What business is NRM Government keeping in power?
By Yasiin Mugerwa
Posted Wednesday, August 4 2010 at 00:00
At least Shs45.5 billion meant for farmers in various districts across the country remains unaccounted for as government announced that it had abandoned funding its “six model farmers” programme. Appearing before Public Accounts Committee yesterday, the Executive Director of the National Agricultural Advisory Services (Naads), Dr Silim Nahdy, failed to account for the money.
“Our role as the Naads Secretariat is to coordinate and we request that you allow us to bring these districts (heads) here. The extension services were decentralised in the Constitution and my hands are tied,” Dr Nahdy said.
MPs led by PAC Chairman Nandala Mafabi rejected Dr Nahdy’s explanation after it emerged that he signed the accounts for the Naads money to districts and demanded that he accounts for the farmers’ money within five days. “The issue of Naads is a matter of life and death to our farmers,” Mr Mafabi said.
“We have information that billions of shillings were stolen. Dr Nahdy is the accounting officer for Naads and he must account for the money.”
The money unaccounted for was released in the 2007/8 financial year. PAC yesterday learnt that in some districts like Lira, over Shs1.2 billion was stolen. To check on the abuse, Dr Nahdy said an inter-ministerial committee was established.
Meanwhile, Dr Nahdy told the Committee that under the new Naads—Phase II which was expected to start in July, the government would be focusing on food security as a priority other than the six model farmers per parish. “We are moving from Phase I to Phase II and we are going to issue new guidelines focusing on staple food, emphasising the issue of food security in all the households,” Dr Nahdy said.
However, because of corruption in the implementation of the Naads programme, President Museveni was recently forced to halt the release of funds for 2010/2011 financial year following widespread complaints over mismanagement in various districts. The President said an estimated Shs120 billion will only be released after thorough scrutiny of the projects and current beneficiaries of the programme.