Thursday, September 27, 2012
I will never understand the NRM Government mode of doing work. They came up with a budget for 2012/2013 where a good portion of the budget is to be funded by donors, which means that the budget is there but we have no capacity of realizing all the funds to fund it. Instead of seriously cutting on the existing budget, Government comes up with a supplementary. Should we believe that Government is going to print money to support that budget as the money is not expected within the financial year revenue collections, but has to be spent? This means that by the end of the financial year, money will have been put into the system which is not backed by productivity! William Kituuka Kiwanuka NRM MPs ATTACK PRESIDENT MUSEVENI OVER HEALTH SECTOR BUDGET Members of parliament led by Barnabas Tinkansimire on Tuesday morning attacked President Museveni for bribing some NRM MPs to change their position and pass the budget without approving the additional health sector money. Tinkasimire during a press conference at Parliament said that President Museveni yesterday called 160 NRM MPs in shifts of 40 to Rwakitura and he gave them money to influence them drop their support towards increasing the health budget by sh39 billion. He said that President Museveni told the MPs that a supplementary budget will be provided in two weeks after the budget is passed to cater for the needs of the health sector. Tinkasimire has said that this is a clear indication that President Museveni has become inefficient and should leave power for other able leaders to rule . ” An able leader should always advocate for the well being of the people he is ruling ” He has also said that President Museveni is only considering the defense sector yet there are many mothers dieing in hospitals with no medicine and nurses to look after them. Other MPs at the press conference included NRM’s Serina Nibanda, Theodre Sekikubo, Abdu Kantuntu and Winred Nuwaga among others. The MPs have promised to take the battle to the floor of parliament this evening and asked voters to curse all those MPs who will advocate for the passing of the national budget without approving the additional health sector money. Meanwhile, some NRM MPs are locked in a crisis meeting in which they are to reach a position on the health sector money before the afternoon session. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- RESPECT BUDGETING PROCESSES Source: http://www.accu.or.ug/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=658:respect-budgeting-processes-&catid=8:noticeboard&Itemid=20 Like every year, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning presented Ugandans with a budget for the financial year 2012/13, which outlined government’s proposals for getting and spending its money. Over time Civil society has raised its concerns about the extent to which Uganda’s budget proposals and expenditures address the needs and concerns of poor, vulnerable and marginalized Ugandans, that is, government allocates exorbitant amounts of money to non-productive sectors. As we begin to digest yesterday’s budget, we would like to express our concern on the usefulness of the whole budgeting process for Ugandans. This is mainly because: (1) We have witnessed high and increasing levels of Budget indiscipline where particular government agencies habitually demand for more funds in the course of the year, in the name of supplementary budgets. The trend for supplementary budgets has been on a steady increase from 4% in 2008/09, to 7.2 in 2009/10; and to 27.7 in FY 2010/11. This trend is eroding the credibility of the budgeting process. Moreover, we note, with concern, that a very significant portion of the amounts requested for in Supplementary budgets is spent on unproductive sectors. To aggravate the situation, there are items that are requested for under supplementary budgets that are unnecessary and/or lavish. For instance money requested for the President to give donations, and funds spent on entertainment – to the detriment of nodding disease victims and teachers. Other items like President’s inland travel which go for about (UGX 0 million per day) do not only demonstrate conspicuous consumption, but also portray a government that cares only for its own comfort, but not about the plight of its citizens. In February 2012 the Ministry of Health was struggling to find Shs7 billion to help nodding disease victims, yet State House was asking Parliament to approve a Shs92bn supplementary budget for the Presidency to be spent on special meals and drinks, welfare and entertainment, donations, and the President’s travel inland. As a result, the State House budget increased by 38 percent. We are concerned about the rampant requests for funding for unproductive sectors when critical sectors such as teachers’ salary, health care delivery, and roads are always denied urgent attention. In the same vein, less than two months to the end of the financial year (May 2012), Ministry of Defense requested for 132bn, which was in addition to the Shs. 495.7bn that had already been approved for it. of this amount, 