EOC seeks Shs6.4billion to Establish Regional Offices

The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) is seeking an additional Shs6.4 billion in the 2023/2024 Financial Year to establish and operationalise regional offices. 

This itemized activity intended to bring services closer to the marginalized people in rural areas, however, remains one of the unfunded priorities for the Commission. 

While appearing before the Committee on Gender, Labour and Social Development on Friday, 14 April 2023 to defend the Ministerial Policy Statement, EOC Chairperson, Safia Nalule Juuko, said they are committed to opening up regional offices if funds are allocated in the new financial year. 

“We have often submitted to Ministry of Finance indicating opening up of regional offices as key unfunded priority. We are hoping that this new financial year, it will be considered,” Nalule said. 

She courted Parliament to join their efforts to eliminate discrimination and marginalization amongst individuals and groups of people. 

The commission intends to establish offices in Northern, Eastern, Western and Central regions. 

Hon. Charles Bakkabulindi (NRM, Workers Representative) emphasised the importance of having regional offices and proposed that EOC considers establishing such offices in a staggered manner. 

“I am looking at establishing regional offices in a staggered process. For as long as you establish these offices then they can be turned into the centre of awareness creation,” Bakkabulindi said. 

The Chairperson of the Committee, Hon. Flavia Kabahenda, agreed with Bakkabulindi’s proposal, adding that the Commission also needs to prioritise funds for tribunal hearings to increase access to social justice. 

“Tribunal hearings need to be increased because social injustices are increasing by day. I have a case of someone who was interdicted in 2013 and up to date, the case has not been concluded yet he is supposed to retire in September this year,” Kabahenda said. 

AUDIO: Hon. Kabahenda

EOC has unfunded priorities totaling to Shs25.1 billion with Shs6 billion required for scaling up the implementation of gender and equity planning and budgeting, Shs1.2 billion for salary enhancement, Shs2.5 billion for awareness creation and Shs3 billion for tribunal hearings among others. In the coming financial year, EOC has been allocated Shs15.1 billion up from Shs14.1 billion in the current financial year. 

During the current Financial Year 2022/2023, the Commission had set a target to conduct 40 tribunal hearings in the four regions of the country but has to date managed to conduct only 16. 

EOC is a statutory body established to eliminate discrimination and inequalities against any individual or group of persons and take affirmative action in favour of groups marginalized for the purpose of redressing imbalances which exist against them.