Saturday, January 14, 2012
GROWING UP BY WILLIAM KITUUKA TO HAVING THE CURRENT GOAL OF A LEADING ANTI-CORRUPTION CRUSADER IN UGANDA
I was born on 12th October 1959 at what I believe was a home of a skilled Traditional Birth Attendant, as it was not officially a clinic at Matugga in Wakiso district.
As a child I enjoyed playing, more so football, and many times I would leave home to go to play football. I remember teachers at school used to be good friends and I was prefect in primary school for more than one year.
I loved the way my father used to work hard to see us go to school, how he used to do the gardening among other things. I also took serious gardening lessons by a one Mr Matembe our Science and Gardening teacher. So, I love Garden work.
I had loved to do Sciences for Higher School, but my former Headmaster chose an Arts combination for me. I joined Makerere University offering Arts combination and I ended up with a B. A. (Hons) in Economics/Rural Economy. I worked as a Banker and today I see my self as a Civil Society Activist who is in for Good Governance Practice and it is true that in our setting, it is corruption which is the basic problem, hence I wish to continue on seriously as an Anti-Corruption Crusader in Uganda till my death.
William Kituuka Kiwanuka
A COMMENT ON THE GLOBAL CALL TO ACTION AGAINST POVERTY
The Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) by the civil society is a healthy innovation that shows concern about the perspective of poverty on a global scale and the wish for collective measures to see the people who are victims of poverty get out of the vicious circle of poverty which has been witnessed by the grandparents and the children yet the great grand children also are to suffer poverty where many nations have been able to make a break through. When contributions are made and the World We Want Report submitted, the issue is what next?
The fact is that many of the countries which are locked in poverty from day one onwards have people who have solutions out of the poverty situation, but there are two major players to blame hence the continued poverty of our countries. These are the leaders of the countries in question and the wrong policies which they put in place, second the donor community, who more often than not don’t give chance to locally generated ideas by the affected communities and instead impose on us what they think works, and in some instances end up worsening our conditions. It is a fact that democracy is according to my observation being dictated to our countries as the best way to govern ourselves. Unfortunately, in many of our countries, this democracy is easily talked about than practiced. A case in point is my mother country Uganda. The current leadership (NRM/A - Party) waged a 5 – year bush war to overthrow an elected Government (UPC) under the guise that it had got to power through a stolen victory, and wanted to see the country liberated from vote thieves! 25 years down the road, the party is a chief architect of scheming to see itself in power; many of its leaders will do whatever it takes either to bribe the people to see the NRM politicians remain the elected people’s representatives. We have seen a President who came promising a fundamental change; instead being party to reversing even the few gains the country had made! It is ironical to see stiff competition for most of the positions within the ruling NRM party and not have a single serious person stand to challenge the head of the party who doubles as the head of state! It is sad that the longest ever process to come up with a Constitution was witnessed in Uganda, but before the Constitution could be tested, here was the head of state spearheading a change to remove the term limits so that he rules on up to when only God knows. These are the problems which in the final analysis lead our countries to abject poverty.
We have the good Economists whose voice is ignored. Time and again voices have been raised over the administrative expenditure in Uganda, but trust our leaders, they never listen to Economic sense, what they have in their vocabulary is political sense! To day we see a kraal size Parliament in Uganda! The 8th Parliament approved the creation of 32 new districts, nine municipalities and fourteen counties which saw the number of legislators go up from 319 to the current 375 in the 9th Parliament. In the name of affirmative action, each district has a woman representative, so Parliament ends up a very big drain on the resources which are not there because the country in actual fact gets over 60% funding (considering what the NGOs put in and other resources not reflected in the Government budget as read by the Minister of Finance for example, the World Vision Uganda Ministry budget grew from US$ 60,026,221 in 2008 to US$ 67,345,041 in 2009; while UNICEF Uganda in 2007 received US$ 72,918,626.43 ) from external sources! Rapid population growth and persistent systematic poverty, coupled with poor indicators in areas of health and education, have proved serious obstacles to development in Uganda. Government’s decision to further the decentralization process has highlighted issues of local fiscal management, including revenue raising capacity, downstream resource flows, and fiscal accountability and transparency. This has increased local dependency upon external partners.
What happens to the money locally generated is any body’s guess. Corruption has flourished more than ever before. It surprises to see ‘funny characters’ taken as owners of assets you can never believe they own. This is one way many of our politicians disguise their ill gotten wealth by having the assets in other people’s names! The essential social services are a night mere. For a Government to make a lot of noise that it is offering free education, when in actual practice what it gives per pupil per year is laughable is simply politics. The school year is 9 months and each month shs 450 is what is given to the school per child, then a top up with shillings 100,000 per school per month. However, most schools now have at least shs 25,000 as fees paid, shs 15,000 to 25,000 to be able to avail lunch/porridge, the children have to buy a uniform which may be anything in the line of about shs 10,000 or more. These children have to buy exercise books, set examinations are the norm in all schools and parents have to foot the bill. At the end of the day, the free or Universal Primary Education (UPE) is much more of a political gimmick than a reality. Actually, there is no UPE worth talking about in Uganda given what parents have to pay to sustain the children in Government aided primary schools. It is sad that the cost is high due to among other things the VAT which is abnormally high at 18%. Yet it is also true that Governments in the past used to aid primary schools and we were able to get free books both exercise and text and the cost of goods and services was reasonable, hence these schools were able to meet the cost of sugar and food which is impossible as of now if parents don’t pick the bill.
There has been talk about poverty alleviation, but how do you expect Government policies that are constantly impoverishing the people to miraculously create wealth? We knew of blanket policies which were meant to see all the people out of poverty during the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) Governance, by making marketing for agricultural products a very well organized business. Today, courtesy of the liberalization (which some in NRM have greatly embraced and ended up as the buyers of privatized entities), every Tom and Dick is in export business and what has this done? The prices got for what we sell are not competitive. We need to increase foreign exchange earnings, but which strategies are in place to see this policy a reality? In the final analysis, what we are witnessing is a constantly depreciating shilling. Can you imagine the prices for petrol on display the same day in Kampala city with one petrol station showing shs 3,300 and another shs 3,650 and they are all in business? That is the Uganda we have!
We have through decades been led by a Government which has been involved in fighting its own wars as well as other people’s wars. What this has meant is a big drain on the national resources, poor pay to highly skilled people and the country has become a net exporter of manpower which manpower would greatly help the development process. When you go to the hospitals, it is true, a number of structures have been rehabilitated, but the question to be asked, are there medical personnel to help the people and if they are there, how is their motivation? Do these infrastructures have medicine at all? If there is supposed to be some medicine and some medical staff divert this little to their own ventures, who should be blamed?
We have the mighty donors who impose policies on us. These policies when followed religiously help the impoverished countries to get dollars which dollars unfortunately are poorly monitored by the donor! In the final analysis, more often than not, much of what may have been expected from the donor money is not realized because these donors tend to leave the supervision to the beneficiary countries, and the outcome is the accumulation of assets by a few as we see during the NRM era while majority enjoy abject poverty! The other aspect of the donors is imposing on us policies which ruin our countries the more. When NRM got to power, it badly needed the donor money to get the economy moving. What they did among other things was to embrace the donor policies and among these was the privatization of nearly each and every area where Government had a role. The rationale was that Government among other things is poor at business. Today, Uganda is reaping out of this policy. The power sector is simply a mess where astronomical subsidies are being made and it is not clear whether some interests are not taking advantage. People are paying dearly for the power bills, but it surprises that the companies responsible to see power availed to consumers have resorted to load shedding until such a time when Government pays up the bills for the subsidy of this power. Government pulled out of direct involvement in agriculture business, though much more could still be done (as it has the muscle to see capital intensive investments a reality, as people with such capital are not easy to come-by, which would help agro-processing industrialization, out of which Uganda can be sure of earning foreign currency) and the sector on being left to private players has poor performance yet it is supposed to be the main employer.
To cut the very long story short, The World We Want shall remain in the air till such a time when most of our leaders re-think their selfish interests and strategies which are anti-welfare of the masses. It is true that many of the leaders in the least developed countries would love much more to lead poor people because they are governable. And on a sad note, I want to express my reservations to our leaders more so President Yoweri Museveni, who among other things will always go an extra mile to use the enactment of laws to suit his own personal interests. Today, we see President Museveni wanting to see demonstrators ‘castrated’ when his proposed law where he intends not to grant bail to demonstrators among other ‘innocent until proved guilty’ victims. These developments are not positive to seeing stability which is critical to seeing poverty eradication plans a success.
