Officials from the Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) were yesterday grilled by a section of the parliamentary education committee chaired by Pallisa County MP Jacob Opolot. The dons had gone to present their budget estimates for the coming financial year 2019/2020.
Led by the Vice-Chancellor Prof Celestino Obua, the group also included; the Deputy University Bursar, Dominique Musane and Deputy Secretary in-charge of Planning, Robinah Nakakeeto.
Opolot demanded an explanation over illegal businesses operating inside the university premises as earlier highlighted by the Auditor General, John Muwanga in his report for the year 2018.
While responding to Opolot, the Deputy University Bursar Dominique Musane noted that the University has nine temporary kiosks that the management approved to be set up in 2010 under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the owners.
Obua further informed the committee that under the MOU, the tenancy period went up to October 2018 during which they recovered the money used for the construction with some profits and that the university has since made reviews on the operations of the kiosks under a new arrangement.
However, the MPs did not buy the official’s explanation and Opolot later tasked them to explain in detail about the audit query and others before parliament’s Public Accounts Committee- Central Government.
It is not yet clear why but information coming in indicates that the university’s budget has decreased come next financial year 2019/2020, from 48.015 billion shillings to 47.253 billion.
According to the MUST officials, the institution plans to complete its students’ hostel at Kihumuro campus, renovate the teaching facilities at Mbarara campus and complete construction of the main gate at Kihumuro at 3 billion shillings. Despite the reduction of their budget, the university also plans to procure vehicles worth 100 million, ICT 140 million, Machinery and Equipment 319 million, furniture 659 million among other money spending activities.