Thursday, March 31, 2011


Syda Bbumba Minister of Finance!
Many people saw the 2010/2011 Uganda Government Budget as meant to will over votes for the Museveni Government which according to some of us would have not lived beyond the 2006 but the militarism. When we get to budget performance, it is not likely that the budget may have 30% performance, that is achieving its objectives. I wish someone gave us the actual position 'not the cooked one'. What people expected may be better termed as 'air supply'. It is now two months to the close of the financial year.
William Kituuka Kiwanuka

Uganda 2010/2011 Budget Speech delivered by Finance Minister Syda Bbumba
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BUDGET SPEECH for Financial Year 2010/2011
Uganda National Budget case
Theme: Strategic Priorities to Accelerate Growth, Employment and Socioeconomic Transformation for Prosperity.


Your Excellency the President of the Republic of Uganda,
Your Excellency the Vice President
The Right Hon. Speaker of Parliament,
The Right Hon. Deputy Speaker of Parliament,
Your Lordship the Chief Justice,
Honourable Members of Parliament,

1. I beg to move that Parliament resolves itself into a Committee of Supply for consideration of:
i. The Revised Revenue and Expenditure Estimates for the Financial Year 009/2010; and
ii. Proposals for the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for Financial Year 2010/2011.
2. Mr. Speaker Sir, Article 155(1) of the Constitution requires the President to cause to be prepared and laid before Parliament, estimates of revenue and expenditure for the next financial year. I am accordingly performing this duty, with pleasure, on behalf of His Excellency the President. I wish to thank His Excellency the President for giving me yet another opportunity to deliver the budget speech on
his behalf.

3. Mr. Speaker Sir, allow me to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to His Excellency the President of the Republic of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, for his visionary and tested leadership which has spearheaded the return to peace throughout the country and the reconstruction of the economy. Since 1986 His Excellency has overseen the management of the economy that has graduated from
one of despair, to one of great hope and positive aspiration.
4. Mr. Speaker Sir, due to sound economic management under the NRM Government, the economy has continued to grow at a pace averaging 8.4 per cent since 2006. This solid performance is even higher than the remarkable economic growth that Uganda has experienced since 1986, which has led to a six-fold increase in the size of the economy that now stands at Shs. 34.2 Trillion.

The economy has been transformed from a largely agriculture-based one, to one spurred by significant industrial and service growth. The industrial sector has increased its share in GDP from 9.9 per cent in 1986 to 24.5 per cent in 2009; the service sector has increased from 36.1 per cent in 1985 to 50.3 per cent, while the dominance of the agricultural sector has declined from 53.9 per cent in 1985 to

14.9 per cent in 2009 indicating the extent of transformation. Bringing inflation down and keeping it to single digit from the peak when annual headline inflation rates averaged about 153 per cent between 1986-1990’s is yet another major achievement of the NRM. Even skeptics cannot justifiably belittle the significant progress our economy has made under the sound economic management of the
NRM Government.

5. Mr. Speaker Sir, the structure of the budget I am presenting today is as follows:
i. First, I will highlight the Economic and Sector Performance in line with the policy pronouncements made in my Budget Speech for the Financial Year 2009/10;
ii. Second, I will outline some of the emerging trends in the domestic, regional and international economy and the outlook for the Financial Year 2010/11;
iii. Third, I will focus on the Budget Strategy and Priorities for the Financial Year 2010/11; and
iv. Finally, I will announce the Proposed Taxation and Revenue Measures and outline the Way Forward.

Performance of the Economy

6. Mr. Speaker Sir, a year ago, I presented a budget strategy which broadly focused on improving the business climate of the country and revitalizing production through a range of strategic interventions. I am glad to report significant progress in the following areas:-.

Economic Growth
7. Mr. Speaker Sir, the economy is estimated to have grown by 5.8 per cent in real terms in 2009/10, compared to 7.2 per cent growth recorded in 2008/09. This year’s performance is in line with the Eastern African region average growth rate of 5.75 per cent, which is the highest in Africa’s regions. This shows the resilience of the region to economic shocks. Honourable Members may recall that at this time last year, we were concerned about the impact of the global economic crisis on our economy, which has had a secondary lagged effect. The slowdown in economic growth has also been attributed to the drought experienced in most parts of the country, rising oil and fuel prices.


8. Mr. Speaker Sir, the economy has experienced inflationary pressures since 2008 due to events which led to double digit inflation for the first time since Financial Year 1991/92. These events ranged from the 2008 floods in the Eastern region, rising region-wide demand for food crops and regional disturbances, as well as the rise in global prices of oil and food, which exerted significant upward pressure
on commodity prices. The country experienced high fuel prices in March this year due to shortages arising from the maintenance of the oil pipe line from Mombasa to Eldoret. This resulted in higher fuel pump prices and increased costs which were passed on to consumers through production and transport prices.
9. Mr. Speaker Sir, in response to these developments, Government prudently implemented structural and anti inflationary policies in collaboration with Bank of Uganda. Government’s timely interventions in the Agricultural Sector, together with the increased regional trade, also led to greater agricultural productivity and output, keeping food inflation in check.
10. Mr. Speaker Sir, as a result, inflation has since reverted to single digit from 13.9 per cent last financial year, to 4.4 per cent by the end of May 2010.

Exchange Rate
11. Mr. Speaker Sir, the exchange rate appreciated from over Shs.2,100 in July 2009 to Shs.1,874 in November due to increased proceeds from exports, increased inflows of foreign exchange from FDI and remittances from abroad.
However, it depreciated to Shs.2200 in May 2010 driven by increased demand for dollars, together with the depreciation of the Euro against the dollar. The turmoil in the Euro Zone also has contributed to the strengthening of the dollar against other currencies as global markets continue to shift into dollar denominated assets.

International Trade
12. Mr. Speaker Sir, the performance of exports of tea, tobacco and fish sectors was over 25 per cent higher in this Financial Year than in the previous financial year. Ninety-Six Thousand (96,000) metric tons of tobacco was exported, compared to Twenty-Six Thousand (26,000) metric tons in the previous year. Recently, the volcanic ash cloud which affected Europe caused an estimated 35 per cent drop in flower exports and 6 per cent reduction in fish exports in the month of April 2010. However exports in both the flowers and fish sectors have since rebounded. Import growth has stagnated due to fall in private sector imports. The total import bill for the twelve months up to end of March 2010 was around US $3.9 billion, down by 6.1 per cent compared to the previous year.

13. Mr. Speaker Sir, Uganda is the only country in the East African region which did not resort to the International Monetary Fund for balance of payments support during the global economic crisis. This was due to the strength of our international reserves position, which stood at 5.3 months of imports, reflecting the sound economic management by the NRM Government.
Financial Sector

14. Mr. Speaker Sir, the banking sector continued to support growth of businesses by increasing the range of products and services offered and by expanding the network. During the year, 21 new bank branches were opened to expand access to the banking system. The industry has managed to combine rapid expansion with financial stability. The ratio of non-performing loans remains at around 3 per
cent, which is within international standards.
15. Due to competition in retail banking, the private sector is demanding diversified banking products from the sector beyond what is covered under the existing Law. I will therefore be submitting amendments to the Financial Institutions Act 2004 to Parliament which will allow commercial banks to offer bank assurance, financial products under Islamic banking and other market responsive products, to their customers. This will allow banks to move into previously untapped markets.
16. The Rural Financial Services Strategy continued to increase coverage of services to the wider population, especially in rural areas. Government has facilitated the establishment and strengthening of the financial infrastructure of Savings and Credit Cooperative Organizations (SACCOs) and other micro finance institutions as means for financial intermediation. There are now over 1,060 sub counties, city divisions and municipal divisions with registered SACCOs, having over one million members in total. The SACCO infrastructure has generated Shs 44 billion as share capital, Shs 83 billion as savings and Shs 122 billion in their lending portfolio in the Financial Year 2009/10.
17. Mr. Speaker, Sir, technological innovations have now made it possible to extend financial services to millions outside the formal banking system. A case in point is mobile telephone money transfer services that allow mobile phone users to make financial transactions or transfers across the country conveniently and at low cost. MTN Mobile money, ZAP and M-Sente have demonstrated that low cost means that use modern technology can effectively expand the financial services frontier. Today, millions of Ugandans use mobile money to make payments, send remittances, and store funds for short periods. These innovations have illustrated how financial services can be extended to millions of people outside the formal banking sector at low costs.

