Uganda: Government to Release Money for Makerere Interns

The Finance ministry yesterday said it is resolving a "technical problem", and expect to disburse money for Makerere University internship programme either today or Monday, next week.

"It is true that we have not yet remitted the money to Makerere University due to some technical problems we encountered, but I am sure that this problem will be resolved by the end of today (yesterday) and the university will have this money on its accounts by Monday," said Mr Jim Mugunga, the ministry spokesman.

Mugunga's revelation came hours after Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, told this newspaper that the money had already been credited on the university's account and would be availed to students by today.

"This money had delayed due to various reasons, but we have worked it out with the Ministry of Finance and the money has already been put on our accounts," he said.

The cash had already been wired to some of the university colleges, Prof Nawangwe said, and some lecturers had received their portion for supervising interns on work placement upcountry.

Enraged students yesterday stormed Makerere University Main Building to express their displeasure over the inordinate delay by the institution to finance their internships, which is a pre-condition for their future graduation.

Police restrained them before accessing the Vice Chancellor's office, and Prof Nawangwe sauntered to address them in front of the building.

Mr Julius Kateregga, the guild president who led the aggrieved students, said they agreed with Prof Nawangwe to have their money remitted to their accounts today, failure of which would result in them storming Parliament and Finance ministry headquarters on Monday to table their demands.

Internships are crucial components of certain programmes for hands-on experience and pre-condition for graduation.

Hundreds of the 6,000 government-sponsored students, mainly those pursuing science programmes such as medicine, surveying, engineering and urban planning, should have started internship on May 17.

Each student was supposed to receive Shs350,000 but none has been paid.

Private students with money to finance their work placements and many of whom were already in the field, are also stuck because academic staff to supervise them are yet to receive facilitation from the university.

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