MPs reject Shs. 336Bn plan to buy radios for distance learning

Officials from the education and finance ministries yesterday failed to convince Members of Parliament on the need to procure nine million radio sets to facilitate distance learning for students.

The officials, led by higher education state minister Dr John Chrysostom Muyingo and planning state minister David Bahati, were first asked to explain whether the procurement was based on an assessment survey to establish the need for radios and their practicability in facilitating learning.

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The MPs on the budget committee also asked the officials to explain whether they had conducted a survey to establish the impact of the previous methods such as printing materials to establish their success.

Cabinet in June approved the procurement of nine million radios for all homesteads in the country to be used to facilitate distance learning and for effective health mobilisation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Alex Kakooza, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Sports said the radios will cost sh336.8b. Five million radio sets will be procured locally and supplied to the beneficiaries after 60 to 90 days after signing the contract and the rest will be imported.

Four companies have been identified to import the radios at a unit cost of between sh33,925 and sh42,182.

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Hon. Elijah Okupa wondered how the education ministry plans to manage the distribution when the Ministry of Health has not supplied masks to all districts, four months after Parliament approved money for masks.