William Kituuka Kiwanuka
IN UGANDA, BECAUSE WE ARE CORRUPT, WE SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES
The corruption we currently suffer originated with the birth of the so-called liberation of Uganda which led to a 5 year bush war. Today, it is quite clear that the engineers of this war had a hidden agenda and took many Ugandans for a ride. It is common knowledge that NRM party has had many of its functionaries as major players in vote rigging and related malpractices, yet the major reason that took these people to the bush was vote rigging by the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC), today, the rigging and electoral malpractices have taken a different dimension with a number of complex politics which has led the county to be sub-divided into 112 districts!
We are experiencing a depreciating currency and one of the reasons is the injection of money not backed by productivity, to the extent that fixed wage earners work for nothing as many lower cadres’ salaries are about if not less than US$75, just US$21/2 a day that is how Uganda has sank! Why should a Ugandan who was bribed with an NRM T-shirt turn around and cry that the economy is biting hard or one who received monetary rewards to part with his/her vote and have it to the NRM leader? Who is so young and cannot use his/her brain even after told so many times that the NRM leadership should not have gone beyond 2006, by which time according the Uganda 1995 Constitution, given the country’s history, a President was entitled to a maximum of 10 years consecutively in power? Who is so young and can not have the slightest understanding even when told that the NRM leadership has diverted much of the national resources to the defense budget hence leaving job creation, the agriculture sector and social services in dire need hence the scandalous explosion of the unemployed youth? Who is so young and could not smell a rat when the President refused to appoint an Electoral Commission with composition agreeable to the opposition? What about the corruption scandals associated with the NRM Government over the two and a half decades, does it call for an angel to make Ugandans to see sense that corruption by Government is an evil? Who is so young as an electorate and cannot smell a rat on seeing that the NRM Government institutes Commissions of Inquiry and ends up sitting on the findings?
Given the above background, Ugandans need to blame themselves for nurturing a regime which is simply ruining the future of the country and its people. It is absurd how people who have gone to school resort to demanding for more districts when there is evidence that the already many districts keep crying to Government for more resources, and once granted the district status, the few elites turn around to the poor and charge these so much hence impoverishing them the more!
While in primary school in the late 60’s and early 70’s, I could write down all the names of the districts of Uganda, and practically all the Ministers. Today, it does not make sense as districts are increased every other day to the extent that by the time a child gets a question to make a district, the same district is already sub-divided, a process which does not make any economic sense though the advocates try to reason it out to slow thinkers who cannot see far. It makes a lot more logic to put support at sub – county level for service delivery than coming up with a duplication of man power and related logistics for political reasons but no economic sense at all.
I am an advocate of good governance and do support elections, however, the state of affairs in Uganda is a cause for worry. When the Electoral Commission demands for shs 170 billion to conduct Local Council1 elections, you wonder whether there is value for money more so, when many of the LC 1 Chairman cannot even ensure that community services take off in their areas. Instead, where there are land deals and disputes where L C chairpersons can make a deal, that is where they are active. To many who see chairmanship as a life job, they see antagonizing the population for community services takes away their votes so the people end up with a law deal, yet when billions a sunk into the exercise.
IS MUSEVENI PUSHING FOR ACQUISITION OF MABIRA BECAUSE LEASES HAVE EXPIRED AND VERY EXPENSIVE FOR SCOUL TO RE - KNEW?
It may not be clear to the common Uganda citizen why the President is pushing at all costs to acquire Mabira’s 7,100ha for Mehta’s Sugar Corporation of Uganda Ltd (SCOUL) to undertake the alleged expansion of his Sugarcane Plantation. Why do I say ‘alleged?’, the reason is found in a publication by Uganda Land Alliance – April 2007, entitled: “The Potential Impacts of Allocating Government Land and Land Held in Trust to Investors on Local Economic Development: A Case of Mabira Central Forest Reserve.”
Under SCOUL at a glance (2003) it is indicated that the area under cane is 9,000ha, however, regarding the Expansion of SCOUL’s production, it is written that the company has devised two strategies: Increasing on the out-growers’ scale and a lease of 7,100ha of Mabira Central Forest (MCF). According to the report from the Inter-ministerial Committee that carried out an assessment of Mabira forest, it was reported that the request for land in Mabira from SCOUL was forwarded to the Ministry of Lands through State House. They made a visit from 24 – 26 October 2006, and had consultations with Mehta Group which yielded justifications for SCOUL’s request for land, among which are:
1) The claim by Mehta that part of the forest is heavily encroached upon and that much of the tree cover of the area they want to takeover is composed of inferior trees;
2) Acquisition of land locally had failed. In some instances land owners were not willing to sell, however, stakeholders in Mukono and Kayunga mentioned to the Inter-ministerial Technical Committee that they had land and were willing to sell or rent it provided they were given fair prices at the going market prices;
3) And that failure to acquire the land for expansion has the following implications:
a. Running out of business due to unfavourable competition in the sugar market,
b. The country will continue to lose foreign exchange to the tune of $25 million due to the importation of sugar,
c. The plan to expand electricity co-generation (to 12 MW) and alcohol production (to blend with petrol) will be jeopardized.
However, it is true that SCOUL has a total of 17 scattered sugarcane plantations mainly on leaseholds which have already expired! The leaseholds were obtained at an average price of UGX 10,000 per acre for a period of 49 years. Today, the land owners are demanding for about UGX 1,000,000 – 2,000,000 per acre for the renewal of the lease. Given SCOUL’s failure to pay the market price for land, some of the landowners have recalled their property; an evident example being the location of former Lugazi University.
The question raised is whether it is true that the land needed is for expansion of the Sugarcane estate given that leases on which the estate is have expired. Second, is it just for Mehta to have made the proposal to Government that he acquires Mabira Central Forest?
All in all, the Government of Uganda should get to terms with the owners of the land whose leases have expired and propose the buying of this land from them such that the beneficiaries are paid over a period of time, or have the land returned to them on condition that they grow sugar cane to boost the Sugar industry in Uganda.
We have to agree that Mabira cannot be tampered with just like that given the volumes of what has been written about the possible implications, hence the Government should settle for the possible alternative options which leaves Mabira intact.
ISN’T PRESIDENT MUSEVENI ABUSING THE OFFICE OF PRESIDENCY?
It is not clear whether what is being revealing as having gone on in Uganda and the President’s name being mentioned does not tantamount to abuse of the Presidency by President Museveni. When you cite the case of Burundi getting money by Museveni’s authority, one wonders whether Museveni imagines that tax payer money is for his to use as he wants. A deal involving shs 38bn for Luweero war support.
One at times has to sympathize with civil servants who more often than not have to take Museveni’s instructions without question by virtue of their employment, yet some of the actions bind them to the extent that they can be prosecuted.
William Kituuka Kiwanuka
IT IS NOT EASY BEING IN UGANDA AND NOT CORRUPT
Corruption is the way of life in Uganda hence not being corrupt is out of the norm. A few days ago, someone said that when the Uganda Police need some operation money and they have no cash on hand, the last resort is to get from the collections made by Traffic Officers on the road. My informer said that this instruction was given in his presence while he was at the Police Station when a Policeman was told to go and get shs 100,000 from those on the road! When talk is made about a country gone to the dogs, it is simply Uganda. The traffic officers have a duty to see that Government gets money from the express penalties issued to vehicle drivers, but that in the execution of this job, not all offenders are issued with receipts, a number pay cash and this cash is what helps so many execute official and non official duties in addition to bridging the not worth talking about salaries these people get given the cost of living in Uganda.
When the presidential campaigns were on, we told Ugandan that enough was enough with Museveni’s overstay in Government in that enough damage had been done and time was ripe to see the anomalies rectified, little did we know that NRM uses the poverty of the masses as one means to see its continued governance of the country. Some people are surprised the high cost of virtually everything in the country, but what would be expected when the NRM realized that dishing out shs 30,000 to all who wanted it could earn them new tenure in office. So, who ever thinks that the Museveni Government is seriously interested in fighting mass poverty simply deceives himself.
In such circumstances; one finds it a hard struggle to sacrifice to preach and practice no corruption when his or her efforts are not funded. If for instance one has to run an organization to preach no corruption and such an organization is not Government or donor funded you imagine the way he can be able to have an influential mission. Everything is virtually expensive; one has to take children to school where even in the Government aided schools it simply does not make a difference because across the board a parent/benefactor has to raise substantial amounts of money to see the child in school.
While the Makerere University Council has all along wanted to increase tuition fees to what they deem is in line with other Universities in the region, it is true that they have succeeded to raise additional fees through non – fees charges as is illustrated below (in the ever depreciating Uganda Shilling):
1) A form filled by a Private Student applying to the University has to be paid for shs 52,000. What is absurd and unfortunate in the corruption ridden Uganda is the way everybody is unbothered about the shs 2,000 additional fees charged under the guise of Ledger fee, this as far as I am concerned is robbery which the NRM should see stopped. It is not clear whether it is State House where this money is remitted, if it is not so, the Government of Uganda should make sure that this stupid tax is stopped.