18. The Bank of Uganda continues to maintain effective regulatory and supervisory safeguards to ensure that expanded access to banking is not at the expense of financial stability. Because of prudent regulation, the banking sector in Uganda has been insulated against the contagion of the toxic assets from the Global banks. I commend the Governor Bank of Uganda and his team for managing the sector efficiently.
Interest Rates
19. Mr. Speaker Sir, Lending rates on shilling denominated loans also fell from 21.8 per cent in August 2009 to 19.6 per cent in January 2010. However, this is still higher than the EAC regional average, which is at about 15 per cent.
Government’s efforts to bring down interest rates have yielded some results that have seen yields on treasury bills decline. Government has introduced measures to bring interest rates down, such as the introduction of the Credit Reference Bureau, lowering cost of doing business, and increasing competition between banks and boosting transparency by regularly publishing bank rates and charges,
as well as maintaining macroeconomic stability and fiscal consolidation.

Capital Markets

20. Mr. Speaker Sir, in line with the diversification process of the financial sector, the value of wealth held by Ugandans in the form of capital and equity shares has continued to grow. The Initial Public Offer (IPO) of the National Insurance Corporation (NIC), which was oversubscribed by 32 per cent, has increased the opportunity for the public to invest in the insurance sector in particular, and the
equity markets, in general. 92 per cent of shares in the NIC were bought by Ugandans. I urge companies to embrace capital markets as a source of long term financing as we broaden the equity market. This is yet another record success of the NRM Government’s Policy of Privatization of Public Enterprises, which give Ugandans an opportunity to directly own shares of Public Enterprises.
21. Mr. Speaker Sir, the Securities Central Depository which was recently launched will foster safer and more efficient clearance and settlement of securities. It will also lead to electronic trading once the Automated Trading System is in place. This computer-based trading will enable negotiations to take place between bidders anonymously, thereby reducing the cost of information exchange between participants. This system will also be linked with other East African stock markets.

Insurance Services

22. Mr. Speaker, Sir, while our insurance service penetration is still low by regional standards and accounts for less than one per cent of GDP, we commend the effort of the industry players who have played a big role to create awareness.
As a result, the industry has registered an increase in insurance premium from Shs.129 billion in 2008/09 to 167 billion this year, dominated mainly by non-life insurance which accounts for over 90 per cent of the policies underwritten.
23. The Insurance Industry has also taken advantage of the opportunities available under African Trade Insurance (ATI) Agency and so far, the Agency has underwritten 14 projects in Uganda worth 106 million dollars in the areas of manufacturing, telecommunication and infrastructure. I therefore urge the Ugandan business community to take advantage of the insurance policies available at ATI to increase competitiveness and profitability of their businesses by hedging against insurable risks.

Fiscal Performance
24. Mr. Speaker Sir, the expenditure outturn for the Financial Year 2009/10 budget is projected at Shs 6,576 billion, financed by domestic sources amounting to Shs 4,856 billion and Shs 1, 720 billion from external loans and grants. URA revenue is projected to perform better this year with a 17.6 per cent annual growth compared to the 15.6 per cent growth in the previous year. This revenue effort is equivalent to 12.5 per cent of GDP which is still low, though is a great improvement from the 4.23 per cent of revenue as a percentage of GDP, collected in 1987. Several reforms are currently being implemented to improve tax administration.
25. Mr. Speaker Sir, overall expenditure is projected to perform at about 90 per cent, the underperformance being on account of slow performance of the development budget. This low absorption is expected to be transitory, as Ministries, Departments and Agencies become more conversant with new conditions precedent to accessing funds, which include preparation of work plans, recruitment and procurement plans which are meant to enable them implement their activities in a timely manner. The new requirements were instituted by my Ministry to ensure Value for Money right from the time of disbursement of Government funds.
26. External support is projected to finance about 26 per cent of the Financial Year budget. The sectors that are expected to receive the highest support are Transport and Works, Agriculture, and Public Sector Management, which are key to growth and are complimentary sectors in the economy. Sector Performance for the FY 2009/10
27. Mr. Speaker Sir, in the budget statement of this financial year, I announced a number of measures aimed at stimulating economic growth with substantial allocations in the following areas; (i) increasing agricultural production and value addition; (ii) transport infrastructure; (iii) energy infrastructure; (iv) human resource development; and (v) peace, security and good governance.
28. For transparency and accountability, which is a cherished principle by the NRM Government, it is imperative that I present the key achievements and challenges of the Financial Year 2009/10, before I present the Budget Strategy and Priorities for Fiscal Year 2010/11.
Increasing Agricultural Production and Value Addition
29. In the agricultural sector, the budget for the FY 2009/10 set out to address the biggest constraints to agricultural production including crop pests and livestock diseases, lack of suitable inputs, appropriate technologies to increase productivity, the vagaries of weather and limited access to financial and extension services.
30. Mr. Speaker Sir, we undertook these interventions which enabled the agricultural sector to recover from the earlier slowdown in growth. This is exhibited by bumper harvests in the Financial Year 2009/10 in many parts of the country. Preliminary estimates of agricultural sector output covering cash and food crops, livestock, forestry and fisheries grew by 2.4 per cent in FY 2009/10
compared to 2.3 per cent in the previous financial year, even as falling fish stocks led to the fisheries sub-sector experiencing an annual decline of 7.3 per cent. The bumper harvest of largely maize produce, caused challenges of post harvest handling which Government is addressing.

31. Mr. Speaker Sir, the restructuring of NAADS has enabled the organization to provide better advisory services. NAADS has enabled farmers to access technologies and gradually shift from subsistence to market based activities. It supported the establishment and development of over One Thousand (1,000) sub-county farmer fora and over Sixty Thousand (60,000) technology learning sites.
During the financial year, NAADS extended direct support to about Thirty One Thousand (31,000) farmers in form of improved technologies for demonstration and expanded coverage.
32. As articulated in the State of the Nation Address by His Excellency the President, NAADS extended different technologies in crop, livestock, fisheries and apiculture to farmers. Tractor hire services were also operationalised in Teso, Lango, Acholi, W.Nile and Busoga regions. In order to increase the availability of water for production, funds were provided for the construction of bulk water facilities as well. The dams and valley tanks which were commissioned are as follows:

i. Rwenjubu in Isingiro District;
ii. Makukulu in Lyantode District;
iii. Kibanda in Rakai District;
iv. Dyangoma in Mubende District;
v. Kasejere in Kiboga District;
vi. Ajamaka in Kumi District;
vii. Atar in Apac District;
viii. Wangkwok in Kitgum District.
ix. Imeri in Kamuli District and
x. Kasiira in Kumi District.
33. Mr. Speaker Sir, for the first time, Government in partnership with Commercial Banks, established an Agricultural Credit Facility amounting to Shs. 60 billion to be lent to borrowers at interest rate not exceeding 10 per cent per annum for a maximum period not exceeding of eight years. Under this arrangement, the Banks match the Government of Uganda contribution. The objective of the Credit Facility is to facilitate farmers in the acquisition of agricultural and agro-processing machinery and equipment. To date, Shs. 54billion has been disbursed from Government and partner financial institutions investments in the following areas:-

i. Tractors, planters and other farm implements;
ii. Irrigations systems
iii. Milk processing equipment
iv. Maize and feed mills
v. Tea processing plant and machinery
vi. Refrigeration equipment for meat processing; and
vii. Flower and Horticulture equipment.

Industrialization and Value Addition

34. In order to improve business environment and competiveness of Uganda’s economy, Government set aside funds for industrialization and value addition. Through concerted efforts by His Excellency the President, Government has supported Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI) to become a centre of excellence in value addition, business incubation, innovation, product and process
design, as well as technology transfer. UIRI has undertaken the following interventions, among others, as a result:

i. developed new technologies for soap production;
ii. developed machinery for paper production from banana stems and other fibers;
iii. fabricated machinery for producing feeds;
iv. developed machinery for silk processing;
v. built a variety of looms for weaving and enhanced its capacity to process bamboo into a variety of products; and
vi. Renovated and equipped a vaccine production pilot plant.
35. The above technologies have all been prototyped and are ready for commercialization. Two virtual incubation centers have been built in Lira district for peanut butter production, and in Mpigi district for fruit juice processing.

