Shs 25 bn allocated for UBC's operational costs

Shs 25 bn allocated for UBC's operational costs
Finance minister Matia Kasaija

Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC), has been allocated Shs 25 billion in the supplementary budget to address operational costs.

Parliament recently approved a supplementary budget of Shs 3.5 trillion to support various government sectors, including the State House, the President's Office, and the Ministry of Health.

During the House sitting on December 6, 2023, the funds were approved under the Supplementary Expenditure Schedule No.1 for the Financial Year 2023/2024.

The report presented by the Chairperson of the Committee of National Economy, Patrick Isiagi, indicates that out of the Shs 1.9 trillion, State House received Shs 441.3 billion for classified expenditure, while the Office of the President was allocated Shs 26 billion for hosting the Non-Aligned Movement and G77+1 summits in 2024.

According to the report, UBC did not receive any funds from the government during the budgeting process for the financial year 2023/24. As a result, the broadcaster faced challenges in paying salaries, covering utilities, meeting operational costs, and providing free-to-air broadcasting services.

The allocated funding of Shs 24.833 billion will enable UBC to address its operational costs, as noted by Isiagi partially.

The committee also recommended the approval of Shs 47.333 billion to the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance. This allocation will cater to the subvention non-wage expenses of the Uganda Institute for ICT, ICT Innovation Program, Business Process Outsourcing services (Shs 22.449 billion), and UBC (Shs 24.833 billion).

In a previous report, the parliamentary committee on the budget highlighted a reduction in UBC's budget, leading to challenges in paying its staff.

The committee informed the House that UBC began receiving a wage budget of Shs 3.788 billion from the finance ministry in the financial year 2018/19, covering part of the staff salaries.

These funds were included in the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) of the ministry and continue to be paid until now.

Additionally, the committee, stated that UBC received a recurrent budget of Shs 12 billion for its MTEF in the same year.

This allocation was intended to be a subvention from the Ministry of ICT to UBC, covering the remaining portion of the wage and other recurrent expenses.

The committee noted that UBC staff often face delays in receiving their salaries due to untimely collections of internally generated funds.

Given these circumstances, UBC requested an allocation of Shs 6.523 billion for the financial year 2023/24 and the MTEF to cover its wage bill.

Ideally, this amount would be paid through the Ministry of ICT to ensure timely payment of staff salaries and associated benefits. The committee recommended that the government allocate this funding to UBC for the enhancement of the wage bill, with the payment being channelled through the Ministry of ICT.

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