Uganda Police Force (UPF) choking on debts
KAMPALA (DAILY MONITOR) – The Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development says it will not fund accumulated debts of Shs85.3 billion and a multi-billion e-Policing Project.
Most of the arrears were incurred under utilities and feeding.
The force is heavily indebted by UMEME (Shs28.3 billion), Water (Shs13.4 billion) and telecommunications (Shs 3.2 billion), rent (Shs3.7 billion and maintenance (Shs1.4 billion).
Other debts include salary, gratuity and feeding estimated at Shs 2.04 billion and Shs 33.3 billion respectively.
The ministry also declined to fund the e-Policing project estimated at Shs 203 billion, citing limited resource envelope.
The facility, according to the Inspector General of Police Gen Kale Kayihura “is a national project under the directives of the president.”
The project consists of a CCTV network, expansion of the digital mobile radio networks as well as maintenance and upgrading of the IT systems among others.
The Police force has further decried a budget shortfall of Shs721 billion shillings, saying that it is a threat to the institution’s function.
According to the 2018/19 Budget Framework Paper, the Force was allocated Shs514.7 billion shillings out of the required Shs1.2 trillion.
Among the underfunded activities, this reporter has established that the institution requires Shs71.7 billion for the construction of staff quarters, but only Shs4.6 billion was allocated.
“The Shs 4.6 billion [provided] cannot complete a block estimated at a cost of Shs 5 billion,” reads part of the police budget statement submitted to Parliament.
The overall total cost of the 17 blocks (each containing 1020 housing units) is Shs 85 billion.
In FY 2017/18, only Shs 8.7 billion was given to the project.
The Force also requires Shs 114 billion for Criminal Investigation and Intelligence for FY 2018/19 but only Shs 9 billion was allocated.
The Police Chief, pleaded with the Committee to consider increasing their budget for easy execution of their tasks.
“Our plans for fulfilling our mandate are based on a concept built on crime prevention, through making our small force very effective,” he said.
The Police is estimated to constitute a force of 40,000 men and women, charged with policing close to 40 million people.
To make it highly effective, Gen Kayihura says that funding must be prioritized by investing in training and equipment towards making police highly mobile.
The police chief also said that they have managed to bring down the crime rate from 298 per every 100,000 people in 2014/15 to 292 in the last financial year.
He attributed this to early crime detection, community engagement through crime preventers and joint security relations with other agencies.
He refuted allegations of rifts between the police and sister agencies, as well as individual differences.
He however argued that there a number of inadequacies that have persisted in the country’s justice system, that need to be addressed.
“There are inadequacies in police especially at the level of investigation and management at stations and we are working on it but there are also inadequacies in DPP, courts and prisons,” he said.
He also said that bail and production requirements of suspects is increasingly challenging, asking lawmakers to consider reviewing existing legal provisions.
Citing other regional countries like Kenya and Rwanda, Gen Kayihura said that bail has been revised and producing suspects to court has been put to seven days and not 24 hours which he says is unrealistic.