36. Mr. Speaker Sir, Government has also provided support towards new business incubation centre at Makerere University Department of Food Science to enable it equip students and new graduates of Food Science Technology with skills and knowledge in the operation and management of agro-processing enterprises in order for them to become job-makers and employers. This is being done through
the following:

i. Developing viable technologies and knowledge driven food processing and nutrition enterprises
ii. Promoting entrepreneurship amongst researchers and graduates
iii. Providing support to commercial enterprises based on technologies developed at the University.
iv. Building human capacity in agro-processing, value-addition, nutrition and entrepreneurship

37. Mr. Speaker Sir, Special Economic Zones (SEZ) have been set up in Kampala Industrial and Business Park (KIBP) Namanve, Luzira, Mbarara and Bweyogere; land for two estates in Mbale and Soroti were acquired and extra land was identified in Kasese, Masaka, Gulu, Fort-Portal, Jinja, Bukwo, Arua and Nakasongola. Graveling of 15Km roads and construction of office blocks in
Namanve was completed and 230 plots were allocated to investors.
38. The Uganda Development Corporation (UDC) which was revived as the investment arm of Government and is already playing a role in the implementation of the Soroti Fruit Processing Facility Project; the Tororo Phosphates Mining Project; and the manufacture of iron and steel from the abundant iron ore deposits in Kabale and Kisoro Districts.
39. Mr. Speaker Sir, in order to strengthen the legal framework for improving the business environment, the following acts were passed by Parliament: Mortgage Act, 2009; Trade Secrets Act, 2009; Hire Purchase Act, 2009; Partnership Act, 2009; Contract Act, 2009, in addition, the following bills are before Parliament: Companies Bill, 2009; Insolvency Bill, 2008; Chattel Securities Bill, 2008; Trade
Marks Bill, 2008; E-Transactions Bill ,2008; Computer Misuse Bill, 2008; E-Signature Bill, 2008; Industrial Property Bill, 2009 Anti Money Laundering Bill. The following draft bills are before Cabinet: Sale of Goods Bill, 2008, Counterfeits Bill, 2009; Capital Markets Amendment Bill, 2009; Free Zones bill.
40. Mr. Speaker Sir, through you I want to thank the Eighth Parliament for enacting those laws and request for the speedy consideration of the pending enabling legislation.
41. In line with the National Skills Programme, Enterprise Uganda has supported the youth to generate jobs. Over Seven Thousand (7,000) youth have benefited from ‘Business and Enterprise Start-up Tool’ (BEST) clinics in Kampala and up-country. Within six months of gaining the business and entrepreneurship skills, 60-65 per cent of the youth under the programme have been able not only
to employ themselves but have each generated one to two additional jobs.
Transport Infrastructure

Road infrastructure

42. Mr. Speaker Sir, during the FY 2009/10, Government continued to improve the condition of the road network through tarmacking gravel roads, rehabilitation and maintenance of the national, district and community access roads. I am happy to report that Government is making progress in the road sector. The list of tarmacked roads under reconstruction, and gravel roads being upgraded to tarmac
total 3,624 kilometers throughout the country. Some of these roads are:-

i. Kampala Northern Bypass which was completed in September 2009;
ii. Soroti-Dokolo which was completed in December 2009;
iii. Fort Portal-Bundibugyo-Lamia border; Construction commenced
iv. Completion of the design of Gulu-Atiak-Bibia/Nimule, and Ntungamo-Mirama Hill/Kagamba-Ishaka Roads, completed
v. Substantial progress towards completion of Gayaza-Zirobwe-Wobulenzi and Matugga-Semuto-Kapeeka

43. Mr. Speaker Sir the Uganda Road Fund (URF) commenced operations in January 2010 and has financed the routine maintenance of over Twenty Nine Thousand (29,000) kilometres of road, the rehabilitation of about One Thousand Two Hundred (1,200) kilometers and maintained 87 bridges. Under the District, Urban and Community Access Road (DUCAR) network, an additional Thirty One Thousand Seven Hundred (31,700) kilometers and about Five Thousand (5,000) kilometers of community access roads have been maintained under routine and periodic maintenance respectively. In order to address the slow pace of road maintenance in Kampala City, with effect from the third quarter of financial Year 2009/10, the five (5) Divisions of Kampala City Council started receiving road maintenance funds directly from the Uganda Road Fund. This will continue as a means of improving road maintenance in the city.

Energy Infrastructure
Electricity Generation
44. Mr. Speaker Sir, I am happy to report that the power supply has considerably increased since mid-2005. As stated in the State of the Nation Address, Government’s major priority in the energy sector remains focused on increasing generation and transmission capacity through construction of large and mini hydro power plants. The construction of the 250 MW Bujagali Hydropower Project is on course and will be completed as scheduled. The feasibility studies for the 700MW Karuma and the100 MW Isimba Hydropower projects are also underway. The 13 MW Bugoye renewable energy project was also completed and commissioned during the financial year. Load shedding is currently at a minimum, and only localized due to network overloading.

Rural Electrification
45. Mr. Speaker Sir, for emphasis allow me to restate the list of rural electrification schemes which were articulated in the State of the Nation Address under the Rural Electrification Programme. The following schemes were completed during the FY 2009/10; Corner Kilak-Patongo-Adiang-Abim-Kiru with tee-offs to Pader and Kalongo, Iceme-Oyam district headquarters and environs, restoration of Soroti-Kalaki-Lwala power line, Kapchorwa-Kaprooni-Kelle Farm Institute, restoration of Kidongole-Bukedea-Masanda in Mbale,
Bumbeire in Bushenyi, Atari in Apac; Buwekula-Musika-Kanyogoga in Jinja, and Kiyunga-Mbulamuti in Kamuli.
46. Mr. Speaker, progress on the above schemes is a further demonstration of the NRM Government’s commitment to deliver investments throughout the country as promised under the NRM 2006 Manifesto

Petroleum Exploration and Production
47. Mr. Speaker Sir, investment in the petroleum exploration has so far exceeded US$ 900 million and is expected to increase when the development and production phases commence. To date, five out of the ten exploration areas in the Albertine Graben are licensed to various companies. The Principles for the Oil and Gas legal and regulatory framework were approved by Cabinet and the Bill
will be submitted to Parliament in the next financial year. In Financial Year ending, as articulated in the State of the Nation Address, 33 out of 35 wells have yielded hydrocarbons, a positive sign of existence of oil.
Human Resource Development

48. Mr. Speaker Sir, in the financial year ending, the Education Sector placed focus on the consolidation of the achievements so far gained under Universal Primary and Secondary Education programmes. Specific emphasis was put on improvement of the quality of schooling through the construction, provision of instructional materials and improving inspection and sanitation in primary
49. The Universal Secondary Education programme was rolled out to cover senior four. In addition, Government has carried out emergency repairs at Kakungube and Kamodi Secondary Schools and completed 4 classroom blocks in 10 new seed secondary schools at Ruyonza, Busembatia, Serere, Busalaamu, Rubongi Army, Buhimba, and Kapchorwa Secondary Schools and Bukooli College. The ground floors of storied blocks at Kabale, Pallisa and Nkoma Secondary Schools were also completed; and an administration block at Kyamate Secondary School, a classroom block, science laboratory and administration block at Rubaare Secondary School were also constructed. Government has also completed the payment for land compensation for the construction of Entebbe
Comprehensive School.
50. Government has also financed the completion of construction of a total of One Thousand Eight Hundred (1,800) classrooms. An additional 2,600 new classrooms, 130 multi-purpose science rooms, 28 libraries, and 23 teachers’ houses are in final stages of completion.
51. In higher education, Government recognizes the contribution of the Private Sector to the provision of access to higher Education. Accordingly, Government has supported the following Private Universities with a total of Shs. 7.7 billion.
These are: Bugema University, Busoga University, Kampala International University, Kumi University, Mountains of the Moon University, Nkumba University, Uganda Christian University in Mukono and Uganda Martyrs University in Nkozi. Government has also supported the Islamic University in Uganda by guaranteeing their borrowing from the Islamic Development Bank.
52. In order to provide the necessary human resource for the petroleum sector, the Uganda Petroleum Institute was established at Kigumba, with an initial allocation of Shs.1.5bn for infrastructure development, and the Institute is now operational.
I am happy to report that thirty students in geo-physics, chemistry and oil science related disciplines have been admitted to the institute this year.
53. Mr. Speaker Sir, with respect to vocational education and training, Government completed construction of 44 classrooms and 34 workshops in 14 vocational schools enrolling Primary 7 leavers in the financial year now ending. Furthermore, Machinery & Equipment has been supplied to 15 vocational schools enrolling Primary 7 leavers.
54. In addition, the following outputs were achieved:-
i. Construction of a Library block on going at Uganda College of Commerce, Kabale.
ii. Construction of a Library block on going at Uganda Technical College, Elgon.
iii. Rehabilitation of classroom and dormitory at Lake Katwe Technical Institute.
iv. Provision of 3 workshops, mainhall, and 2 dormitories at Nalwire Technical Institute.
v. Training of 80 Instructors and 60 technical Teachers is ongoing at Uganda Technical Colleges at Bushenyi, Elgon, Kichwamba, Lira and the Nakawa Vocational Training Institute.
vi. Procurement process for construction of an administration block, 2 workshops and 2 Dormitories at Ahmed Sseguya Memorial technical Institute is ongoing.
55. Mr. Speaker Sir, according to the 2009 Uganda Malaria Indicator Survey, the proportion of households having at least an Insecticide Treated Mosquito Net (ITN) increased from 49 per cent in the Financial Year 2008/09, to 59 per cent this year. In November 2009, the Global Fund in Geneva disbursed US Dollars 40 million to Uganda for procurement of Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets (LLITNS). Delivery of the nets throughout the country, which started in February 2010, is expected to end this financial year.
56. The Ministry of Health attained the targeted coverage for Indoor Residual Spraying in the 7 districts where malaria is endemic. These districts are: Apac, Pader, Kitgum, Oyam, Gulu, Katakwi and Gulu. Mr. Speaker Sir, the scheduled rehabilitation and reconstruction of Regional Referral Hospitals, particularly of Lira, Masaka and Kabale is at advanced stage. Construction of 6 mental health units at Masaka, Jinja, Mubende and Mbale, Moroto and Lira referral hospitals is near completion, and civil works have been completed and the facilities commissioned at Masaka, Jinja, Mubende, Lira, and Mbale. The construction and
rehabilitation of 13 Health Centre IVs and 26 Health Centre IIIs in south western Uganda districts of Mbarara, Isingiro, Ibanda, Kiruhura, Ntungamo, Bushenyi, Rukungiri, Kabale, and Kanungu is at an advanced stage. However, delays have been reported in the rehabilitation works in Soroti and Buhinga.

