The Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation, Dr. Monica Musenero has said that all funds appropriated for the development of Covid-19 vaccines were utilized as directed through the Presidential Scientific Initiative on Epidemics (PRESIDE).
Musenero made these claims on Tuesday responding to allegations made by her predecessor, Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye, that the president was duped and given false hopes on the capacity and capabilities of Ugandan scientists to produce Covid-19 vaccines.
Musenero made these remarks while addressing journalists at the Uganda Media Centre.
Musenero further added that the science, technology, and innovation-Office of the President alongside the team of imminent Ugandan scientists found the comments attributed to Dr. Tumwesigye very unfortunate and aimed at discrediting the excellent work which our scientists have undertaken through very difficult times.
“Our efforts are aimed at giving our nation better footing to protect her people against infectious diseases as well as open up an industrial value chain that will greatly contribute to the social-economic transformation of our country as well as open up jobs for many young Ugandans,” she said.
Musenero further clarified that money was directly allocated to the Presidential Scientific Initiative on Epidemics (PRESIDE), noting that the initiative was there to help the scientists organize, network, and receive technical capacity.
“They have been audited thrice and to date, there’s no single report from the Auditor General that shows misappropriation of funds. Actually, the report states that the funds were used properly, the projects have made considerable progress,” she said.
She noted that in the FY2020/21 PRESIDE funded 23 Projects, and out of these projects, 4 were to support local vaccine research and development.
“Our scientists have made tremendous progress over the past few months even amid delays in procurement and funding,” she said.
While a total of Shs31 billion was approved by parliament, Musenero said that not all funds were released.
“Of the funds that were released, about Shs7 billion was spent on three vaccines,” she revealed.
She added that the projects provided timelines, which were submitted to the then ministry of science, technology, and innovation.
“There is no single shilling which has been misappropriated. The Auditor General has audited these funds thrice. The funds were sent by the Permanent Secretary of the then Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation directly to institutions, and these are big government institutions that have accounting procedures,” she added.
Musenero disclosed that three vaccines are under development; NAV COV-19 Vaccine, UG-REC 19, and UG-INA-19.