Opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party presidential candidate Patrick Oboi Amuriat has said he will cut the President's Office budget by 50 per cent to raise money for vulnerable Ugandans who have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.
One of the key highlights in the FDC manifesto that is yet to be launched in Hoima City on Thursday, Amuriat addresses post Covid-19 challenges that have left many Ugandans poorer, jobless and homeless.
Through out his campaigns in Teso, Lango Acholi and West Nile regions where he is currently canvassing votes, the FDC presidential candidate has been promising to give each household Shs100,000 per month for six months as Covid-19 relief if he is elected president.
In an interview with Daily Monitor, Mr Amuriat said he will start with cutting the budget for the Presidency and fight corruption to increase money in the national treasury to fulfil his pledge.
"When the President travels upcountry let alone abroad, he moves with a huge team and on a daily basis. We have estimated that Shs600m to Shs1b is spent each day he travels upcountry. And it is worse when he travels abroad. This does not apply to only him but other cadres in government and civil servants. This is the area we are going to target," Mr Amuriat said.
He added: "Look at how President Museveni travels today. He flies to avoid the bad roads they have failed to fix, then his staff moving on ground carrying clothes, food, laundry and a huge convoy of about 40 vehicles including a toilet and a hospital following him wherever he goes. The people who attend his meetings are all given huge sums of money. This is not going to happen in my government; we shall operate a lean government with less expenditure."
Mr Amuriat said he will cut travels of all other civil servants and government cadres to find money for the poor.
He added that he will impose long sentences for officials who will embezzle government funds and also confiscate all the properties.
Amount he needs
With nearly eight million households in Uganda, Mr Amuriat will have to raise Shs800b every month if he is to give each household Shs100,000 and this means that he will need Shs4.8 trillion to run his programme for six months.
If he failed to raise the money, Mr Amuriat said he will borrow since it will be for a good cause.
"If it requires me to borrow this money; we shall do it because this will not only elevate people out of poverty but also come back into the economy and hence stimulate growth," he said.
His proposal has been welcomed by cheers from residents of communities he has campaigned in.
"Some candidates make a lot of promises but when they win they do not fulfil them .But if his promise is genuine, we shall eat the money. Have you seen anyone refusing to accept money even from the current government,"Mr Alex Etun,a resident of Kole District, where Amuriat made the promise, said.
A number of people have criticized Amuriat's promise saying it cannot be achieved because he has not revealed where he will get all the required money given the country's ever increasing debt burden.