2) Makerere University talks about what they call functional fees (payable to the University) as below:
i. Registration fee per year – 100,000
ii. Examination fee per year – 100,000
iii. Library fees per year – 20,000
iv. Development fee per year – 123,500
v. Contribution towards research fund per year – 20,000
vi. Technology fee per year – 50,000
vii. Internship/Field attachment fee per Semester 100,000
viii. University identity card – 15,000
ix. Rules and caution – 2,000
x. Academic Gown – 16,000
3) Other Fees (payable to the University)
a. Application fee (payable at the time of application) – 20,000
b. Late Registration (Surcharge) fee – 50,000
c. Accommodation – Fee per semester – 220,000
d. Certification fee per copy – 3,000
e. Re-examination fee per course – 20,000
f. Graduation fee on Graduation – 30,000
g. Convocation fee on Graduation – 10,000
h. Certificate fee on Graduation – 20,000
i. Transcript fee on Graduation – 20,000
REGARDING FEES PAYMENT
i. All fees are payable in full at the beginning of the Academic year or in two installments at the beginning of each semester.
ii. Every privately sponsored student is obliged to pay all the Functional fees and the Tuition fees before he/she can be registered and allowed to attend classes as well as being issued with the University Identity Card. Payment of all Tuition fees must be completed within three weeks of a semester or else your place will be forfeited to another candidate.
iii. The University Council reserves the right to vary fees chargeable any time with or without prior notice.
You can imagine the above! That is the structure in a Museveni led Government which claims is concerned about the welfare of the people of Uganda. I don’t know how many people are employed by the Government and have a take home pay of shs 500,000 or more. Does such a fee structure make sense when there is a Government concerned about the welfare of the people it leads? It is absurd that the same insensitive Government is sponsoring the so-called excelling students. These are majority from the well to do who are majority beneficiary of corruption that is the order of the day, the politicians who don’t mind exploiting the people as long as they can live lavish lives.
What I can say is the NRM leadership is the most unfortunate thing that has happened to Uganda, and whether this is a punishment the people of Uganda deserve, for once God should have a second thought about it.
IT IS ONLY AN IDIOT THAT CAN ACCEPT A BRIBE TO SEE TEACHERS NOT GET A SALARY INCREMENT IN 2011/12 FINANCIAL YEAR
I heard on news in the electronic media that MPs accepted a bribe to agree that there is no money that can be paid to teachers in th current financial year. If this is not a rumour but gospel truth, then the MPs who got the alleged shs 1,000,000 or so are a bunch of idiots, and whoever raised this money to see it paid to them deserves no better than being burnt alive the way thieves are treated by the locals these days. Those who have education at all have gone through the hands of teachers, it is sad that the plight of teachers has been ignored by the NRM Government and instead the money that would go to see them enjoy better pay has either been stolen or used to pay people in useless administration positions and among other areas to see to the creation of an exploitative middle class. It is sad, but on the matter of teachers’ salaries, the NRM has proved a real disappointment to Ugandans. I happen to be a son of a father who through his active life was a teacher, but it is basically the NRM administration where I have seen the pay of the teacher not worth. If it had been one of those areas NRM takes as priority, every Ministry budget would have had a cut to realize their objective. What is most unfortunate is that the NRM Government has never owned up to the increasing depreciation of the currency, instead they are quick to tell those who can believe them that the problems are world wide!
The day when majority of the people of Uganda learn what the truth is in life, may be the country will change for the better. The people continue to make decisions that cannot help them, they should know the truth, and many times have been told the truth about NRM leadership, given its deceit and how some of its cadres have looted the country, these same people end up electing NRM in a variety of positions and the country keeps sinking on and on. When a review is made of a number of contracts made, when you see someone’s contract cancelled and he demands billions that are later paid to him, you wonder why God cursed the would be Pearl of Africa.
You need to be a victim of the excesses of some of the people in NRM to appreciate how rotten it is. In 1988, I made a decision to join Nile Bank with the hope of moving to the top fast given that we were so many graduates in Uganda Commercial Bank. Little did I know that I had made a life long mistake! In 1990 about which time the problems of power started, a gentleman and a businessman – Caeser Kakooza was used by some people within Nile Bank with the possible knowledge of Richard Kaijuka a former shareholder in the same bank and the then Minister of Energy to open a Uganda Electricity Board account in the bank. One day, Kakooza presented a cheque solely signed by himself, as the officer concerned with corporate accounts, I accessed the account number and found all details correct, but had not been party to the opening of the account up to the processing of the cheque book, and here I was signing cheques on an account which some insiders knew was fake but had authorized opening it. Shortly after wards in the course of 1991 around Easter time, it was news to learn that Kakooza had been caught opening a similar account in the then Cooperative bank; and trust some people in Nile bank, the y panicked and saw the best was to send me on an indefinite suspension, and I can tell you, I have never had opportunity to tell court what happened but I lost my job and today from a banker I find myself as an advocate of Good Governance. My last blow was when the Late Abu Mayanja was Minister of Justice and some closed cases were got back to courts of law. This case was one of those and some how I had known about it and went to the Magistrates Court at Mengo; little did I know that I was wasting time. The case was got from the court room it had been allocated and taken to another Magistrate, and when I inquired, I was told that it had been postponed or what and I lost interest in it. So, when some people say that in NRM there are some mafia’s you just have to be a victim of these and accept.
I am convinced that something could be done to alleviate the plight of the teachers if only the Government had them at heart. Merely saying that increasing teachers pay would lead to a circle of other civil servants demanding for pay is empty. If Government created the situation in which the country is in to-date, it has to own up and do all in its mandate to better the situation. As long as we have people in Government who are after exploiting the others and hence taking away the little that majority would share so that they enjoy lavish lives; a chain of women and girl friends, we are doomed. Common sense would dictate to our leaders that shs 200,000 paid to the teachers now cannot even meet the requirements of one big vehicle of many of the senior leaders in a few hours that vehicle runs on the road. If such a vehicle needs shs 100,000 in fuel to travel to Kamuli from Kampala what sense is in shs 200,000 when it is paid to a teacher who is paid full time by Government? What is so absurd and I will repeat it over and over is the insensitiveness of the NRM Government over continued sponsoring of the so-called Government sponsored students. We are having a hello of problems with the NRM simply because it has cadres who think they know and when you analyze what they do it is empty. You now wonder where a parent who serves Government in a dedicated way can get the money to pay for tuition as Government lets the Government owned Universities charge tuition and non-tuition fees as they wish to have the ends meet, where it has failed to fund them as would be required, and instead Government continues with a scheme that would long have been scrapped and replaced by an Educational loan scheme.
As for Uganda we need to send a lot of prayers may be God will reconsider the country and help us see change to take us a step further.
IT SHOULD BE BIG LESSONS FOR NRM GIVEN THE ON-GOING POWER SCANDAL
It is not possible to conceal a blunder for so long. The NRM thought that it would go many miles covered as it kept on deceiving Ugandans and the international community over developments including a very vibrant economy. Many did not know that NRM was leaving on deceit and continued to survive, unfortunately, whoever thought that some of us who have kept criticizing the regime are just opportunists.
It is a fact that we now have loading shedding on a daily basis. If you are not power load shedded during the day, then you are a sure victim at night. Many of us thought that load shedding had come to pass, but it is very disappointing to see what is going on, and one can imagine its implication to the whole economy. People have been stealing whatever they can get their hands on under the cover of supporting the NRM, and today, they are champions buying all the cement and building materials you can think of. They are buying land left and right from the impoverished Baganda, and those Baganda who are not smart enough to buy cheaper land where it exists are surely likely to be the paupers of tomorrow, that is the NRM which has so many well qualified people with most senior positions having people with Masters degrees, but the economy a real mess!
In the mean time, NRM should learn from the facts. If you are told that the life span for a head of state to be useful is 10 years, whatever your ambitions, even when you are the best visionary, just know that the law of diminishing returns eventually catches up with you and, definitely, what we are experiencing in Uganda is good testimony of the truth.
William Kituuka Kiwanuka
11th December 2011
The C. E. O,
Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS)
RE: CHARGES ON WEIGHTS AND MEASURES TESTING
I wish to bring to your attention the charges to the owners of Measuring Equipment. I have learnt that early December, men checking the measuring equipment were in Ssisa Sub-County, and may be, they are still executing their official duty, however, it is shocking to learn that these people were charged twice; that is, using the official UNBS Receipt, and yet the owners of the measuring Equipment had to foot an additional shs 37,000 paid to Uganda National Scales Association. This is wrong, and it is not clear how these figures were arrived at. The receipt I have had opportunity to look at of UNBS had UNBS Basic Fees as shs 2,500; Surcharge shs 2,000; Attendance shs 1,000 and shs 3,000for Weights taken making a total of shs 8,500. That amount of money would suffice as a charge to the owner of a weighting machine which may need adjustments if there are no spares added.
