The Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng has said Government does not have a budget to buy free masks to be distributed to more than 35 million Ugandans as directed by the President in his 14th coronavirus address on Monday,
DailyPost has learnt.
“That is a budget that we did not put in our request to Parliament, so it requires a different budget and it will be proper if put it as a supplementary,” Dr Aceng said yesterday.
During his address, President Museveni directed that free masks should be manufactured and given to about 35 million Ugandans aged six and older within two weeks.
But not even Nytil, the textile company he mentioned has the capacity to manufacture the masks within the timeframe. Nytil can produce only 250,000 masks per day. Even all the 19 companies that had shown interest by Wednesday would still require at least one month to produce enough of the required masks.
Mr Mubarak Kirunda, the director Membership Services with UMA, on Wednesday said they had a meeting at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) with more than 30 companies interested in supplying the masks.
“Over 30 companies submitted their samples yesterday and they will be looked at by UNBS. There are more still coming in this morning, but we are referring them to Ministry of Health. As UMA, we have done our work of getting the suppliers together. The procurement of suppliers and signing of contracts should have started at the Ministry of Health by today because this is a time-bound delivery that should be taken as an emergency,” Mr Kirunda said.
The OPM and Ministry of Health are working round the clock to find manufacturers to contract. The 14 days given by the President elapse on June 4. Dr Aceng said the distribution will be phased within the deadline but the manufacturers are still in the sample testing process with the Ministry of Health and UNBS among other government agencies.