In a televised address, President Museveni announced several measures aimed at easing the lockdown, before conditioning them on the production and distribution of masks countrywide.
MP Patrick Nsamba (NRM, Kassanda County North) opposed the idea of ring-fencing the production of masks to Nytil, a logistics manufacturer.
“It is high time government takes a decision to buy the masks here…and it shouldn’t say that it is company A that will supply to government; Uganda National Bureau of Standards can come up with a standard so that everyone can make the masks,” he said.
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga lent her support.
“I want to know how the ordinary women and young people of Uganda who are already making masks are going to compete with these companies; if Nytil is good, let them compete with others,” she said.
Health State Minister, Hon Robinah Nabbanja offered to clarify, saying the national taskforce on Covid19 has been holding back to back meetings to refine President Museveni’s directives on easing the lockdown.
“We are also giving a leeway so that those who want to buy masks can buy them,” she had quipped, before MPs muted her with inundated procedural objections.
Kyaddondo East MP, Hon Robert Kyagulanyi said President Museveni’s address, simply used the face masks as a ruse to extend the lockdown.
“Ugandans are already making masks for themselves; if he says that anyone who has the masks will be free from the lockdown, it can even end today; Ugandans have their masks…let government come out and tell us why exactly they are continuing with the lockdown,” he said.
Government Chief Whip, Hon Ruth Nankabirwa put up a defense on behalf of government by challenging MP Nsamba to clarify his suit’s country of manufacture. She cheekily challenged him to lay the label on table.
Nankabirwa said the President would, in a subsequent address, clarify the issues.
Fearing the salary cuts that are ravaging the private sector, MPs challenged government to bring the delayed economic intervention to save struggling sectors.
Finance State Minister (Planning), Hon David Bahati appointed Thursday next week as the D-day for tabling the action plan.
“We are discussing the issue in Cabinet and on Thursday, I will give a detailed economic response to address challenges faced by companies,” he said.
Speaker Kadaga warned him against further postponements.