The owners of the Measuring Equipment were required to pay shs 37,000 to Uganda national Scale Association. Your organization needs to clear the air about this payment which was taken from the Measurements Owners in a way many were not satisfied but had no body to seek redress to. I am now getting the matter straight to you so that in case you are not aware, you get informed and do the correction and as well endeavour to see that the people from whom the shs 37,000 was collected get a refund of part of their money.
William Kituuka /Chairman
GOOD GOVERNANCE PRACTICE
PRESIDENT MUSEVENI SIR, YOU HAVE NO CLEARANCE TO TOUCH MABIRA
There have been two important developments on my part during the weekend of 13 – 14 August 2011, all of which were on Saturday 13th, but on two extremes. The positive development was how an infant took on the responsibility of the Late J C Kiwanuka as his heir. It was news to see an infant being installed heir to a man who made a positive name for the good of his country. This man knew no corruption, and he was for the welfare of all in society. To see an infant take up the leadership roles was a big lesson and it was surprising to learn that the child’s name can be abbreviated as J C Kizito so similar to J C Kiwanuka. This was indeed good and a sign of continuity, more so that those responsible for bringing up this infant can ensure that he gets the right guidance so as to fit in the Late J C Kiwanuka’s shoes.
After the good news, it was sad to learn that the President is on the 2nd trial of wanting to dish out land which led to loss of life the first time he made an attempt to give it out, yet public opinion was against the offer. Mr. President Sir, the revelation that you have re-visited this matter and ready to see this forest land go was the worst development as far as I am concerned since you got a re-election to the office of President. Mr. President Sir, if an audit is made of what the country has gone through attributed to wrong decisions; you would hastate to make that move, though you have all the machinery at your disposal to see it implemented. Many of us are okay without sugar if it is the price we can pay to see Mabira remain. We can leave healthier lives with less teeth requiring to be uprooted, and there are many fruits in nature that can be grown to give us Sugar without your having to tamper with reduction of forest land acreage which is critical. I for one as an advocate for good governance and one who does practice it; will only give in to the dishing of this land if there is evidence that you have vested interest in Sugar Corporation of Uganda Limited (SCOUL), in form of shares as is the case with the New Vision Printing and Publish Company. If it is not so, then just heed to the cries of Ugandans and leave Mabira intact. It is true that forest cover has been greatly encroached on by the untouchables during NRM administration, and the damage done is open knowledge given the changed climate largely attributed to reduced forest cover.
Mr. President Sir, many foreign investors would love to own land, but the pressure for land and for the competing demands is great. What is very feasible and which policy can help the local population is for your Government to create an environment which makes it economical for the estate owners to target canes from out growers. There are people who can supply these factories, but one thing mentioned among others is the economic sense of the amount of money paid. What Government can do, and which is in its control is to see the factors of production put in harmony in this country. It is not clear whether when World Bank and IMF came in a big way into Uganda’s economy, all production indictors were put upside down. This is a country where taxes are said to be on the high by those who are producers of wealth. We are told of a number of players who either have to process their goods from neighbouring countries. What logic do Presidential advisors make when their pay does not help the local producers of wealth? Some time, it was published that some companies exporting fish have to take it by road to Nairobi and then catch a flight from there, the reason being that fuel makes taking the flights from Entebbe so expensive. The question to ask, is this a fact or fiction? How does the NRM Government benefit in such a state of affairs? If it is not possible for SCOUL to acquire land without destroying the little Mabira remaining or engaging in increased out grower schemes, for the good of this country, let the deficit on Sugar be imported. Mr. President Sir, as long as you live, and one time get out of office, you should make sure that you are comfortable. It will become so difficult for you to cope with what people who cannot write now will be able to write. We meet people in Government offices who tell us that they know that doing x and y is wrong, but they want to keep in job. Help this country, by heeding to the cries which people make to you. It is now easy as you realize that your offices (State House and President’s Office) are a big drain on the national resources, this cushions you from feeling what it is out, more so, that the hardships people experience now where many work harder than ever before are due to Government policies. Mr. President, it is easy to tell a fixed wage earner to hold on that Government cannot adjust the pay, however, Government cannot come out a single day and say, dear voters, we are sorry, we had saved a lot of money for elections and many more Government projects were funded in a short time, to the extent that today the prices have gone to the highs they are. The Independent Magazine, Issue 118 of July 02 – 08, 2010 page 10 – 12 run a story, “Mbabazi’s trouble inside NRM.” In that story, there is mention of shs 7.5bn for delegates sparks chaos at Namboole conference.” I will not go into the details of the story, but the headline is enough to show one that to Government, there expenditures which matter, others can hang.
In the Poverty Eradication Action Plan 2004/05 – 2007/08, under Forestry on page 77, I quote, “It is becoming increasingly clear that Uganda’s forests are being degraded. Encroachment due to open access and unclear land ownership, conversion for other uses, unsustainable harvesting, urbanization, industrialization and institutional failure are to blame.”
In Africa talks Climate – Research Briefing (Uganda) September 2009, under Climate change in Uganda, I quote, “Climate change presents an additional stress for Ugandans already struggling with the challenges posed by climate variability, ongoing environmental degradation and wide spread poverty. The interrelation of climate change with other factors is complex and still evolving. A recent report by the Global Humanitarian Forum, led by Kofi Annan, labels Uganda as one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change. Rainfall has become more erratic and intense, bringing floods, landslides and soil erosion. Drought and water scarcity has triggered internal migration, including the movement of cattle herders from the Karamoja region. Malaria is increasingly reported in areas where it was once rare.”
From ‘A story of a 30 year partnership between The European Commission and the Government of Uganda,’ Page 13, under Forestry, I wish to quote, “Uganda has faced a major shortage of sawn timber, with almost no plantations having been established since the 1960’s. The 15,000 hectares planted at the time had been decimated, and less than 2,000 hectares of mature plantations remained. It was estimated that Uganda needed some 60 – 70,000 hectares of plantations in order to meet the country’s projected demand by 2025. Otherwise, the country would have to import timber, as well as face increased pressure on its remaining Tropical High Forests (which President Museveni is referring to in the case of Mabira - Editor)”.
In UNDP News Uganda of June – September 2007, under Sustainable development, I quote, “Agenda 21, the global programme of action for sustainable development worldwide, was adopted by world governments during the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, also known as the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 1992. The Rio Conference, as it came to be known, was a result of the call by the UN General Assembly of 1989 for a global meeting that would “devise integrated strategies to halt and reverse the negative impact of human behaviour on the physical environment and promote environmentally sustainable economic development in all countries. This genesis of the discussion on sustainable development clearly had a natural resource/environmental and economic focus. According to Agenda 21, the idea to turn the world from its self – consumptive course to one of renewal and sustenance was emphasized. This perspective highlighted the natural resources focus of sustainable development, since consumption implicitly referred to the way development consumes natural resources. The perspective advocated a more secure, sustainable and equitable future based on sound utilization of natural resources and protection of the environment.”
In NEMA News Vol.3 No. 9 of September 2003, in the article, ‘Short termism is a disaster to the environment,’ Nkeramihigo Julius quoted the Late Bishop Festo Kivengere, “It is immoral to live as if there is no tomorrow and perhaps worse to govern today inconsiderate of posterity.” Julius says that the quote applies to leaders who take part in or allow those they lead to engage in wanton exploitation of natural resources to meet short term socio – economic needs in disregard of sustainable development. Our existence, survival and development and that of future generations lie in our hands, and the leaders of today have an ethical – moral duty to pass on to the next generation the environment as clean, healthy, safe and productive as it were if not better.”
UGANDA GOVERNMENT’S OVER 540BN LUWERO/RWENZORI DEVELOPMENT PLAN (LRDP)
A COMMENT ABOUT THE CHANCES OF THE LRDP
What is immediately noted when one reads the LRDP article is that it is over ambitious, yet having too many areas to cover and with the hope of directly reaching too many beneficiaries not forgetting that the district coverage is so big such that administrative expenses will greatly eat up the would be resources to benefit the disadvantaged. Rather Government should have targeted poles of growth in the two regions on the base of Agricultural Zones and support Agro-based industrialization such that the produce in a specific zone can be marketed to an outlet where the farmer would get a good return to his effort. 2ndly, the practice of agriculture together with animal husbandry by households with land resource has forwards and backwards linkages when it comes to animal waste feeding the garden and the garden products like planted grass feeding the animals together with backup of extension services as well as help in accessing necessary inputs into the production process such that the farmer pays when he makes sells are such efforts that can help the poor to get out of poverty.
It is not clear how the LRDP will work with the Local Governments in the areas of operation; whether some of the work plans will be within the district overall work plans and whether there will not be duplication more so where the LRDP is involved with Sectoral Interventions.
