By Juma Kirya Sr.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health has said that it could not implement the president’s directive to give nurses lunch allowance last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a statement, the permanent secretary in the ministry of Health, Dr Diana Atwine explained that budget estimates for lunch allowances were worked out, however the implementation was affected by Covid-19 pandemic.
Dr.Diana Atwine’s statement came shortly after nurses and midwives under their umbrella body Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union (UNMU) vowed to go on strike over lunch allowances estimated at Shs70 billion until the money is included in the 2021/2022 financial year budget.
“The attention has been drawn to the letter and claims made by the president of Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union stating that lunch allowance for nurses and midwives of this country is an unfunded priority. Additionally, an online media house further published a story stating that Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng is on the spot for diverting Shs 70 billion for nurses’ lunch,”she stated.
She said that the above claims are unfounded, baseless and authored with malicious intent to taint the image of the ministry of Health’s top management and the sector at large
Atwine said her ministry has not received any money to this effect and it cannot divert money without the knowledge of the ministry of Finance.
“The Ministry of Health, Ministry of the Public Service, Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development and the line ministry are working out a sustainable solution to this issue as communicated in our earlier engagement, therefore, we request all concerned parties to be patient,” Atwine said.
In February, the nurses and midwives called off their planned strike after the government promised to give them Shs 70 billion for lunch allowance.