21 bn was to be used for welfare and entertainment, 7bn on medical expenses, 23bn on classified expenditure, 22bn on staff salaries, and 24 bn on vehicle maintenance. Similarly, in February 2012, Police received a supplementary budget of 190bn, the bulk of which was spent on containing civil disobedience; and requested another 53bn in May 2012. To add onto the high levels of budget indiscipline, we note that in many cases the requests for supplementary budgets are brought when an agency has already used up the funds, and therefore require Parliament to approve the supplementary budget retrospectively. In essence, this puts Parliament in a corner; BUT also highlights an executive that has rendered Parliament and the Ministry of Finance powerless to deny their demands for more money. This mode of requesting for authorization after spending the money points to an erosion in the quality of planning and accountability processes in Uganda. (2) Secondly, we are concerned about the negative relationship between the rate of supplementary budgeting and Uganda’s external debt. Budget indiscipline has a direct bearing on Uganda’s propensity to borrow. If government cannot live within its means through paying for costly, but unproductive items; it resorts to borrowing to pay for the ‘developmental’ projects. At the time Uganda qualified for debt relief under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative in 1998, its External Debt stock stood at US$3.7bn. In 1998, 79% of Uganda’s foreign debt was forgiven; and in 2006, the Multi-lateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI) provided 100% debt cancellation reducing Uganda’s debt stock to $1.6bn. However, by June 2010, Uganda’s debt had more than doubled, and stood at US$4.3bn. By the end of March 2011, Uganda’s external debt was U$4.76bn. At the end of April 2011, a total of $669m new loans were approved thereby increasing Uganda’s foreign debt to $5.4Bn. Uganda’s 2012/13 budget framework paper noted that Uganda’s external debt financing will continue to constitute an important part of budget financing. New borrowings will finance infrastructure developments like energy, water and transportation that will enhance productivity, reduce economic growth constraints and poverty reduction. Government's medium-to long-term policies continue to support increases in public investment in infrastructure. However, this rationale is frustrated by the budget indiscipline in Uganda which has seen government spend excessively on unproductive sectors, and then resort to borrowing in order to finance infrastructure projects. In FY 2010/11, the Security and Public Administration sectors received 280% and 65% funding respectively, higher than their approved budgets yet other sectors, including key ones like agriculture received considerably less than approved budgets which affected implementation of key projects. Government’s levels of conspicuous consumption contribute to increasing our debt levels. When government allocates funds to meet selective officers’ medical bills, make donations and provide for exorbitant amounts for entertainment, then it has no option but to borrow for development projects. A prudent government which is mindful of the well-being of its citizens must make every effort to undertake austerity measures and thrift spending so as not to burden current and future generations with unsustainable debts. To date, Ugandans have been hoodwinked into accepting the country’s borrowing with statements that loans are contracted for priority sectors like agriculture, infrastructure, health and education. If government abstained from conspicuous spending and budget indiscipline, then the need to borrow money would also reduce. In any case, if government is borrowing funds for key sectors like health, WHY would we have supplementary budgets reflecting items on medical treatment for selected officers? How can the President’s donations constitute an emergency requiring a supplementary budget? Furthermore, high interest rates add to the cost of borrowing; which increases the burden of debt payment for Uganda, which already has a poor debt servicing record. Between January and March 2012, Uganda paid out $10m (sh25b) in debt servicing, which is barely 1% of its total external debt obligations in both principle and interest. (3) Thirdly, despite the fact that huge sums of money are spent on supplementary budgets and loans, a substantial amount of these monies is lost through corruption, and Ugandans therefore do not get value for the money. Despite a good legal and institutional framework, Uganda continues to be consistently ranked as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Several cases have come up whereby the Executive gives Presidential directives on spending of public resources that has resulted in loss of tax-payers funds. Cases in point relate to the bicycle project scandal where the President DIRECTED the procurement of 70, 000 bicycles for local councils chairpersons to undertake mobilization ahead of the 2011 general elections. The Ministry of local government contracted