The LRDP is a 5 year Comprehensive Development Plan designed to improve the livelihoods of the communities of the Luwero Triangle and Rwenzori region having been affected by the National Resistance Movement (NRM) Liberation struggle (Luwero) of 1981 – 1986 as well as the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) insurgency (Rwenzori) of 1996 – 2003. What defeats many of the interventions the NRM Government has tried in the past including the NAADS programme is that there is an attempt to want to directly interact with the poor by giving them resources when available, unfortunately, the chain is not complete and a gap is left at the end of it all, the would be beneficiary actually does not benefit. I advocate for a comprehensive package where for example the starting point happens to be a demonstration garden to a village level, when the farmers learn technologies on this garden, they are then able to implement the same on own gardens however with facilitation of the necessary production inputs (seeds, pesticides, etc) as well as continued support on the farm and finally assisted in marketing where the produce is bought by the processor within the locality who would have to pay cash on delivery or at fixed time intervals and recovery made for inputs advanced. Such well connected programmes can work to improve the welfare of the targeted communities.
The programme is open to all community members actively engaged in economic activities. Special interest groups that include the youth, widows, civilian veterans and ex-combatants, orphans and people with disabilities are to be given priority consideration. Having the programme to include all the above mentioned categories is more political than practical in the setting of the LRDP. What is important is targeting those who can be productive on land as a group or those who have agricultural productive land; the balance can be helped when small industries are established in the area, and so on.
The LRDP targets 40 districts from Central and Western Uganda – what is interesting is that Kampala is focused on among the districts targeted. This is wrong. Kampala is not needy and if locally generated resources are well utilized plus the existing investment climate, there is no reason why Kampala eats into the funding for the LRDP which are disadvantaged. It should be excluded and funds sent to the needy districts.
The overall Goal of the LRDP is to redress the adverse socio-economic effects of the NRM liberation war (1981 – 1986) and the ADF insurgency of 1996 – 2003. The overall Goal should be broadened to include getting the areas set to meet the challenges of modernization and competition which is the driving force in the fight against poverty.
The LRDP Programme Objectives among others include improving the economic well being of 105 households per parish in 523 parishes by enabling them to earn at least shs 20 million a year by 2015. This objective makes the picture in which the people are simplistic which is not the case. Some of the poor in these areas are simply not using their time well. A case in point is a youth who decides to leave home and come to make chapati in an urban centre with a lot of unproductive land left behind, a drunkard who takes alcohol at the wrong time when he would be doing productive work; the sickly who need proper medication to be able to engage in productive work and those who need adult functional literacy training before they can engage in productive business ventures. This means that the earning should not be the 1st target, but re-orienting them so that they can eventually fit the situation where they will be able to sustainably earn income which could get anywhere to shs 20 million or more.
William Kituuka Kiwanuka
The LRDP is to benefit 40 districts (by 2010) and it’s a Community Empowerment Plan to Achieve Prosperity for All.
Source: The Premier Executive – A Quarterly News Letter of the Office of the Prime Minister, Vol. 4 of 2010.
Article by Frida Sengooba
The Five Year shs 540.9 billion Luwero/Rwenzori Development Plan (LRDP) coordinated by the Department of Luwero Affairs in the Office of Prime Minister, is a Community Empowerment Plan to Achieve Prosperity for All. It was launched on two separate occasions; one in Luwero and the other in kabarole district.
In Kabarole district, the third Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Internal Affairs, Alhaji Ali Kirunda Kivejinja launched the Plan on 22nd May 2010 at Rubona Primary School in Kisomoro sub-county. The launch in Luwero district was made on 28th May 2010 by the Minister of Local Government, Hon. Adolf Mwesigye; this was at a function held at Kalasa Primary School within Makulubita sub-county.
What is Luwero/Rwenzori Development Plan (LRDP)?
The LRDP is a 5 year Comprehensive Development Plan designed to improve the livelihoods of the communities of the Luwero Triangle and Rwenzori region having been affected by the National Resistance Movement (NRM) Liberation struggle (Luwero) of 1981 – 1986 as well as the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) insurgency (Rwenzori) of 1996 – 2003.
The LRDP targets 40 districts from Central and Western Uganda; they are: Buliisa, Bundibugyo, Ntoroko, Hoima, Ibanda, Isingiro, Kabarole, Kalangala, Kampala, Kamwenge, Kasese, Kayunga, Kibaale, Kiboga, Kyankwanzi, Kirihura, Kyenjojo, Kyegegwa, Luwero, Lyantonde, Masaka, Bukomansimbi, Kalungu, Lwengo, Masindi, Kiryandongo, others include: Mbarara, Mityana, Mpigi, Gombe, Mubende, Mukono, Buikwe, Buvuma, Nakaseke, Nakasongola, Wakiso, Rakai, Sembabule and Gomba.
The above districts were targeted because there was no comprehensive post war recovery programme drawn to address the war effects.
The Goal of LRDP
The overall Goal of the LRDP is to redress the adverse socio-economic effects of the NRM liberation war (1981 – 1986) and the ADF insurgency of 1996 – 2003.
The LRDP Programme Objectives
1. To improve the economic well being of 105 households per parish in 523 parishes by enabling them to earn at least shs 20 million a year by 2015,
2. To repair and improve the condition of 2,300 km district roads; 29,000 km community access roads and 30 km urban roads to motorable state by 2015,
3. To increase the safe water coverage of 11 districts which are below the national level coverage to 65% by 2015,
4. To protect and sustainably manage the environment,
5. To increase access to renewable energy to service delivery points and rural growth centres by 2015,
6. To ensure that there is a Government aided primary school and secondary school in all parishes,
7. To improve the health service delivery,
8. To increase access and use of Information and Communication Technology in the regions,
9. To promote peace, reconciliation and strengthen community based conflict mitigation and management within communities.
The LRDP Programme Time Frame
It is a 5 year Development Recovery intervention whose full scale implementation is effective July 2010 in all the 40 districts. A Pilot Programme was implemented in 15 districts; 60 sub – counties and 240 parishes in 2009/10 Financial Year.
The programme is open to all community members actively engaged in economic activities. Special interest groups that include the youth, widows, civilian veterans and ex-combatants, orphans and people with disabilities are to be given priority consideration. Those benefiting from other Government programmes like NAADS, restocking and the like will not benefit directly.
The overall budget of the Programme is shs 540.9 billion to be contributed to by Uganda Government and Development Partners.
The LRDP has two broad intervention components namely; the Community and Sectoral.
The Community Intervention
This forms the foundation of the LRDP and shall be community led. It will be funded through community grants and directly implemented activities all aimed at enhancing household income and access to services. The interventions emphasize household income enhancement. This aims at enabling households to increase their incomes to a gross of at least shs 20 million a year.
Focus will be on promoting increased agricultural produce and productivity, value addition, processing and marketing, support to small and medium scale enterprises, social mobilization and empowerment of vulnerable groups.
Sectoral Interventions Component
This will address roads, water, environment, energy, education, health and ICT.
1) Roads: District roads, community access roads and urban road surfacing.
2) Water: Support construction of safe water points (boreholes, protected springs, shallow wells, gravity flow schemes and rain water harvesting tanks).
3) Environment: Support districts and sub – counties to produce environment action plans (DEAP, SEAP), mobilize and sensitize communities on environmental protection and management issues and support private individuals to establish tree nurseries in the programme areas.
4) Energy: Working with electricity distribution companies to select and install 85 step down transformers in rural townships along the main electricity grid, support biogas development and install 80 biogas units, provide 180 Government and Community institutions with solar power and support the construction of 375 kms of power lines (Mubende – Myanzi, Mubende – Kyenjojo, Wakyato – Ngoma).
5) Education: Support construction of 74 primary schools in parishes without Government aided primary school, construction of 10 high-rise classroom blocks in the 5 divisions of Kampala, construction of 50 secondary schools in sub-counties without a Government aided secondary school, construct 158 teachers’ houses in schools where attracting and retaining teachers is difficult, build boarding facilities in three existing girls’ secondary schools in Bulemezi, Bunyoro and Rwenzori and support rehabilitation of eight secondary schools destroyed during the war.
6) Health: Upgrade 10 Health centre IVs to General Hospital status and support 30 Health Centre VIs and 70 Health Centre IIIs with staff houses and other equipment.
7) Information and Communication Technology: Establish 36 Community Information Centres, equip 50 secondary schools and three girls’ boarding secondary schools with computer laboratories together with Internet, and support 10 hospitals, 30 health Centre IV’s and 70 Health Centre III’s with computers and Internet connectivity.
LRDP Implementation Modalities
Management, coordination and implementation of the LRDP will follow the existing Government structures. Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) will oversee and coordinate all the LRDP interventions under the auspices of the Minister of State for Luwero Triangle. Technical Management will be by the Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister to provide policy direction, ensure standards, resource mobilization, guidelines, monitoring and evaluation.