Water and Environment
57. Mr. Speaker Sir, under water for production, the following schemes were completed in the FY 2009/10; Rubaare and Nshenyi Valley tanks in Ntungamo, Kailong dam in Kotido, Leye dam in Apac and Mayikalo dam in Sembabule. In addition, construction of the following dams is almost complete; Kagango dam, Kagamba and Obwongerero valley tanks in Isingiro district, Kawomeri dam in
Abim, Olelpec and Alamia valley tanks. Other ongoing projects include Akwera dam in Lira, Lutunku and Kisozi valley tanks in Sembabule, Longoromit dam in Kabong, Kobebe dam in Moroto and Arechet dam in Moroto district. The challenge in this sector is unit costs which appear to be disproportionately higher than the increases in the underlying cost of inputs.
58. Mr. Speaker Sir, rainwater harvesting aims at supplementing other efforts to improve safe water supply, which currently stands at 65 per cent. The main intervention is to implement demonstration schemes and subsidizing of rain water storage tanks for basic household consumption and promote use through raising awareness. A total of 385 rainwater harvesting systems were constructed by 2007 in the districts of Mbarara, Bushenyi, Isingiro and Kabale Districts. In financial year ending, 340 rain harvesting systems are under installation in Kakyera, Lwamagwa, Ddwaniro, and Kyalulangira sub counties in Rakai District and in Namasagali and Balawoli Sub counties in Kamiuli Districts Information and Communication Technology
59. Mr. Speaker Sir, this financial year, Government planned to complete the inter-connectivity of the entire country by laying over 1500 km of optical fiber to link most major towns in the country. Under phase two of the project, the fibre optic cable was laid through Jinja, Iganga, Bugiri, Busia, Tororo, Mbale, Kumi and Soroti; Luwero, Nakasongola, Masindi, Lira and Gulu; Mityana, Mubende,
Kyenjojo, Kabarole, Kasese, Bushenyi, Mbarara, Masaka and Mpigi. The National Information Technology Authority (NITA-U) setup Business Information Centres in the districts of Busia, Iganga, Lira, Kamwenge, Mityana and Rukungiri.

Increasing Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) to Support Efficient Delivery of Infrastructure Services:
60. Mr. Speaker Sir, Government recently approved the PPP Policy and Principles to be enshrined in the PPP Bill for presentation to Parliament in the coming financial year. The proposed PPP Bill will provide the framework for the implementation of selected public infrastructure by harnessing private sector financial and human resource skills, while sharing the construction and operational risks between public and private sectors. This will ensure improved efficiency and value for money in the delivery of public infrastructure services, including speedy implementation of public-private sector investments. In the meantime, the Uganda Police Force and Uganda Prisons Services are being supported to deliver office and housing accommodation through a PPP arrangement, under existing
laws and regulations.

Reconstruction Programmes
Northern Uganda Peace, Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP)
61. Mr. Speaker Sir, in the current financial year, Government commenced on the full implementation of the Northern Uganda Peace, Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP) with an allocation of Shs. 100 billion, which has been fully disbursed. In terms of planned investments, over 90 per cent of the activities are being implemented with the following as the major key deliverables:
i. Over 700 classrooms are under construction.
ii. About 55 Classrooms have been rehabilitated.
iii. 275 teachers’ houses are under construction
iv. 930 toilet stances are being built.
v. Over 220 boreholes are under construction.
vi. About 30 shallow wells are under construction.
vii. 160 boreholes have been rehabilitated.
viii. 46 maternity wards under construction.
ix. 203 Health workers’ houses are under construction.
x. Over 36 Out Patient Departments in the Health Centers are
under construction.
xi. Over 25 new Health Centre IIs are under construction.
xii. 670 Kms of feeder roads have been rehabilitated
xiii. Over 360 km of community access roads opened.
62. In addition, the resettlement programme for former Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) registered remarkable achievements. For example, under the tractor hire scheme, a number of tractors were procured and communities were supported to open up land which has increased food production in the region. Seven Thousand Nine Hundred (7,900) hectares of land has been allocated for ploughing under the scheme. Iron sheets were procured and distributed to returnees. We have piloted construction of low cost housing using Hydraform technology in Karamoja, Teso and Acholi Regions, which has worked well. Government has also procured 300 ox-ploughs, 700 oxen, 350 heifers to distribute to farmers in the Lango sub region.

Luwero-Rwenzori Development Plan
63. Mr. Speaker Sir, last month Government launched a 5 year Development Plan for the Luwero-Rwenzori Reconstruction Programme. This is as an affirmative plan for this area that was affected by the NRA protracted war and the ADF insurgency. In FY 2009/10, Shs. 10 billion was provided to cover the 40 districts in the two regions. So far grants have been provided to 240 parishes, 60 sub-counties and 7 districts to support interventions in agricultural commercialization, roads and bridges, schools and water in the cattle corridor. In financial year 2010/11, the plan will focus on establishing secondary schools in 50 sub-counties and primary schools in 108 parishes which have none. In addition, support will be extended to water, roads and bridges.

Growth Prospects
64. Mr. Speaker Sir, as stated in the State of the Nation Address, the economy has performed very well in the face of the global financial crisis that erupted in 2008. While the first rounds of effects of the global financial crisis were relatively limited, the international economy remains volatile. The recent turbulence in the Eurozone has raised some challenges for the Uganda economy. The global
economy is still clouded by a high degree of uncertainty but this, so far, should not warrant a radical change in the near term macroeconomic policy of the budget which I am presenting to this August house today. We shall continue to monitor the developments closely and we stand ready to adjust policies promptly if needed.
65. Mr. Speaker Sir, regardless of the recent developments, the economic growth outlook for the medium term remains positive and reflects the resilience of our economy because of continued economic stability and diversification of our exports in regional markets. The economy is projected to grow at 6.4 per cent in the coming financial year, and at an average rate of 7 per cent for the outer years.
This compares favourably with a forecasted growth trends in the Eastern Africa region where growth is expected to rebound to rates of 6 per cent per annum.

Balance of Payments
66. The coffee sector is expected to rebound in FY 2010/11. We expect to ship 3.15 million bags of coffee, compared to 2.95 million last year, representing 10 per cent increase in the value of the exports. The tobacco sector is also continuing its rapid progress and exports for next financial year are projected to be worth over US Dollars 100 million for the first time, from an average of US Dollars 58
million over the last three years. I will be requesting the Bank of Uganda to revive the study of the Domestic Resource Costs (DRC) and also compile the Index of Agricultural Production Statistics, so as to assess the relative price competitiveness of agriculture commodities.
67. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the NRM Government remains committed to low and stable inflation over the medium-term in order to provide stable environment for investment. Government will continue to aim at stimulating demand in the economy, while keeping inflation at around 5 per cent.

Interest Rates
68. Mr. Speaker, Sir, we recognize the problems associated with high interest rates and are therefore, working with commercial banks to bring lending rates down. Government is proceeding with the computerization of land registries as well as lowering the cost of doing business through investments in the necessary economic, physical, energy and social infrastructure. Underwriting risk, as the case is under the Agricultural Guarantee Scheme, the introduction of the National Identification System and the full operationalisation of the Credit Reference Bureau, will further reduce the risks which raise the cost of loanable funds. The operationalisation, in a phased manner, starting next year. of the fibre-optic based
National Transmission Backbone Infrastructure (NBI), will also reduce the cost of Communication.