Amman Industrial Tool and Equipment LTD (AITEL) and paid it UGX 5 billion before any bicycles had been delivered, flouting standard procurement procedures that require payment on performance of key milestones in contracts. Not surprisingly, the company could not be traced after obtaining the payment without delivering the bicycles. To date Ugandans do not know about the fate of the funds that went missing, yet taxpayers’ money is used to finance such projects, from which citizens do not benefit. Another case is the Burundi compensation where the President DIRECTED Ministry of Finance to pay more than Shs35.5 billion to Burundi for having supplied materials to the N.R.A rebels during the bush war of 1981-1986, which money was later converted into a national debt. A debt relief agreement was signed wherein Burundi cancelled Uganda’s payment of interest of Shs13.7 billion accruing on the debt, but the President reinstated it, arguing that Burundi was a poor country and therefore the $5.5 m should be paid as an ex-gratia to the people of Burundi. Government authorized payment of $13.6m but documents tabled before Parliament showed that the exact amount given to Burundi was $14.2 million (in excess of the authorized amount). During PAC investigations, the acting secretary to Treasury and Account General tabled letters from Ministers Syda Bbumba (Gender) Sam Kutesa (Foreign Affairs), Fred Omach (Finance General Duties) and former Attorney General Khiddu Makubuya offering a legal opinion clearing the deal. Furthermore, according to the PAC committee chairman Kasiano Wadri, out of Shs35.5 billion only Shs1.2 billion left the country. This was yet another case of abuse of public funds which were paid out without parliamentary approval and the mandatory Auditor General’s warrant. And finally, there was the inflated compensation payments to Bassajjabalaba to the tune of shs 169 billion following revocation of a contract to manage Nakasero and Owino markets. One of the senior officers implicated (governor of Bank of Uganda) declined to step down and pave way for investigation and was supported by the NRM party caucus, he was exonerated by parliament despite the huge loss of taxpayers’ money he had caused. In many of these instances, funds are lost after/through a Presidential directive, which undermines government laws, policies and procurement procedures. (4) Call to action a. Government should show that it’s a government for the people, and hence practice austerity measures through ABSTAINING from lavish spending and use the money to enhance the well-being of all Ugandans. b. Supplementary budgets should only be limited to real emergencies of a humanitarian nature. In other cases the technocrats should have done their job and planned accordingly. c. The executive should respect established institutions, laws and procedures to enhance budget discipline, reduce loss of funds d. Government should demonstrate that the budgeting process is useful hence exercise budget discipline. Ugandans do not need annual budget speeches when government cannot live within the budget. Whatever economic analysis we make of this budget will be meaningless because supplementary budgeting distorts the actual budget.’
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
In August 1972 my friends and I had just returned from a driving holiday in neighbouring Kenya. Cynthia, my girlfriend (and future wife) had a few days earlier left on a holiday to the UK. We were still in a holiday spirit returning from Jinja from a birthday party in Jinja when we caught a snippet on the radio "President Amin has a dream ... Asians are to be expelled from Uganda". We don't think much of it - must be some joke. But as the days passed it slowly sank in. I was working for the Ministry of Finance and Planning as a Statistician. At a young age I was in charge of collecting and publishing Uganda's trade statistics, preparing background to the national Annual Budget; it was a great job and times were good. I was contributing to my country in a way I did not think possible. I was a first class citizen with no complaints. Socially, life was also good. I was the Sports Secretary and Hockey Captain of the Entebbe [formerly "Goan"] Institute. Everything centred around the Club. We were still primarily involved with Goans, but Uganda was integrating. I had studied at an African high school (St Mary's College Kisubi) run by Canadian missionaries, and attended Makerere University there with African colleagues. Africans members constituted 30% of the Entebbe Institute - primarily Civil Servants as Entebbe was the centre of the government. In addition to Goans, we had every kind of members: every tribe of Uganda (Baganda, Basoga, Luo, etc), all types of other Indians (Ismailis, Boras, Gujaratis, Sikhs, etc.), and others (British, Israelis, ...) Friendship was quickly becoming raceless. Indeed, the newly elected President of the club, Dr Peter Tukei, would have been elected regardless of the Expulsion; he was a very popular person and had previously been Vice-President. Life during the Expulsion turned upside