A Programme Management Unit has been established to coordinate and facilitate the LRDP.
At the Local Government level, the Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs) working closely with the political and technical leadership in their respective districts will be responsible for programme implementation.
UGANDA GOVERNMENT SHOULD PUT IN PLACE A COMMITTEE TO VET ALL EXPENDITURES BEFORE IMPLEMENTATION
The NRM Government must realize the bad situation the economy of the country is in, and in the short term come up with a committee to sit on a daily basis analyzing the situation and also recommending whether specific expenditures by Government should be made. It is sad to see the situation regarding Sugar and wonder how the Government could have been caught off guard given that it has figures regarding the demand. It looks like many people have left the duties they ought to do and are taken up by issues which don’t help the economy at all. It is also time to check expenditures by State House. No money should be put into the economy without being properly vetted. It is politics that is messing up Uganda’s economy. There is also need to look at the way donor funds are being spent. It is possible that some of these funds are going into consumption. There is a lot of money with some people while majority are empty handed. The source of this money must be investigated and something done about it. When one sees what is going on in the building industry, for sure, a good number of people constructing at this time may have got money during the elections time and this is greatly doing havoc. For once, President Museveni should leave the technical people manage the economy. He should desist from giving instructions to see money dished out. The economy has reached a phase where if we had real democracy to talk about, the solution would have been to impeach him. It is sad to see people not able to make any worthy financial plans now because the financial situation is so unpredictable. Recently it was reported in the press how Bassajjabalaba was demanding for shs 140bn or so. The question is, how does he come to have command to such money? If these situations are not investigated and a lasting solution got, it will be most unfortunate. You cannot have a country where every other day people are striking and the powers are unbothered. The institution of the forces is generally not productive. So if Government imagines that it will keep deploying forces to cool people down as the prisons are filled, this unfortunately is no solution. Let technical people be given the command to manage the economy without powers from above which powers are messing up. How come that the country is borrowing a lot but keeps selling peanuts to generate foreign exchange which situation is keeping the shilling depreciating? There must be a balance sheet produced for what is happening and remedy got otherwise it is most unfortunate. If a reduction in taxes can make some sense let it be. It is sad for example to imagine that people will keep paying power bills when at the time most households need this power it is load shedding that they are witnessing. Let us have our priorities right. Let somebody be in control. Let us get to know exactly how much money is in circulation, how much is out of the banks and where possible control the Forex transactions. Those economies that have regulated Forex business are not silly, our countries are so vulnerable to external forces that even an owner of a telecommunications company can destabilize the economy. So, controlling the Forex market so as not to leave it 100% in hands of private operators makes a lot of sense. Time is now for Government to get active into auditing virtually everywhere it is involved. It is sad that the creators of wealth are yawning, yet those who do politicking business are talking big and have the money. Government must get its priorities right so that the skilled manpower are rightly cushioned from shocks in the economy as of now. Instances when we have had emergencies at Mulago and other hospitals speak for themselves. People expected of saving lives MUST be paid what is worth their work. In Uganda it is now a scandal when you see the people who are paid highly. Those who can sing NRM praises! That does not make economic sense. It is also very important that His Excellency the President for once takes the word from the technical people. It is sad for a leader not to listen and have people work as robots for what these people know is wrong and will ruin the country.
UGANDANS NEED TO PRAY THAT THE NRM PARTY WILL NOT BE THAT BANKRUPT TO ENDORSE MUSEVENI FOR 2016 PRESIDENCY
Facts are bitter, but the NRM members should get to understand that had they given Obote chance, Uganda would be very far as regards development and the Human welfare indicators. The NRM managed to confuse those who could be confused and has simply messed up the country to the extent that the future is not clear. You cannot deceive anybody that one can be in power for over 25 years without scheming for opponents. The regime has all the time been involved in military adventures which have cost the country substantial amounts of resources both locally generated and donor resources. The country is based on corruption. As long as we have leaders who are there to accumulate, there is no way that you can expect the welfare of the masses catered for. We have a new breed of thieves, they have learnt that the best way they can disguise their loot is to hide under some other people assuming ownership of property and businesses. You all of a sudden find a fellow from no where get the title ‘omugagga omuto’, literally meaning a young millionaire. The level of patronage has cost the country so much and it is best to change the party leadership to save the country continued loss of resources to this unproductive channel.
Time is ripe for the NRM Party members to have sense in their heads. We need a Uganda that is progressing and the truth is that President Museveni influenced the extension or removal of term limits, we know he has got a lot of power around him, and the sense there is should be for the party to have the country at heart and say, Big man, thank you for sacrificing for the country, but you have to quit, you are a liability to the country and no longer an asset.
William Kituuka Kiwanuka
UGANDA’S PROBLEMS ARE PARTLY A RESULT OF FINANCIAL INDISCIPLINE OR IRRESPONSIBILITY BY THOSE IN CHARGE AS REFLECTED IN AUDITOR GENERAL’S REPORT FOR THE YEAR ENDED 30TH JUNE 2007
It is not clear why Government bank accounts in Bank of Uganda have continued to be overdrawn 9as per this report) despite the instruction by Treasury to the Central Bank not to have overdrawn accounts. Is it possible that this is done as a response to instructions from above?
It is difficult to belief that the Accountant General on being asked about 11 non-performing loans worth shs 35,193,062,617 that were found without any supporting documentation (e.g. loan agreements), he explained that the loan agreements were lost when a Consultancy contracted to validate the debts in 1991/92 failed to hand back the loan agreements and that efforts to trace the firm and loan agreements proved futile!
It disturbs to learn that The Accountant General has time and time again reported mis-postings; errors on bank statements, delays to respond to queries and certificate of bank balances being wrongly advised to accounting officers who do not own such accounts. Government accounts in the Central Bank are occasionally overdrawn due to errors, duplicated payments despite Treasury explicit instructions not to allow overdrawn accounts. How on earth can any one accept such lame excuses? For those in the know, Bank of Uganda does not employ lousy staff; many employees are 1st Class degree holders, how on earth can a wrong statement be sent out? Are there no people who check these transactions? How is balancing possible? It is most likely that these errors are committed when those involved do them with a hidden agenda.
It is sad to learn of ‘games being played’ in form of many unexplained transactions referred to as “revalues” and “reversals” are reflected on the Bank Statements and in most cases wiping away the would be – credit balances on these accounts!
It is sad to read of reports like, “Details on Bank Account No. 208209038.1 show that shs 15,199,144,438 was received by the Bank and credited on this account on 6th June 2007. This amount was wiped away by various unexplained transactions and by 30th June 2007, the account showed a debt balance of shs 4,446,462,344. The account was subsequently reconstructed following communication and meetings between the European Commission, Bank of Uganda and the Accountant General which resolved that all transactions wrongly made on the account be reversed resulting into a new credit balance of shs 8,173,566,995. However, the final position of this account was not accordingly adjusted in the accounts.”
THE DETAILED REPORT OF THE AUDITOR GENERAL
CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS
For the period ended 30.06.07, Government reported a consolidated cash and bank balance of shs 2,411,748,703,028 and bank overdrafts shs 1,234,571,805,723 on all bank accounts operated by the Treasury and Central Government ministries. It includes balances with the Bank of Uganda for both the Consolidated Fund and for various votes and for all project Accounts. There is no comprehensive information on the overall stock of Government bank accounts held both in Bank of Uganda and commercial banks to enable the Auditor General undertake audit procedures to confirm the completeness and accuracy of the balances and accuracy of the balances reported.
Besides cash balances on donor funded project bank accounts particularly those still in commercial banks are not captured in accordance with the accounting policy followed on consolidation of Project expenditure.
The absence of a comprehensive data on bank accounts further makes it difficult to periodically circularize and reconcile Government bank accounts and balances for authenticity, purpose, obsolescence/redundancy and excessive liquidity, and illegal overdraws.
Redundant and Overdrawn Accounts
Bank records indicate that 153 bank accounts did not record any transactions for the whole financial year under review. One hundred and thirty three (133) of the accounts had redundant credit balances worth shs 32,199,268,269 while twenty (20) were overdrawn to the tune of shs 11,160,722,951. Government bank accounts in Bank of Uganda have continued to be overdrawn despite the instruction by Treasury to the Central Bank not to have overdrawn accounts.
A review of the Foreign Debt portfolio showed that Government was in arrears on twenty one (21) loans that had been due for repayment. According to the DMFAS data base, total principal in respect of the 21 loans as at 30 June 2007 was shs 202,300,014,509. For over 10 years, there had not been any movements in the principal values either in terms of repayments, rescheduling or otherwise. It was explained that the decision not to pay the loans was based on the Paris Club agreement that required all creditors to deliver HIPC initiative debt relief to countries under HIPC 1 and 2.