Deepening Regional Integration
69. Mr. Speaker, Sir, on 1st July, 2010, the East African Community will establish a single economic territory within which business and labour operate. It is envisaged that the EAC Common Market will stimulate greater productive efficiency, higher levels of domestic and foreign investment, increased employment, and growth of intra-regional trade and of extra-regional trade. The Common Market allows freedom of movement of goods, services, capital, business enterprises and skilled labour within an area bound by a Customs Union.
The Customs Union has been largely completed, and the entire EAC region is looking forward to implementation of the Common Market. We give credit to His Excellency the President for his commitment and strong support towards regional integration.
70. Mr. Speaker Sir, let me now turn to the Budget Strategy for the FY 2010/11. The theme for next year’s budget is ‘Strategic Priorities to Accelerate Growth, Employment and Socio-Economic Transformation for Prosperity’, in line with the thrust of the National Development Plan. Mr. Speaker Sir, the Financial Year 2010/11 budget marks the transition from the Poverty Eradication Action Plan
(PEAP) to the recently newly launched National Development Plan (NDP) which lays out the strategic five-year plan for Uganda’s development up to 2014/15. The NDP provides a single framework for guiding the strategic allocation of national
resources as a means towards the attainment of its strategic objectives. The objectives of the NDP clearly reflect the strategic vision of the NRM Government to transform Ugandan society from a peasant to a modern and prosperous country within 30 years, through growth, employment, and prosperity for socio-economic development. Achievement of the NDP’s and Government’s core objectives
require identification and targeting of key areas of the economy responsible for accelerating economic growth and socio-economic transformation.
71. The NDP seeks to address structural bottlenecks to the economic and social transformation of Uganda over the next five years. It spells out the most binding constraints to achieving the vision of a transformed Uganda as the following:-

i. Inadequate Physical Infrastructure to efficiently transport inputs to production and final goods to markets, together with high communication costs; and limited availability of energy infrastructure to increase productivity and enhance the quality of life
ii. Low application of science and technology that impedes technological capabilities and competitiveness;
iii. Inadequate supply and limited access to critical production inputs such as fertilizer, water, and construction materials leading to high costs for these items;
iv. Inadequate Quality and Quantity of Human Resource due to limited capacity of the education system and low health and education service delivery standards;
v. Limited availability of Financial Services and high costs of financing;
vi. Weak public sector management and administration; and
vii. Poor mind-sets, negative attitudes and perceptions that limit business and entrepreneurship, limited use of modern science and ICT tools and discrimination against women in certain spheres.

72. Over the medium term, the Ugandan economy will be faced with a number of macroeconomic management challenges, but also a number of opportunities. Among the opportunities are the continued progress towards economic integration, particularly in regard to the East African Community and the discovery of oil resources. The former provides opportunities for increased trade and more employment opportunities.
73. At the macro-level therefore, Government policies and the budget allocations will be geared towards ensuring enhanced efficiency, competitiveness and productivity, if the country is to benefit from regional integration.

74. Mr Speaker Sir, the Resource Envelope for the next financial year amounts to Shs. 7,552 billion of which Shs. 5,640 bn is financing from domestic sources and Shs. 1,912.1 bn is financed from external loans and grants. Resources from both Tax and Non-Tax Revenues will contribute Shs. 5,034.4 billion and Shs. 91.5 bn respectively, while loan repayments will contribute Shs. 59.9 bn. Next year’s
budget will be about 19.1 per cent of GDP. Domestic sources are projected to finance about 75 per cent of the budget in the coming financial year, while the balance of 25 per cent will be provided by our development partners. This is in line with our objective of gradually increasing the share of the budget financed through domestic sources.
75. As the Ministry responsible for mobilizing resources for Government, I wish to register our gratitude to our development partners for the continued support to our country.
76. Mr. Speaker Sir, the Financial Year 2010/11 budget priorities seek to implement the goals of the National Development Plan (NDP). Next year’s budget priorities are therefore in tandem with the NDP’s and are as follows:-
i. Infrastructure Development in Roads and Energy;
ii. Promotion of Science, Technology and Innovation to facilitate value addition and employment;
iii. Enhancing agricultural production and productivity;
iv. Private Sector Development; and
v. Improving Public Service Delivery.

77. Mr. Speaker Sir, I now wish to turn to the details of the budget priorities for the Fiscal Year 2010/11.

Road Transport

78. Mr. Speaker Sir, whereas the national road network has registered substantial progress, the status of our road infrastructure still remains inadequate by regional and international standards. This hinders access to markets and negatively affects overall economic performance by imposing high transport costs. The focus of the roads sector in FY2010/11 will be concentrated on completing on-going projects and road maintenance to clear the backlog.
79. During the coming financial year, priority will be given to completing the tarmacking, rehabilitating and maintaining critical road links that are important to the promotion of production, competitiveness and regional trade. The road development programme will encompass the following:-
i. Completing the upgrading or reconstruction of works on the following roads: Dokolo – Lira (60.4km), Kampala – Gayaza – Zirobwe –
Wobulenzi (Phase 1 – 43km), Matugga – Semuto – Kapeeka (41km), Kabale – Kisoro – Bunagana/Kyanika (98km) , Masaka – Mbarara
(154km), Busega – Masaka (124km) and Busega – Mityana (57km) Roads.
ii. Commencement of the upgrading to tarmac or reconstruction of the following roads: Mbarara – Kikagati (75km), Gulu – Atiak – Bibia (Sudan border)108km), Vurra – Arua – Koboko – Oraba (92km), Nyakahita – Ibanda – Kamwenge – Fort Portal (208km), Fort Portal – Bundibugyo – Lamia (104km), Mukono – Kyetume – Katosi/ Kisoga – Nyenga (72km), Ntungamo – Mirama Hills/ Ishaka – Kagamba (72km), Rukungiri-Kihihi - Kanungu-Ishasha (74km), Moroto – Nakapiripirit (90km), Kapchorwa – Suam, (77km), Mpigi – Kabulasoke – Maddu – Sembabule (135km), Hoima – Kaiso – Tonya (85km), Mbarara – Katuna (152km), Mukono – Jinja (52km), Mukono – Kayunga/ Nkoloto – Njeru (94km), Tororo – Mbale – Soroti (155km), Malaba/Busia – Bugiri (82km), Kawempe – Kafu (166km), Kafu – Karuma (67km) and Jinja – Kamuli (60km) and Kamdini – Gulu (60 km).
iii. Completing the rehabilitation of the following roads: Kampala – Mukono (23km), Lira – Kamdini road (68km), Masaka – Kyotera; Villa/Maria – Nyendo roads (38km) and Mbarara – Ishaka/ Mbarara – Ibanda roads (123km).
iv. Completing the design for upgrading to tarmac of the following roads: Olwiyo- Gulu- Kitgum (167.1 kms), Muyembe- Moroto- Kotido (291.5 kms), Soroti- Katakwi- Moroto- Loktanyala (290 kms), Masaka- Bukakata (36Kms), Mpigi – Maddu- Sembabule (124Kms), Mukono-Kyetume-Katosi/Kisoga-Nyenga (74 km), Villa Maria – Sembabule (48 Kms), Rukungiri – Kihihi – Kanungu – Ishasha (74Kms), Kyenjojo- Hoima-Masindi-Kigumba (238Kms), Musita – Lumino – Busia/Majanji (140Km), Tirinyi – Pallisa – Kumi/Pallisa – Mbale (111Km), Mbale –Bubulo – Lwakhakha (41 kms), Namagumba- Budadiri- Nalugugu (30 kms), Kamuli- Bukungu (64 Kms), Hoima Wanseko (111km), Kayunga – Galiraya (88km).
v. Completing the design for capacity improvement of the following roads: Kampala – Jinja (80km), Kibuye – Mpigi (30km), Kampala – Entebbe (35km) and Kampala Northern Bypass (17.5 km). Commence the design for reconstruction of Tororo – Mbale – Soroti (156) and Lira – Kamudini – Gulu (122km).

80. Mr. Speaker Sir, Government will commence the rehabilitation of the Nalubale Bridge at Jinja; and the design of the second Nile Bridge at Jinja in the coming financial year. We will also complete construction of the following: Aswa bridge on Gulu – Kitgum road; commence construction/rehabilitation of 10 bridges in West Nile namely: Enyao, Alla and Kia Kia in Arua, Goli, Cido, Nyagak, Nyacara, Pakwala, Ora 1 and 2 in Nebbi district; commence the construction of bridges and landing sites on Atiak – Moyo – Afoji road;
Bunyamusenyu bridge on River Kafu which link Nakaseke to Masindi will also be constructed.
81. In line with the National Transport Master Plan, Government is committed to improving the transport system and infrastructure within Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area. In the coming financial year, Government has earmarked US Dollars 50 million specifically for road rehabilitation and improvement within Kampala City. This is in addition to Shs..13billion that Government will continue
to provide directly to the City’s Divisions for road maintenance. Government has also embarked on plans to construct the Kampala-Entebbe express highway. This is expected to greatly improve the traffic flow between the City and the International Airport.

