected because the government will fold its hand and resort to looking at personal contributions,” he said.
He added that Uganda passed a budget that is supposed to run all sectors of government.
“This issue of MPS building schools, hospitals buying ambulances is not right, it weakens our systems.”
Uganda through the Ministry of health received additional donation of 586,080 doses of vaccines, which comprised 286,080 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from the Norwegian government and 300,000 doses of Sinovac from the Chinese governments on Saturday last week.
The vaccines from Norway will expire on September 30, according to the Ministry meaning the country has around 2 months to exhaust the doses before expiry.
The National Medical Stores (NMS) has said plans are underway to distribute Covid-19 vaccines to districts and that by next week (this week), districts shall have received doses.
The Ministry has vaccinated a total of 1,143,763 people with either one or two doses so far in the country.
Reuters covid-19 tracker indicate that the Average number of new infections reported each day in Uganda falls by more than 290 over the last 3 weeks, 21% of its previous peak
COVID-19 infections are decreasing in Uganda, with 231 new infections reported on average each day. That’s 16% of the peak — the highest daily average reported on June 15.
So far 94,739 infections and 2,734 coronavirus-related deaths have been reported in the country since the pandemic began.