Included in the 21 non-performing loans were 11 loans worth shs 35,193,062,617 without any supporting documentation (e.g. loan agreements). The Accountant General explained that the loan agreements were lost when a Consultancy contracted to validate the debts in 1991/92 failed to hand back the loan agreements and that efforts to trace the firm and loan agreements proved futile.
Receivable (Outstanding Government Loans)
In the Auditor General’s report to Parliament on Public Accounts of the Republic of Uganda for the year ended 30th June 2006, he said that Government loans totaling shs 1,242,928,209,265 to state and private enterprises were still outstanding. As at 30th June 2007, shs 1,205,608,734,946 was outstanding as a number of enterprises had partially paid up while some debts were wholly or partially cancelled. It was noted that Loans worth shs 620,884,726,162 had not been performing for a very long time. Their recovery is highly doubtful.
Finance costs in respect of interest on Treasury Repo stocks/transactions amounting to shs 15,774,825,032 accumulated over the years; including shs 5,703,149,467 for the period under review were never recognized or expensed in the accounts, accordingly overstating Government equity. The Accountant General explained that he was hesitant to recognize the expenditure because he could not measure it reliably since no database or records were maintained at the Treasury. He added that the liability was picked from the statement of Government position from Bank of Uganda and that consultations between his office and Bank of Uganda were still going on to explore the possibility of having monthly returns upon which reconciliations were to be carried out.
During the period under review, Treasury Bonds worth shs 184,370,732,115 matured and were accordingly redeemed. However, the debits on the Treasury Bond Investment Account in respect of these redemptions amounted to shs 157,083,500,000 only. The variance of shs 27,287,232,115 was not satisfactorily explained.
The Accountant General explained that the bonds figure presented in the accounts (shs 184,370,732,115) fully reconciled with bank of Uganda Central Depository Treasury Bond redemption profile for the period under review.
Government Non-Resource Taxes (NRT)
During the period under review, Parliament appropriated shs 181,959,964,445 for various Votes to afford import taxes (Non-Resource Taxes) on machinery, furniture and motor vehicles. In accordance with tax reforms introduced during the period, a total of shs 180,990,628,113 in respect of these taxes was released to various Votes with instructions to “Issue block cheques (i.e., for the entire tax release)” to the Treasury. This money was deposited on two Bank of Uganda accounts; TREASURY OFFICE ACCOUNTS GROSS RECEIPTS ACCOUNT and TREASURY OFFICE ACCOUNTS GROSS PAYMENT ACCOUNT. As at 30th June 2007 shs 137,600,572,275 was lying idle on the Gross receipts account. In many instances it was noted that Votes were appropriated tax funds far in excess of requirements, consequently eroding away funds available for allocation to other priorities within the Vote’s MTEF provisions. It was also noted that in a number of cases, tax obligations were paid for in excess of the individual tax appropriations for the Vote. For example, Ministry of Education had its tax obligations for the Vote settled on its behalf by Treasury yet it did not have an appropriation for it. The Accountant General explained that this was the first year of operating the Gross Tax System and certain modalities may have not been finalized. He indicated that once reconciliations with URA are finalized, the amounts standing on the account will be transferred to the UCF.
Treasury Transactions with the Central Bank
1. Transaction Delays, Errors and Mis-postings
The transfer of all Government bank accounts from commercial banks to the Central Bank created increased volume of Government transactions with the Central Bank. The Accountant General has time and time again reported mis-postings; errors on bank statements, delays to respond to queries and certificate of bank balances being wrongly advised to accounting officers who do not own such accounts. Government accounts in the Central Bank are occasionally overdrawn due to errors, duplicated payments despite Treasury explicit instructions not to allow overdrawn accounts. There are also some times delays in creating Treasury Bank accounts. For instance a total of Euros 3,599,000 (Equivalent to shs 8,193,624,393) was released to Bank of Uganda Account 208209070.1 for Poverty Action Fund on 27th June 2007 by KfW in support of the Poverty reduction Support Credit V-VI. The Central Bank communicated to the Accountant General on 10th July 2007 having received the funds. However, the Bank Statement indicates that the grant equivalent of shs 8,193,624,393 was credited to the Account on 31st August 2007, more than two months after receipt of the money.
In another instance, shs 37,296,972,081 transferred from the Customs & Excise A/C on 24th November 2006, 50 days later although the transfers should be done twice a week.
2. Commission Charges
For all transactions denominated in foreign currency, the Central bank charges Government a commission at the rate of 1% on the gross amount. Only the net amounts are posted to the respective bank accounts and the commission charged is posted to a special account meant for Project Bank charges. During the year, total bank charges under Treasury amounted to shs 9,238,011,970 of which shs 8,096,403,082 was posted to this account in respect of commission and charges arising from foreign currency related transactions. The rate and amounts charged appear to be on the high side.
3. Unexplained Transactions on holding Accounts
Budget Support Grants from the donors are kept on holding accounts in the Central Bank before their transfer to the Consolidated Fund. When the grants are received, the Foreign Currency is translated to local currency using the rate at the time (day) and the proceeds credited to the holding account in local currency after the Bank has charged a commission of 1% of the gross amount.
However, many unexplained transactions referred to as “revalues” and “reversals” are reflected on the Bank Statements and in most cases wiping away the would be – credit balances on these accounts.
Details on Bank Account No. 208209038.1 show that shs 15,199,144,438 was received by the Bank and credited on this account on 6th June 2007. This amount was wiped away by various unexplained transactions and by 30th June 2007, the account showed a debt balance of shs 4,446,462,344. The account was subsequently reconstructed following communication and meetings between the European Commission, Bank of Uganda and the Accountant General which resolved that all transactions wrongly made on the account be reversed resulting into a new credit balance of shs 8,173,566,995. However, the final position of this account was not accordingly adjusted in the accounts.
Over the years, Government has been involved in a series of debt-swaps involving mainly state enterprises listed for divestiture. Although the funds involved are quite colossal, in many instances the debt swaps are never reported in Government’s financial statements and thus are not subject to routine financial audits by the Auditor General.
The Accountant General explained that the initiation of the debt-swap process is done by the affected state enterprise through the Ministry of Finance which then starts the process of debt-swap by constituting a Debt Settlement Committee whose role is to verify the extent of Government’s indebtedness with the assistance of the internal audit department. The committee then makes recommendations based on the findings. On the basis of the recommendations, the Ministry approves and implements the debt-swap by preparing the necessary agreements in consultation with the Solicitor General and presents it to cabinet and subsequently to Parliament for approval. It is after approval by Parliament that the indebtedness of the enterprise is reduced in Government of Uganda records.
Existing procedures require that the arrears are verified by Treasury Service Department in conjunction with the internal audit and inspectorate and registered in an IT based domestic arrears database maintained at the Treasury.
However, a reconciliation of verified domestic arrears database maintained at the Treasury and the actual arrears reported in the financial statements of various Ministries, Agencies, Departments, Universities and Missions revealed variances. In some instances the arrears reported in the financial statements were more or less than those captured in the Treasury database.
UPE SCHOOLS WITH LAND NEED TO LEARN BETTER UTILITY FOR THIS FACILITY
Early this year, I called on my former primary school; Namutamba Demonstration in Mityana District. I was shocked at the rate of deterioration of the school infrastructure. The staff houses that exist in this school which made 75 years of existence; as shown below could only accommodate the most desperate otherwise in a good storm; these structures could fall on the occupants. I was sad to see what was supposed to be a school library; surely this could not qualify as one; books thrown about here and there. As if that was not enough, I was heartbroken to see children categorized into three at lunch time; the 1st group had what could be called lunch; that is posho and beans, another had porridge and the last had nothing for lunch. I had thought that ours were bad days when more than 90% of the children had no shoes; it is unfortunate that the situation is worse. For a school in existence for 75 years not to have a single computer when today parents buy computers for children to play with, I had a rough time to get to terms with this situation. The school facilities being vandalized because the school can not afford to get means to lock the rooms; at the same time to find a number of facilities unrepaired when they are in a repairable state is sad.
This former school of mine has good land and some teachers make ends meet by utilizing what is attached to their residences. I appreciate the funding to UPE schools being peanuts, however, many of these schools have resources which when utilized can help them meet a number of challenges. Of areas with influential former personalities, Namutamba is one of them. You can say that this is one area where good education at primary level started and spread to Kampala and other areas of Uganda. When the people who have been through Namutamba Demonstration School are mobilized; who among others include Ambassador Sempala and the current Secretary General of East African Community to mention just a few, the school would not be in the sorry state I found it in. 2ndly, the teachers we have today seem to lack training in areas like gardening, poultry and animal husbandry otherwise I don’t see children going without lunch when the school has land that can be used for the purpose as well as generate income to help run some school undertakings. In fact these schools I believe can access NAADS funding, if not at least it is high time they are included among the beneficiaries. That way, chances of feeding our children can greatly be enhanced. In districts which still have good agricultural land like Kamuli I visited recently, I am of the opinion that parents can contribute food say in form of grain to schools so that children don’t go without meals which is almost a fashion today. It also important that schools move from that want to see 1st grades only and put effort into practical subjects like agriculture, poultry, animal husbandry, carpentry, crafts to mention but a few.