down. Times were tough; but we found joy in small things - we truly lived like there was no tomorrow. As most of my family members were Uganda citizens, we thought we would be staying. My mother, my aunt and many other, however, would be leaving. (My mum and dad had always thought that they were "too old" to be taking on a new citizenship, not fully realizing then the implications). And for citizens, we still had to go through the process of verifying our citizenship. The Uganda government used every technicality to take away our citizenship. I remember queuing outside the Immigration department, sleeping on the streets for 36 hours with my two brothers and sister, brother-in-law, and thousands of other Asians. My brother Peter was subdued. His Renunciation of British Citizenship had been mishandled by the Uganda government several years ago as he had been one of the first to become Ugandan. He expected trouble, and was right; his citizenship was withdrawn. My sister Ruth lost her citizenship on some pretext. I almost lost mine because I only had a photocopy of my citizenship, and the officer almost tore it up. I pleaded for time to find the original, noticing from the corner of my eye an old classmate from St. Mary’s College as immigration officer two booths down. I rushed over to him: "Hey Katabula, are you there". "Hey Nazareth, throw it over." Stamp! Stamp! My brother David and I were verified. Peter was subsequently exempted from the Expulsion as he held a senior government post, also in the Ministry of Finance. Ruth could stay as her husband Cyril had his citizenship verified, but she had to resign from her job. Given that I had thrown in my lot with Uganda, this was heartbreak. And so it went with everyone. And the deadline approached. If it were not so serious the Expulsion could be funny. President Amin would one day be expelling more and more categories of people, and the next day his ministers would be exempting more and more subcategories, being horrified at the loss to the country. One day it was British Asians, another day all Asians - citizens included. Several Ugandans implored President Amin not to expel citizens. President Nyerere of Tanzania offered to take in any Ugandan citizen who was expelled. President Amin relented and we were allowed to stay. Then in September 1972 the UN came to take stateless people, and Canada to take anybody (ie regardless of citizenship) who wanted to leave and who qualified. All of a sudden there was a new game in town. Everybody was going to leave now. Well almost everybody. My family stubbornly decided to stay put. Meanwhile my Permanent Secretary I.K. Kabanda called me to his office and said "John, I want you to know that not all Africans hate you. We hope and pray that this will soon be all over so that you can lead a normal life. You can come in to work when you wish, and leave when you wish." I will never forget his graciousness (and made it a point to seek him out when I returned to Uganda 21 years later). Young as I was (25 years) I ended up being the Club volunteer barman, together with Claude De Souza. The bar - the centre of stories. Chris Ssengendo was there one night with his cousin visiting from Kampala. His cousin's eyes were red. I inquire with Chris. "Don't ask. He works at the dreaded Makindye Prison. He had orders to spend all of last night executing [political] prisoners with a hammer to the head." We Asians were being expelled, but African Ugandans were being slaughtered. Past the Deadline, a strange calm has descended. There are still around 5000 Asians left in Uganda who have been exempted or have decided to stay. The Africans have a quiet admiration for those who stay behind in spite of all the harassment. But now is when the killing of African Ugandans starts in earnest. One gets used to seeing bodies by the roadside every day. A friend, Godfrey Kiggala is killed because President Amin likes his girlfriend. In early 1973 my brother Peter left to take up a Fellowship at Yale; my brother David realized he couldn’t live without his girlfriend Lydia and impulsively left to marry her in Canada; sister Ruth left to join my mother (now in London) ahead of Cyril. In September 1973 I left Uganda, taking a two-year of Leave of Absence to do postgraduate studies – hoping that while I was away, Amin would be overthrown. I went through Goa, getting married to Cynthia at St. Jerome’s Church in Mapusa. We then proceeded to the UK where I studied for a year at the London School of Economics and obtained a Post-graduate Diploma in Statistics and then did my Masters in Mathematical Statistics from the University of Toronto. It is now later in 1975 and as my studies at the U of T are at an end I realize that President Amin is there to stay. With a heavy heart I finally send in my letter of resignation to the Ministry of Finance, thanking them for giving me an opportunity to serve my country. A tear rolled down my cheek. Written by John H. Nazareth in Toronto, 1994 To be published in Val Jamal’s forth-coming book: “Uganda Asians: Then and Now, Here and There, We Contributed, We Contribute”.
