Uganda’s High Commissioner to Kigali, Ambassador Robert Rusoke has called for construction of a chancery building in Kigali in bid to reduce on the cost of rent.
Rusoke made this request while appearing before the Foreign Affairs Committee on Monday, 16 January 2023 to respond to issues raised by the committee on the Budget Framework Paper.
He said that the embassy was notified by the landlord that rent would be increased from US$63,600 per annum to US$96,000, effective January 2022.
“The embassy does not have the funds to cater for the rental increments; the Mission requested for supplementary funding from Ministry of Finance but did not get a positive response,” Rusoke said.
Legislators on the committee chaired by Hon. Norah Bigirwa Nyendwoha raised concerns about the high cost of rent.
Hon. Muwada Nkunyingi (NUP, Kyadondo East) queried the nature of the tenancy agreement entered with the said landlord.
“I do not know if they signed a rental agreement for one month or two months; This agreement would not arise if they had a durable tenancy agreement,” Nkunyingi.
Nebbi Municipality Member of Parliament, Hon. Hashim Sulaiman tasked the High Commissioner to provide an update on the construction of the chancery building in Kigali.
Hon. Patrick Mutono (NRM, Butebo County) noted that the increase in rent of US$32,400 was too high and advocated for the High Commission in Rwanda to have its own property.
Ambassador Rusoke attributed the increase to the change of location to a more secure area.
While presenting the Mission’s report, the accounting officer Robert Tugume said limited access to operational funding has affected the effective execution of their activities.
He noted that programmes like tourism development as well as community mobilization and mindset change, have not been allocated funds for the new financial year.
“The Mission’s annual budget has suffered a shortfall of Shs399 million and this is going to affect the operations and planned activities in financial year 2023/2024,” said Tugume.
In a related development, Uganda’s High Commissioner to Kuala Lumpur, Ambassador Betty Bigombe said they have limited funds which has also affected its activities.
“There are many activities here but you cannot move to other countries or do some of those activities. You remain locked up at your office wondering what to do. It is embarrassing when some embassies ask why we are not involved in some activities,” Bigombe said.
The budget for Uganda’s High Commission in Kuala Lumpur stands at Shs3.378 billion compared to financial year 2022/2023 with Shs3.492, representing a shortfall of Shs115 million.