82. In order to address the challenge to maintenance and rehabilitation of district roads, urban roads and community access roads in the country, Government has secured funding to procure road equipment for zonal, district and urban road units. In a bid to improve transport infrastructure within Kalangala Islands, I have made a provision of Shs. 1.0 billion for the shadow road toll to enable the private contractor commence construction of the Kalangala Main Island Road under a Public Private Partnership Agreement.
83. I have provided an additional funding of Shs. 50billion over this year’s budget under the Uganda Road Fund towards the maintenance of 10,000kms of national roads in FY2010/11 that were taken over by the Uganda National Road Authority
(UNRA) from the Local Governments.
84. Under water transport, Ferries for Obongi – Sinyanya and Rwampanga – Namasale will be provided. The scope of works for the refurbishment of the MV Pamba is now complete and its rehabilitation to restore its sea-worthiness will be undertaken in the next financial year.
85. Mr. Speaker Sir, in order to improve the procurement process, next financial year, UNRA will strengthen its capacity in Contract Management Government will also institute an Inter-Ministerial Technical Committee in the sector to ensure cooperation across Government agencies.

86. Mr. Speaker Sir, in the coming financial year, the Auditor General will periodically undertake Financial and Technical Audits on road construction works before the works contract are completed, to ensure that quality is maintained.

Railway Transport

87. Mr. Speaker Sir, Government has also undertaken a feasibility study for upgrading Tororo-Pakwach railway line and intends to carry out a study to extend the railway line from Gulu to Nimule/Southern Sudan. We have also commenced the feasibility study for the full restoration of the Kampala – Kasese railway line. Furthermore, Government is in the process of procuring consultancy services for
studies for development of a Standard gauge Railway between Kenya and Uganda.
Energy Infrastructure

88. Mr. Speaker Sir, our power supply needs to be in tandem with the growing demand as higher growth rates translate into higher levels of demand for electricity. In the short run, thermal power generation will continue to mitigate the hydro power shortages and Government will step up generation capacity in the long-run. In the next financial year, construction of the 250 MW Bujagali
Hydro power will continue and the first turbine will be commissioned in October 2011 raising installed generation capacity from the current 550 MW to about 800MW in 2012 when the Bujagali Project is fully commissioned. The feasibility study for the engineering design for the 700 MW Karuma hydro power project and 100 MW Isimba hydro power project will be completed.
Mr. Speaker Sir, next financial year, Government will undertake the following power transmission projects:
i.) complete upgrading of 132 KV Tororo-Oluyo-Lira and Mutundwe-Entebbe transmission lines; ii.) construction of the following lines; the 220 KV Bujagali-Kawanda-Mutundwe; the 132 KV Mbarara-Nkenda , Nkenda-Mputa, Mbarara-Mirama, Masaka-Mwanza, Jinja-Tororo-Lessos, Kawanda-Masaka, Karuma-Lira, Kaiso Tonya-Fortportal-Nkenda, Opuyo-Moroto, Karuma-Oluiyo and Mbale-Nakapiripirit-Moroto. iii.) Regional inter-connection of Bujagali-Tororo-Lessos (Kenya); Mbarara-Mirama-Birembo (Rwanda); Masaka-Mwanza (Tanzania) and Nkenda-Beni-Rutshuru and Beni-Bunia (DRC).

90. Mr. Speaker Sir, in order to achieve the NRM vision of developing a self sustainable and private sector led economy, Government will continue to address impediments to private sector development. As a key priority in the coming financial year, Government will support industry by enabling the acquisition of appropriate technology, financial capital, and skilled human resource by the private sector complemented with a conducive entrepreneurial environment.
91. Mr. Speaker Sir, in the coming financial year, Government will focus on the promotion of science and technology application to enhance private enterprises technological capacity for greater employment creation. The Uganda National Council of Science and Technology (NCST) and UIRI have therefore, been strengthened to promote the use of technology and to spearhead the efforts of
translating Research & Development results into practical products and processes, using the business incubation model. Government will continue to support UIRI to expand its programs in business incubation by establishing four multipurpose value addition centers across the country and to expand its Small and Medium Enterprise outreach programme, among other interventions. An allocation of Shs.
1.207 bn has been provided to UIRI to set up a Science Unit. Makerere University will also receive an additional Shs. 5 billion for innovation in engineering and technology research and development. In order to enhance and retain high scientific skills in the country, I have provided Shs. 18 billion for salary enhancement for scientists.
92. In addition, an allocation of Shs. 1bn has been provided to Enterprise Uganda to provide existing entrepreneurs and enterprises with the necessary skills and training to re-orient their business processes to tested and fruitful ventures.
93. Mr. Speaker Sir, youth unemployment is a major concern to the Government. In the next financial year Government will set up a School Leavers Industrial Training Fund at the Directorate of Industrial Training. I am providing Shs. 2 billion for this Fund. Furthermore, in pursuit of employment opportunities for the youth, Government is sourcing funding to enable the acquisition of small scale machinery and processing units for ‘Jua Kali’ businesses. In addition, the Industrial Processing Venture Capital Fund will avail financing for bankable start-up ventures for University and College Graduates with interest rates not exceeding 5 per cent per annum payable within eight years. For a start, I am providing Shs 4 billion for the Fund in the next financial year.
94. Mr. Speaker Sir, in the Information and Communication Technology sector, Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) will be encouraged to create jobs for the educated youth and generate exports. The ICT sector will receive Shs. 2.6 billion in priority allocations for the operation of NITA-Uganda which is expected to eventually lead to the decline of the cost of access to ICT related services. The
operationalisation, on a commercial basis, of the National Transmission Backbone Infrastructure (NBI) will commence in the first quarter next financial Year.



There are questions as to whether Uganda Government has done the necessary legality issues before the handling of Libyan investments in Uganda. We know the liability the country is likely to finally be in when the NSSF and the Kenya company which had been contracted before the 'illegal termination' finally gets to conclusion. The Parliament of Uganda seems to have been bypassed in all this. Let's hope for the best.
William Kituuka Kiwanuka

The government of Uganda has taken over shares in Libyan owned businesses and the recent take over was in UTL, a telecom company in the country in which Libya owns 69%.
UTL has about 1.75 million subscribers and recently, MTN, its rival, has vowed to disconnect UTL over unpaid dues so that an MTN subscriber can not call a UTL subscriber and vice versa. UTL has become the second entity in which Libya has a direct stake to fall under government control. UTL is under one of Libya’s investment arm, Libya Africa Investment Portfolio.
Bank of Uganda last week relieved the Libyan Foreign Bank of its shareholding in Tropical Bank. The Libyan Foreign Bank owned 99.7% of Tropical Bank’s portfolio. In freezing the Libyan Foreign Bank assets, Prof. Tumusiime Mutebile, the central bank governor, said all management appointees by the Libyan Foreign Bank were immediately relieved of their duties and a new management was appointed.
Aggrey Awori, the Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) minister, said the Government was exercising its oversight role and also complying with UN sanctions against Libyan assets. “We have to monitor all the transactions in conformity with the rules and now they cannot make certain decisions without our knowledge,” said Awori.
Awori said employees and Ugandans should not worry because the Government would normalise operations. “The situation will be stabilised and all uncertainties will be eliminated within a week,” said Awori. However, Donald Nyakairu, utl’s chief legal and corporate affairs officer, said they had not yet received the information and operations were going on normally.
“Probably they are thinking about it (the take-over), but nothing has changed. They have not approached us,” said Nyakairu. Uganda Communications Commission boss Godfrey Mutabazi also said he had not been told about the new development.
Awori also said the Government was planning a major monitoring of the telecom sector to bring the recent telecom bickering under control. “The way events have been unfolding is “eyes on, hands off “but now we want to have hands on,” said Awori. MTN recently threatened to switch off all calls to utl over claims of an unpaid sh20b debt.
Awori said he needed 48 hours to confirm whether there would be changes in utl management.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


The death of Okello due to mistaken identity is one incident that was overdue to happen given that many people have the same name as this case. This is a precedent which calls for a legislation to have all the newly born to be given names which are made up of three names to give one's identity. So sad that the 'insane' woman did the unthinkable. Those are the people we have.
William Kituuka Kiwanuka


Mourners lower Okello’s body into the grave on Sunday. PHOTOS BY HUDSON APUNYO
By Hudson Apunyo

