Thursday, 7 November 2013

Ugandan govt spends Ush500m on eclipse


  woman sells special glasses to tourists in Nebbi District ahead of the viewing of the eclipse on Sunday. It has emerged that the Ugandan ministry of Tourism spent Ush510 million on the one-day event.


Kampala. As the excitement over the hybrid solar eclipse wanes, it has emerged that the government spent Ush510 million to organise the eclipse viewing event at Owiny Primary School in Nebbi District.
According to the budget, the Ministry of Tourism spent Ush69 million on public awareness and publicity about the once in a life time event.
“We held a press conference at the Media Centre on October 18 to create awareness about the eclipse event at Ush2.3 million, launched a social media campaign targeting 1 million people on October 15 at Ush13.4 million, had Radio and Television Campaign from October 21 to November 2 at Ush21 million and International media familiarisation trip at Ush32 million,” the budget reads in part.
The Daily Monitor has learnt that state minister for Finance Fred Omach took five journalists from the New Vision, UBC television, NTV, WBS and an official from the Uganda Media Centre for a familiarisation trip ahead of the event but it is not clearly indicated whether he used his personal funds or money from the budget.
According to the budget, the ministry spent Ush1.5 million to invite national VIP guests, Ush4.4 million to hire tents, tables and chairs, Ush5 million for public address system and Ush1.5 million for event site decoration.
Other expenditures were on refreshments - at Ush4 million, mobile toilets at Ush4.9 million, venue branding that included banners and signage at Ush7 million and UV viewing films at Ush3 million.
The money also catered for constructing a borehole at Ush20 million, safety and security at Ush70 million, procuring a monument at Ush77 million, a mobile clinic at Ush10 million and repairing the road to the school at Ush80 million.
The ministry in the budget renovated four classrooms at Owiny Primary School at Ush52.7million, renovated toilets at Ush35 million, sensitised and mobilised Packwach community at Ush10 million.
They also improved sanitation in Packwach at Ush20 million, cleared bushes for viewing sites at USh5 million, rehabilitated three boreholes at Ush20 million, had entertainment for Ush5 million, while Ush5 million went on coordination and mobilisation.
Ministry of Tourism spokesperson Vivian Lyazi said the money was worth the event and that it was spent as budgeted for.
“It was worth it although money reached late and some things were dropped but all the money has been properly accounted for,” he said.
Efforts to get a comment from Uganda Revenue Authority on whether government could have collected any funds during the event, were fruitless as Mr Hebert Ssempogo from the communications office requested for some time to ascertain but couldn’t answer his phones by press time.