By John Nazareth in Toronto Canada 1500 - Bito dynasties of Buganda, Bunyoro and Ankole founded by Nilotic-speaking immigrants from present-day southeastern Sudan. 1700 - Buganda begins to expand at the expense of Bunyoro. 1800 - Buganda controls territory bordering Lake Victoria from the Victoria Nile to the Kagera river. 1840s - Muslim traders from the Indian Ocean coast exchange firearms, cloth and beads for the ivory and slaves of Buganda. 1862 - British explorer John Hanning Speke becomes the first European to visit Buganda. 1875 - Bugandan King Mutesa I allows Christian missionaries to enter his realm. British influence 1877 - Members of the British Missionary Society arrive in Buganda. 1879 - Members of the French Roman Catholic White Fathers arrive. 1890 - Britain and Germany sign treaty giving Britain rights to what was to become Uganda. 1892 - Imperial British East Africa Company agent Frederick Lugard extends the company's control to southern Uganda and helps the Protestant missionaries to prevail over their Catholic counterparts in Buganda. 1894 - Uganda becomes a British protectorate. 1900 - Britain signs agreement with Buganda giving it autonomy and turning it into a constitutional monarchy controlled mainly by Protestant chiefs. 1902 - The Eastern province of Uganda transferred to the Kenya. 1904 - Commercial cultivation of cotton begins. 1921 - Uganda given a legislative council, but its first African member not admitted till 1945. 1958 - Uganda given internal self-government. Elections held in 1961 - Benedicto Kiwanuka elected Chief Minister. 1962 - Uganda becomes independent with Milton Obote as prime minister and with Buganda enjoying considerable autonomy. 1963 - Uganda becomes a republic with Buganda's King Mutesa II as president. 1966 - Milton Obote ends Buganda's autonomy and promotes himself to the presidency. 1967 - New constitution vests considerable power in the president. 1971 - Milton Obote toppled in coup led by Army chief Idi Amin. 1972 – Amin expels Israelis giving them 2 weeks to leave. 1972 - Amin orders Asians who were not Ugandan citizens - around 60,000 people - to leave the country in 3 months. 1972-73 - Uganda engages in border clashes with Tanzania. 1976 - Idi Amin declares himself President of Uganda for life and claims parts of Kenya. 1978 - Uganda invades Tanzania with a view to annexing Kagera region. 1979 - Tanzania invades Uganda, unifying the various anti-Amin forces under the Uganda National Liberation Front and forcing Amin to flee the country; Yusufu Lule installed as president, but is quickly replaced by Godfrey Binaisa. 1980 - Binaisa overthrown by the army. 1980 - Milton Obote becomes President after elections. 1981-86 Following the bitterly disputed elections, Ugandan bush war fought by National Resistance Army 1985 - Obote deposed in military coup and is replaced by Tito Okello. 1986 - National Resistance Army rebels take Kampala and install Yoweri Museveni as President. 1993 - Museveni restores the traditional kings, including the king of Buganda, but without political power. 1995 - New constitution legalizes political parties but maintains the ban on political activity. 1996 - Museveni returned to office in Uganda's first direct presidential election. 2000 - Ugandans vote to reject multi-party politics in favour of continuing Museveni's "no-party" system. 2001 January - East African Community (EAC) re-inaugurated in Arusha, Tanzania, laying groundwork for common East African passport, flag, economic and monetary integration. Members are Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. 2001 March - Museveni wins another term in office, beating his rival Kizza Besigye by 69% to 28%. Campaign against rebels 2002 October - Army evacuates more than 400,000 civilians caught up in fight against cult-like LRA which continues its brutal attacks on villages. 2003 May - Uganda pulls out last of its troops from eastern DR Congo. Tens of thousands of DR Congo civilians seek asylum in Uganda. 2004 December - Government and LRA rebels hold their first face-to-face talks, but there is no breakthrough in ending the insurgency. 2005 July - Parliament approves a constitutional amendment which scraps Presidential term limits. Voters in a referendum overwhelmingly back a return to multi-party politics. 2005 October - International Criminal Court issues arrest warrants for five LRA commanders, including leader Joseph Kony. 2006 February - President Museveni wins multi-party elections, taking 59% of the vote against the 37% share of his rival, Kizza Besigye. 