William Kituuka Kiwanuka
UTODA’s REACTION TO UTTERANCES ABOUT THE CONTRACT IS ONE OF UGANDA’s PROBLEMS
The way UTODA have reacted to the word going the rounds that their ‘official’ contract ends at the end of October 2011 is blame-able on State House. President Museveni needs to save the country. He needs to recognize authority of established institutions in place and ensure that these institutions do their constitutional duties. Many times when people react the way UTODA has all the time reacted, you just get to understand that those people has support and or backing from among other areas State House. It is no secret that UTODA has helped the NRM Government in a number of ways including having some of their boys cane people as if they were security operatives. If UTODA has a contract which was not signed by Kampala City Council authority, it should be null and void. The arrogance they exhibit which shows that they don’t respect their bosses in KCCA is simply unacceptable at our level of civilization, and State House should come clean over the UTODA matters. UTODA is not indispensable and even if they are relevant there is no way they can get contracts when not competitively competed for.
William Kituuka Kiwanuka
WHILE UGANDA GOVERNMENT FAILED TO IMPLEMENT THE EDUCATIONAL LOAN SCHEME FOR 10 YEARS, MADHVANI HAS PUT IN MILLIONS FOR BURSARIES
In 2001, Makerere University Private Students’ Parents’ Association (MUPRISPA) was born with the main objective as seeing to the welfare of privately sponsored students; and a specific objective among others as seeing to Government’s implementation of an Educational Loan Scheme. In the same year, in his re-election Manifesto, President Museveni said, “My Government will establish an Educational Loan Scheme to increase access to higher education.” Unfortunately, 10 years after, there is no operational Education Loan Scheme. MUPRISPA had put in a lot of effort to see the scheme in place which led the Minister of Finance to incorporate a provision of shs 400 million for the Educational Loan Scheme in his 2002/03 National Budget, unfortunately, the funds disappeared under ‘studies to see the scheme in place!’
With all the frustration, we did not give up, the association went ahead to write, “A Comprehensive Feasible and Sustainable Educational Loan Scheme in Uganda, and also, “Identifying Clientele for the Educational Loan Scheme and loan recovery measures. However, it is thumbs up for the Madhvani Foundation for the provision of Bursaries that have enabled hundreds of financially disadvantaged students to get higher education.
“Half a Billion shillings was made available by the Madhvani Foundation for Ugandan students pursuing University Education in a Ugandan University in 2009/10 academic year. In a statement the Chairman of the Scholarship Committee, Hon. Henry Kyemba said, “The figure Ushs 516 million) represented by far the largest amount ever released by the Foundation in its annual contribution to the education sector. The money was to allow hundreds of gifted but financially challenged students to complete their University education.
In 2003 the Madhvani’s set up a University Education Trust with the principal objective of promotion of scientific and technical education for the betterment of the people of Uganda. Since 2003, the Trust has educated over 540 University students and has provided scholarships worth over shs 1.3 billion.
WHY HAS UGANDA ECONOMY TURNED SILLY?
Some people are failing to understand the reason why Uganda’s economy is the way it is. A part from the executives in top positions in Government, plus the Members of Parliament, most salary earners are in for a big ride from the Government of Uganda. The reasons why things are the way they are can be listed, among these are:
1. President Museveni’s dream of wishing to turn around the country by among other things creating a middle class;
2. Wrong policies by donors which Museveni Government has embraced wholesale;
3. Being unfair to other parties hence failing to deliver on their wishes;
4. The patronage which the NRM Government has used to stay in power;
5. The deceit regarding the economic performance, hence the giving of false indicators (growth rates to impress the donors);
6. Greed among the NRM top leadership;
7. Getting priorities completely wrong;
8. The military factor.
TO ELABORATE ON THE ABOVE FACTORS
President Museveni’s dream of wishing to turn around the country by among other things creating a middle class
The President has all along wanted to turn around the country, but this is not a job one man can do. He forgot that with time, when you overstay in office, diminishing returns apply, and now the outcome of this is a big army of near to useless people who are paid handsomely. Many did not expect Museveni as a candidate to make more than 50% in the recently concluded elections. These ‘facts’ are a result of many deals which involve not only tampering with voter registers hence leading to a number of people bouncing where they normally vote from, but also outright dishing of cash at various levels. MPs got shs 14m and shs 6m was taxed. It is only an idiot you can tell that Government gives you money for its programmes and such money is taxed. Secondly, given that many of the MPs have big bank loans, it is illogical to deposit money you expect for a Government programme on an individuals account. The Late Sulaimani Kiggundu bought grain Milling from Caleb International, and it is alleged that good will not less than shs 500m could have been paid to the company. There are companies that have benefited from hand outs in big amounts with criteria not clear and this has all been a loss to the tax payer.
Wrong policies by donors which Museveni Government has embraced wholesale
The donors saw Museveni desperate and to give him money, the ‘sensible’ he had to do was to foot their line. Today, the country is in a mess with the power sector completely in private hands and the liability is seen to be far greater than if Government had more shares in it. The agro-processing industrialization to bring in foreign exchange would be far if Government had not bought wholesale the idea that it should not do business but just create a conducive environment, yet the targeted local investors don’t have capacity. Privatization, though was wrongly done, it is also a fact that some NRM big shots were beneficiaries. They bought companies or disguised their interest in the privatized entities. How on earth would Uganda’s Coffee keep competing when the Quality regulator ceased to exist. We are paying the price.
Being unfair to other parties hence failing to deliver on their wishes
Though many sacrificed to see the NRM get to power, president Museveni’s Governments have kept ignoring the wishes of the people, and among these is the federal arrangement which is cherished by many. The NRM Government has not stopped there but deliberately decided to frustrate the Buganda Government by not only refusing to return assets duly belonging to the Kingdom, but even the rents due from the premises used by Government are not paid when due. For some of these sins, the NRM administration is calling for a punishment from God because as the creator, at all times when someone becomes too much, He has a formula to tame him to size.
The patronage which the NRM Government has used to stay in power
NRM Government is spending a lot of money into its patronage scheme which among other strategies helps to see it remain in power. This time round in the recently completed elections they over did it, and the results are there for all to see. Now, the public are striking simply because they think that is the only way to see the NRM get priorities right. It surprises to see people whose source of money iis not clear buy land and put up buildings in record time. Much of this money is believed to be spills from Government resources. Where the country is professionals, you get the transport sector run by ‘academic idiots’. The mess is so great, people are taxed and money is not receipted, but because NRM benefits from their ‘services’, they are left to mess the thing the more to the extent that one can sit in a taxi from the Main park at Kampala for an hour before it reaches the clock tower. A gentleman started constructing two houses using concrete bricks within the same plot of land. This man is making tile roofed houses which are progressing very fast, and surprisingly, he was able to buy an adjacent piece of land at shs 100m and he paid cash. Much of this money is believed to be from patronage resources. There are many near no bodies who own buildings around the country and one wonders where they get the money from. Some of these are believed to be disguising the actual owners.
The deceit regarding the economic performance, hence the giving of false indicators (growth rates to impress the donors)
Many of the indicators by NRM Government are believed not to be real. It is only because the donors believe in these percentage growth, etc that the NRM Government is using them for its own ends. And, in here lies part of the problem which is making the economy look silly.
Greed among the NRM top leadership
One cannot rule out greed among the NRM leadership as one reason why the economy has grown silly. It was long expected. The greed which is expressed in form of corruption has made the country lose a lot to the extent that service delivery which would be far better is a near shame in many instances. People have made money in procurement, and if this money were better used, many more would be a happy lot.
Getting priorities completely wrong
When you see the administrative expenditure by the NRM Government, you only pray to God to change the situation. At least 46 new constituencies were added to the over 300 that were existing such that a poor begging country has 375 MPs, on to that add presidential advisors, whose advice if were worth at all the country would be better off. It is sad. The Doctors are trained in Uganda and only to look for greener pastures. You pay a teacher about shs 250,000 and expect him to pay the tuition in University! Government has been advised against sponsoring students more so given that it is the rich who benefit, but trust them, they just continue, yet if all students paid tuition fees, the amount paid by each would be less than what the situation is now.
The military factor
The military factor will for sometime remain a problem in Uganda. Since NRM captured power in 1986, the military expenditures have always had a lions share. This time round there has been the procurement of 6 jets and the expenditure is bad news for a poor country like Uganda.
It is only God who may touch on the hearts of our leaders to do what is good for the people short of that ….
William Kituuka Kiwanuka