Posted Wednesday, March 30 2011 at 00:00
He is gone, sent to an early grave by a stranger, apparently hired by a jilted lover who in the fit of jealousy, plotted to end the life of her rival’s child. In this callous case of mistaken identity, and as fate would have it, the assailant picked the wrong child, and allegedly murdered him.
The three-year-old boy shared a name with the other child, who apparently was the real target of the assailant. This is the sad story of Steven Okello, whose tender life was cruelly ended in a feud his family knew nothing about.
Police and relatives recovered his lifeless body tucked in a swamp in the outskirts of Lira town last week. Four days later on Sunday, inconsolable relatives and mourners buried Steven, in an emotional send off. A cloud of grief shrouded the air at the burial place as despair descended upon hundreds of mourners, overwhelmed by the stark reality of the misfortune.
In a tragic plot, the deceased was picked from Montessori Nursery School in the heart of Lira town by a boda boda cyclist. The motorcyclist had produced a letter to the unsuspecting school administration, purportedly written by the child’s mother Jacky Ejang.
The letter stated that the child was sick and was being taken to hospital for treatment. “He is not the one who usually picks me from school, I don’t know this boda and I am not sick,” sources, who witnessed how the child was picked but were not willing to be identified, narrated how Okello instinctively protested before he was ingeniously taken away to meet his death.
When his parents found out that he was missing, the school authorities confirmed that there were two pupils in the same class sharing the name, Steven Okello. That is how the mishap occurred. The deceased was mistakenly killed in the place of his namesake. They called the parents of the other Okello, Tony Otuku and Jacky Ejang, who promptly accused their son’s step mother, Pamela Atyang, of the heinous crime.
Mr Otuku, a driver in Lira town, sent his condolence to the family of his son’s namesake, but thanked God for sparing his son’s life. The driver disclosed that his wife had threatened to harm his children whom he had with Ejang. “So I am sure, my wife picked and killed another child but her target was mine,” he said.
Yesterday, Ms Atyang, 23, who resides at Akite Nino Village in Lira Municipality, was produced in court. The young woman appeared before Grade Two Magistrate Edward Etot and was charged with murder.
Court heard that Atyang and others still at large on March 22 killed Okello. The Magistrate’s court had no jurisdiction over her case, and Atyang could not take plea and was remanded to Lira Central Prison until April 12 when she will reappear for mention of her case.
Steven’s grandfather Alele Okello said he alerted the police the evening his grandchild went missing, but police reportedly said it was already late and they would only be able to launch a search for the missing child the following morning. Alele now wishes if only police had listened to them and acted, the child would have survived.
Lira Resident District Commissioner Susan Akany accused the school of laxity and warned proprietors that they risk their institutions being closed if they do not take the security of children seriously. The Regional Police Commander Central North, Mr Raymond Otim, also assured mourners to be hopeful as he will do all possible to bring the suspects to book.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011



Is This the same guy M7 who went to USA okulonkoomayo Gadafi that he wants to kill him ?
I think he should board his jet fry it through a none fryzone, he shouldn't be worried about being smoked up there as he is a revolutionaly

Written by Edris Kiggundu
Sunday, 20 March 2011 17:03
President Museveni and four other African leaders are unlikely to make significant headway as they take on an African Union mandate to seek peace in Libya because of overwhelming Western interests.
Other leaders on the team are: South Africa’s Jacob Zuma, Gen Sassou Nguesso of Republic of Congo, Amadou Toumani Toure of Mali and Mouhammed Abdul Aziz of Mauritania.
The AU commission president, Jean Peng, and the incumbent AU chairman, Teodore Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, are also members. The crisis that has raged on for five weeks now has provided the biggest test to Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi’s 42-year- old leadership of the oil-rich country, leaving in its wake thousands dead and a trail of destruction.
Yet, if the leaders – currently stationed in Mauritania as they seek permission from the United Nations to fly to Tripoli – are to succeed, they will have to overcome the larger-than-life personality of Gaddafi, the influence of Western powers, and add more bite to the African Union, which has a poor record in resolving conflicts among member countries.
These hurdles, according to political observers, could be hard to overcome and the situation is not helped by the contradictions and the lack of influence of the AU over its member states – factors that were brought to the fore during the passing by the United Nations Security Council, of the resolution on Libya.
While the continental body made it clear, from the onset, that it would not support the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya, all the three African non-permanent members on the UN Security Council – South Africa, Nigeria and Gabon – voted in favour of tough action against Libya.
“It [AU intervention] is a non-starter because it has been overtaken by events,” said Dr Philip Kashaija, an expert in International Relations at Makerere University. “How will Zuma face Gaddafi, yet his country voted against Libya [at the UN]?”
In an article after the vote, The New York Times, an influential US newspaper, detailed how Obama cajoled African countries to support America’s position at the UN.
The report said South Africa and Nigeria, along with Brazil and India, had all initially opposed the idea of authorising force against Libya, but US officials somehow convinced them to change their mind.
“Mr Obama had already been on the phone pressing President Jacob Zuma of South Africa to support the resolution… Eventually, the South African representative showed up to vote yes, as did the Nigerian representative, giving the United States one vote more than required,” the article noted.

Western influence
From what transpired at the UN, it is clear that the United Sates and its allies – and not the AU – will have the last say on how the Libyan crisis is resolved.
The hard stance adopted by Obama in the wake of the resolution, in one instance telling reporters that the UN position was “not negotiable”, shows that the US is already in charge.
Secondly, some European countries such as Spain and France have more to lose if the Libyan conflict persists, given that they are already experiencing an influx of refugees from Libya, which is putting a strain on basic services at home. This explains why they have been outspoken in the way forward on Libya.
In fact, France has already pledged troops in case a military option is chosen. Besides this geo-political aspect, what makes Libya even more important to the West is her oil reserves. Such overwhelming European interests are unlikely to be subjected to an African Union opinion.
The other important entity in Libya’s case is the Arab League, a body that brings together Arab nations. In fact, the UN resolution requests “the cooperation of the Arab League” if its implementation is to be successful.

The African Union is not mentioned because it doesn’t really matter.
Most Arab speaking African countries tend to regard highly their membership of this organisation and that is why they are most likely to listen to it than to the AU. The Western powers also take this group’s opinion more seriously.
It, therefore, comes as no surprise that Obama and other world leaders consulted widely with the Arab League and not the AU, as they drafted the resolution. Once the body agreed with most of the proposals, including a no-fly-zone, America and its allies went ahead and tabled the resolution.
Matters have not been helped by the fact that during the most recent political flare-ups on the continent, especially in the Arab world,

the AU has been a by-stander.
It’s pressure from the US, Western countries and Arab nations that forced the leader of Tunisia, Ben Ali, and later Hosni Mubarak of Egypt to step down following popular protests against their leadership. The AU had no say in those crises and is highly unlikely to have a say in the Libyan issue.
Weak AU Vs Gaddafi
With the exception of South Africa, many African countries, including Uganda, regard Gaddafi very highly. Gaddafi is said to fund a sizeable portion of AU’s annual budget and pays subscription fees for a number of member countries.
Even if such countries were to be listened to on the Libya question, they would be heavily compromised in their opinion. That partly explains why, apart from vocal and wealthy Botswana, no African country has publicly criticised Gaddafi’s military excesses during the crisis.
Libyan companies have invested heavily in a number of African countries and, for Uganda’s case, the North African country has a stake in seven companies with a value of more than $375 million, according to figures from Uganda’s embassy in Libya.
Gaddafi’s larger-than-life image in Africa was detectable in the tone of Uganda’s Foreign Affairs minister, Sam Kutesa, during an interview with Daily Monitor last week. Emphasizing that Gaddafi needed to yield to the idea of peace talks, Kutesa was quick to add that the Libyan leader, despite the people’s uprising, had served the Libyans well.
“(Being) a revolutionary, I think, you are trying to serve the larger interests of society and that includes people’s freedoms and wellbeing,” Kutesa said.
While the AU can point to some cases as evidence that it is capable of resolving political conflicts on the continent – such as the impasse in Kenya in 2008 and the one in Zimbabwe in 2009 – it has largely failed to stamp its authority and enforce political discipline among its member states.
The list of countries where AU-led mediation has failed is long, but the best case study currently is the political impasse in Ivory Coast, where the incumbent, Laurent Gbagbo and his rival Alassane Ouattara have each maintained that they won last year’s presidential elections.
An AU mission led by Kenya’s Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, has so far failed to resolve the impasse and, over the past week, several civilians have died as a result of clashes between supporters of Gbagbo and Ouattara.
Some analysts believe that part of the reason why the continental body goes slow on leaders like Gaddafi is because the leadership in many of its member states is not much different. Even where there are periodic elections, they are not free and fair, while in many African countries, there is limited or no freedom of expression and of the press.
The fear for some leaders is that if they support tough action against countries like Libya, tomorrow could be their turn.
It is also for this reason that many African leaders argue that African states should solve the problems on the continent, not foreigners who might impose tough restrictions.
In fact, both Museveni and Zuma of South Africa were unhappy with the UN declaring Outtara elected president of Ivory Coast, proposing an African “solution” that involves investigating who actually won those elections.