2006 August - The government and the LRA sign a truce aimed at ending their long-running conflict. Subsequent peace talks are marred by regular walk-outs. 2007 March - Ugandan peacekeepers deploy in Somalia as part of an African Union mission to help stabilise the country. 2008 February - Government and the Lord's Resistance Army sign what is meant to be a permanent ceasefire at talks in Juba, Sudan. 2008 November - The leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, Joseph Kony, again fails to turn up for the signing of a peace agreement. Ugandan, South Sudanese and DR Congo armies launch offensive against LRA bases. 2009 The UK oil explorer Heritage Oil says it has made a major oil find in Uganda. 2009 March - Ugandan army begins to withdraw from DR Congo, where it had pursued Lord's Resistance Army rebels. 2009 December - Parliament votes to ban female circumcision. Anyone convicted of the practice will face 10 years in jail or a life sentence if a victim dies. 2010 January - President Museveni distances himself from the anti-homosexuality Bill, saying the ruling party MP who proposed the bill did so as an individual. The European Union and United States had condemned the bill. 2010 July - Two bomb attacks on people watching World Cup final at a restaurant and a rugby club in Kampala kill at least 74 people. The Somali Islamist group Al-Shabab says it was behind the blasts. 2011 February - Museveni wins his fourth Presidential election. 2011 July - US deploys special forces personnel to help Uganda combat LRA rebels. 2012 Aug – Uganda’s Stephen Kiprotich win’s the Gold Medal in Marathon at the Olympics – Uganda’s second Gold medal ever, and third Olympic medal since joining the Olympics.
I wish to refer to the statement President Museveni is quoted by The New Vision paper under the “Museveni urges on health’ while at a ground breaking ceremony and fundraising for Bulambuli district headquarters. Museveni said sickness like AIDS is not like flu, which is transmitted by air, but it is something people hunt for and spread to others. President Museveni is aware of the delicate situation HIV/AIDS has put many, the families, the unsuspecting victims more so those who are husband and wife where one ends up bringing HIV, and that any one who is sexually active has chance of contracting HIV. For people in responsible positions like President Museveni, there is need to be very careful about the words they utter otherwise they are misunderstood. It is also true that some good money meant for the better health of those who are HIV positive has instead been eaten by well connected persons! William Kituuka Kiwanuka
The problem with politicians like President Museveni is that because they are President, they have the right to distort history and make people believe in them. He now disputes the fact that Buganda got Independence on 8th October 1962. Yes, these are tactics of leaders like Museveni. As far as I am concerned, Museveni is not God, he has to accept facts of history. It is absurd what Museveni has done to Buganda since he left the bushes which led his NRM Government to power. Obote Government grabbed Buganda properties, but 27 years done the road, Museveni is least bothered seeing Buganda get back its properties! He wanted to show the common man 7 years after he had captured power that he loved Buganda and hence saw the restoration of Kingdoms! Given the term he has promised to be President, this was 3 years after its expiry! President Museveni has decided to make Buganda demand for rent monies due to the Kingdom under the pretence that afterall Buganda does not have leaders who are democratically elected! That is Museveni. Unfortunately, History will judge Museveni harshly. William Kituuka Kiwanuka
It defeats common sense to learn that astronomical amounts say shs 63bn had been paid to ghost pensioners. Surely, the NRM Government should move from a mafia to a Government for the welfare of the people. For those of us who have sometime been involved with banking, there is no convincing way you can say shs 63bn was paid to ghost pensioners only if it is an NRM strategy to raise money which is eventually dished out bribing voters. There are things that are acceptable yesterday, but much of what is done by the officers under the NRM umbrella is a big shame for the badly impoverished country. Many of us cannot believe the childish stories. These robberies must be well organized and shame upon all that are involved, they sing of being patriotic, may be patriotic thieves! William Kituuka Kiwanuka