MPs want police budgetary needs prioritised

Kampala – Lawmakers on the Committee of Defence and Internal Affairs have tasked the Ministry of Internal Affairs to prioritise the budgetary needs of the Uganda Police Force.

The Members of Parliament were receiving the 2023/2024 Financial Year Budget Frame Work paper of the ministry. The Minister of State for Internal Affairs, Gen. David Muhoozi appeared before the committee on Monday.

The police force requires Shs2 trillion for the next financial year but only Shs823 billion has been allocated.

Theodore Ssekikubo, Lwemiyaga County MP questioned government’s commitment towards ensuring that the police force effectively carries out its mandate given the huge budget shortfall.

“We are not being honest; I think the minister is telling us that we do not need police. The population is increasing and yet the budget of the police force is reducing. This is a silent way of killing the force,” Ssekikubo said adding that, ’we need to find a way forward. Passing the budget with insufficient funds for police is unacceptable’.

Mubende Municipality MP, Bashir Lubega called on his counterparts to support the Police force in their quest for sufficient budgetary allocations.

“We need to correct this situation by being alive to the budget shortfalls in police. We need to stand our ground,” he said.

Brandon Kintu the Kagoma North County MP urged all entities with a component of security to fund the police force since the budget is now programme based. “We should compel other entities to fund the police programmes under security,” said Kintu.

The Deputy Inspector General of Police, Godfrey Katsigazi appealed for prioritisation of recruitment of officers, saying that the citizens to police ratio is at 1-800 compared to the ideal 1-500.

“The equipment is limited especially patrol vehicles. These were last purchased seven years ago. We need the budget enhanced to ensure that crime is contained,” said Katsigazi.

He pointed out that budgetary constraints impact on service delivery, adding that it is critical that MPs realise that the police force operates under a thin budget.

The police undersecretary, Aggrey Wunyi stressed the need to allocate funds towards expansion of CCTV cameras.

“We require Shs187 billion for CCTV expansion but nothing has been provided. There is now a shift in crimes from urban areas to the semi-urban due to lack of CCTV cameras,” said Wunyi.

Minister Muhoozi however, said that despite the budgetary constraints, the general crime rate has reduced from 502 per 100,000 persons in 2020 to 255 per 100,000 persons in January 2022.

“Security agencies have been able to bust and destroy the Allied Democratic Forces cells and gang elements that have been attacking and killing security personnel,” said Muhoozi.