KAMPALA, UGANDA: Government has said up to Shs 1.4 Billion Covid-19 relief cash is yet to be disbursed to vulnerable people as the distribution exercise nears completion.
This was revealed by Julius Kakeeto, the Post Bank Chief Executive Officer, and the Executive Director Andrew Kabeera on Friday while appearing before the joint parliamentary team, comprising the Public and Local Government Accounts committees.
The committees were tasked to review a list of beneficiaries of the COVID-19 cash, which was tabled before parliament by Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja last month. Under the initiative, the government has been distributing 100,000 Shillings to selected people classified as vulnerable during the 42-day lockdown.
The beneficiaries were identified from groups of people that depend on daily earnings in Kampala, cities and municipalities across the country. They included bus or taxi drivers, conductors, baggage carriers, wheelbarrow pushers, touts, traffic guides, barmen, DJs, barmaids, waiters and bouncers, bar, gym and restaurant workers, boda boda riders, special hire drivers and Uber drivers, salons, massage parlour workers, teachers and others.
According to the Ministry of Finance, 53.5 billion Shillings was approved as COVID-19 emergency funding to cover 501,107 targeted beneficiaries. But out of this, a total of 2.854 billion Shillings was spent on administrative costs including mobile money transfer costs, and the remaining sum of 50.645 billion Shillings was transferred to the Ministry of Gender account in Post Bank to facilitate direct transfers to the selected beneficiaries.
Kabeera says that Post Bank received 488,272 transactions from the Ministry of Gender and they successfully processed 487,307 using the platforms for MTN and Airtel, but 965 transactions failed.
Sarah Opendi, the Tororo Woman MP asked whether the bank still has money to distribute or it had closed transactions. She also asked officials from Post Bank to explain what was going to happen to the 965 failed transactions.
In response, Kakeeto confirmed that they still have 1.4 billion Shillings on the account.
“We have money on the account for Ministry of Gender, whether it is going to be for paying out, or whether it is for their operations or whether it is for covering certain cost…we don’t know. We can’t comment on that but we have a balance of 1.433 billion. It’s sitting on the account. Out of what we received totalling 52.371 billion,” said Kakeeto.
Kakeeto and Kabeera said that they are waiting for additional instructions from the Ministry of Gender regarding the balance.
Regarding the 965 failed transactions, Post Bank said that telecom companies are better placed to answer.
“We can let Telecoms respond to that but the sample is there are those which may be blocked for different reasons which we may not know. But I think the Telecoms would know because the failure comes from their system,” said Kabeera.
Andrew Rugamba, the MTN Mobile Money CEO said that some numbers did not exist on the network and therefore transactions could not be made.