The Forum for Democratic Change(FDC) spokesperson Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda has said President Museveni is the least qualified person to preach frugality because he employs 1,500 employees at his residence (State House) including 139 presidential advisors.
Ssemujju’s remarks followed President Museveni’s statements on the escalating prices of commodities in the country where he ruled out provision of subsidies or tax waivers as a way of cushioning Ugandans against the rising prices of most goods.
For over three months, the prices of almost all goods have gone up, leaving a number of people helpless and crying foul, making the situation worse by the skyrocketing fuel prices.
In his address to the nation regarding the matter on Sunday, Museveni said the only way to solve the problem at hand is using the imported items frugally or doing away with them by getting alternatives which are available.
At a news conference at the party headquarters in Kampala, Ssemujju said President Museveni should first preach frugality to himself before telling Ugandans
He said the head of state preached frugality because subsidies and tax exemptions would interfere with the country’s development agenda.
“This is preaching water and for you, you drink wine. Mr. Museveni continues to live a life of ostentation as if the country is not in distress. He employs 1500 employees at his residence (State House) including 139 presidential advisors. He has even included Shs 8.3 billion in the budget to pay rent for these advisors,” he said.
Ssemujju said the total budget for President Museveni’s residence is now Shs 677 billion translating into Shs 1.8 billion per day and the budget for his office is Shs 147 billion translating into Shs 400 million per day.
“Frugality means you cut expenditure on avoidable items. Museveni has given himself Shs 140 billion in the budget passed for donations. He has money for workshops and seminars at his residence. Really. Who attends seminars at the State House? The wife is busy because she is minister for education,” he said.
On the issue regarding the budget for next year (financial year’s budget) totalling Shs 48 trillion, Ssemujju expressed concern that it does not offer immediate solutions to the rising cost of living in the country.
“Taxes on essential goods such as fuel and raw materials were maintained. It announced no subsidy on critical items such soap, paraffin, cooking oil and fuel. This means, fuel prices will continue going up until the Almighty Allah brings them down,” he said.
Of importance to note, he said, is the reckless borrowing by president Museveni to finance his government’s “luxurious spending”.
“Of the Shs 48 trillion budget, Shs 16.3 trillion has been reserved for debt repayment. The Shs 16.3 debt repayment amount includes over Shs 5 trillion which is interest on money borrowed,” he said.