The Parliament’s Health Committee has tasked the National Medical Stores ( NMS) to account for sh 80 billion meant for procurement of Covid-19 vaccines.
The money was allocated to the National Medical Stores in the last two financial years.
NMS officials led by Apollo Newton Mwesigye, the NMS Board Secretary, Paul Okware the Chief Operations Officer, and Lillian Audo, on Tuesday appeared before the committee to present the entity’s policy statement for the coming financial year 2022/2023.
Buikwe South MP, Dr. Michael Lulume Bayiga questioned the officials about the expenditure of the shs 80 billion appropriated by parliament in the current financial year 2021/2022 towards procurement of Covid-19 vaccines.
Bayiga also demanded accountability for another shs 18.5 billion Supplementary budget that was appropriated in the financial year 2019/2020 under NMS towards the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
But Okware assured MPs that the money is captured under the entity’s non-wage budget of shs 572 billion and that it was spent.
“Within the last 6 months, we have received in excess of 60 billion worth of vaccine and there is more to come,” said Okware in part.
Okware emphasized that both budgets appropriated in the financial year 2019/2020 and 2021/2022 have been received by NMS and spent accordingly.
Dr. Charles Ayume, the Health Committee Chairperson directed that NMS urgently provides MPs with details of how funds related to Covid-19 vaccines have been spent.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance official attached to the committee, Nimrod Agasha told MPs that the NMS budget for the coming financial year 2022/2023 has been cut by shs 80 billion since the government is expecting a grant from the World Bank of US Dollars 137 million which will be used for procurement of Covid-19 vaccines.
During the current financial year 2021/2022, parliament appropriated shs 600 Million and the reduction means that the entity will in the next financial year 2022/2023 receive a total budget of shs 520 billion.
NMS is established under the National Medical Stores Act (Cap 207) of 1993 as an autonomous body responsible for procurement, storage, and distribution of essential medicines and medical supplies, primarily to government health facilities.