Uganda hopeful
Despite the hurdles, government officials here remain hopeful that the AU mission will play a significant role in the achievement of peace in Libya.
James Mugume, the Permanent Secretary at the ministry of Foreign Affairs, told The Observer on Saturday that other global efforts will instead galvanize the work of the AU.
“Everyone recognizes that war will not end the conflict in Libya. We believe that the peaceful efforts by all players [and the AU] will pay off,” Mugume said, adding that the tone of the UN resolution hints on a need for a peaceful end to the crisis.

Monday, March 28, 2011



Kayihura (right) with the district commanders during a party for the SPCs
Sunday, 27th March, 2011
By Steven Candia
SPECIAL Police constables (SPCs) whose contracts expired mid this month will be turned into a reserve Police force, the Inspector General of Police Maj. Kale Kayihura, has said.
Addressing over 1,500 constables during a party at Lugogo hockey grounds on saturday, Kayihura hailed them for their distinguished service in ensuring peace during the elections. He said the Police Act provides for a reserve force.
Kayihura said though the contracts of the constables expired, they would remain non-uniformed Police officers.
He assured the constables who have not been paid that they would receive their salaries today.
“On Monday, I will send a team from the Police headquarters to pay you. Any person who did police work anywhere in the country will be paid,” Kayihura said.
About 18,000 constables were recruited countrywide on a one-month contract to help the Police during the elections due to shortage of manpower in the Police.
They were to be paid sh11,000 per day translating into sh330,000 at the end of the month.
At the function, Kayihura also put to task 13 divisional Police commanders in Kampala to explain whether they had explained to the constables at the time of recruitment that their contracts were meant to be for one month.
He later apologised to the constables after it emerged that there were anomalies in three out of the 13 divisions due to lack of effective communication.
The Police chief promised to visit the divisional Police stations of Kira Road, Kiira division and Mukono this week to resolve the issues.
“I want to thank you for the good work you did. We achieved the mission that we were given by president Yoweri Museveni and the people of Uganda,” he said.
“As the overall commander, I was worried because of threats from terrorists, plans by politicians to foment chaos, ensuring that there is no election malpractice and the need to enforce electoral laws,” Kayihura said.
He said if there are vacancies in the force, priority will be given to the SPCs during the recruitment as long as they meet the requirements. He said much as the Police would desire to retain the services of the SPCs the force was constrained by the size of its resource envelope.


Coalition steps up air strikes as explosions and anti-aircraft gunfire is heard in Tripoli
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 11:24 PM on 27th March 2011

* Western forces bomb 'civilian and military areas' in Tripoli, says Libyan TV
* Heavily-armed convoy seen fleeing Gaddafi stronghold of Sirte for Tripoli
* NATO agrees to take full command of military operations in Libya
* Opposition leaders poised to take control of oil terminals
* Gaddafi forces hit back, pounding Misrata with mortars, killing eight
* We will not arm rebels, says Defence Secretary Liam Fox

At least four explosions and heavy anti-aircraft gunfire reverberated through Tripoli tonight in a sign that coalition forces have turned their sights on the Libyan capital.
As night fell, Libyan state TV claimed in a news flash that both 'civilian and military areas' in Tripoli had been hit by the 'crusader, colonialist aggressors'.
Meanwhile Libyan rebels are advancing on Colonel Gaddafi's forces in his Eastern birthplace of Sirte amid signs that Western air strikes may be beginning to help turn the tide of the conflict. It was reported that government military vehicles were fleeing the city 300 miles from Tripoli as the pro-democracy army threatened to bear down
Witnesses reported explosions in Sirte as a convoy of 20 military vehicles including truck-mounted anti-aircraft guns was seen leaving the city and moving westwards towards the capital.

Out of action: A Gaddafi tank burns near Ajdabiya

It was also revealed tonight that NATO have agreed to assume full command of military operations in Libya, ending nearly a week of heated negotiations over the chain of command.

The decision, which could take up to 72 hours to implement, puts the 28-member military alliance in charge of operations to target Muammar Gaddafi's military infrastructure and protect civilians, as well as implementing a no-fly zone and an arms embargo.


* Beaten by Gaddafi’s nephew and intimidated by his thugs... so why was I treated like a criminal by British justice?
* Children of the revolution:The Yemeni boys taking a stand as their country teeters on the brink
* The moment a woman was arrested as she tried to tell the world about her gang rape at the hands of Gaddafi's troops
* Assad blames 'armed gangs' for violence rocking Syria as government announces 12 deaths in weekend of unrest

Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said: 'Our goal is to protect civilians and civilian-populated areas under threat from the Gaddafi regime. NATO will implement all aspects of the U.N. resolution. Nothing more, nothing less.'

The operations will be led by Canadian General Charles Bouchard, NATO said.

On the march: Rebels are seen inside an oil terminal compound after it was retaken by rebels from Muammar Gaddafi's forces in Zueitina, 528 miles east of Tripoli
On the march: Rebels are seen inside an oil terminal compound after it was retaken by rebels from Muammar Gaddafi's forces in Zueitina, 528 miles east of Tripoli
Advancing: Libyan rebels celebrate on a destroyed tank as they enter the strategic oil town of Ajdabiya after defensive positions previously held by loyalists stood deserted following Western-led air strikes

Advancing: Libyan rebels celebrate on a destroyed tank as they enter the strategic oil town of Ajdabiya after defensive positions previously held by loyalists stood deserted following Western-led air strikes
Rebels celebrate after forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi fled following coalition air strikes around the eastern town of Ajdabiyah,
Libyan rebels walk past a corpse of an alleged pro-Gaddafi forces

Celebrations: rebels celebrate in Ajdabiya, left and a rebel walks past the corpse of a soldier from Gaddafi's forces
Earlier this evening in Sirte, where Gaddafi was born, dozens of civilian cars carrying families and loaded with people's belongings were also seen driving westwards along the coastal road from the city towards the Libyan capital.
But Gaddafi's forces tonight hit back by firing volleys of mortar rockets into the city of Misrata, killing eight people and wounding 24, as they attempt to counter attack from the west, it has emerged.
Libyan rebels have already seized power of Brega, Uqayla, Bin Jawad and the important oil town of Ras Lanuf, after moving westwards, emboldened by their recapture of the strategic Ajdabiya yesterday.
The capture of Ras Lanuf was the high-water mark of their military campaign earlier this month before Gaddafi pushed them back and it is thought the front line is now west of the oil-exporting settlement.
On the eastern approach of Ras Lanouf, airstrikes apparently hit three empty tank transporters and left two buildings that appeared to be sleeping quarters pockmarked with shrapnel.
'There was no resistance. Gadhafi's forces just melted away,' said Suleiman Ibrahim, a 31-year-old volunteer, sitting in the back of a pickup truck on the road between the two towns. 'This couldn't have happened without NATO. They gave us big support.'
Decimated: A Libyan rebel stands near a wrecked Gaddafi tank near the East gate of Ajdabiya

Decimated: A Libyan rebel stands near a wrecked Gaddafi tank near the East gate of Ajdabiya
Some rebels suggested that Gaddafi is withdrawing what forces he has left from the east of the country so that he can keep control of the west as air strikes by Britain, France and the UK continue after the UN approved a no-fly zone to protect civilians.
However, there were reports of heavy shelling from government forces on the rebel-held outpost Misratah.
Rebel fighter Walid al-Arabi said 'There is no Gaddafi army in Ras Lanuf,' quoting troops who had returned from the town.
Despite the rebels’ progress over the weekend, U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates yesterday suggested it might not continue at the same pace – warning Britain that it was set to be embroiled in a costly war which would last many months.
Mr Gates admitted that ‘nobody knew’ if the military mission in Libya would be completed before the end of the year, and confirmed the White House will ‘diminish’ the military resources committed to the conflict within days – raising concerns that the UK’s stretched Armed Forces will have to make up the shortfall.
Topping up: A French Rafale jet takes in fuel in mid-flight while enforcing the no-fly zone over Libya

Topping up: A French Rafale jet takes in fuel in mid-flight while enforcing the no-fly zone over Libya
His comments will fuel mounting fears that David Cameron has involved Britain in a lengthy and expensive military operation without clear goals or a deadline.
RAF Tornado jets carried out a second wave of attacks using precision-guided Brimstone missiles to destroy tanks on the edge of Ajdabiya which allowed the rebels to seize the city.
Advancing unchallenged, the rebels last night controlled virtually all the sea ports essential to Libya’s oil trade.
Defence Secretary Liam Fox said that taking control of Ras Lanuf would put the country's oil exporting capacity in rebel hands.
'What you are seeing on the ground now is the rebels moving west out of Ajdabiya now to Brega, moving back round the coast. That, of course produces a very different political dynamic,' Dr Fox told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show.
'As they move round the coast, of course, the rebels will increasingly control the exit points of Libya's oil and if they continue to move round that coast from Brega round to Ras Lanuf on the coast, it means they will pretty much be in control of all Libya's oil exports.
Touchdown: A Rafale fighter jet returns from a mission on the flight deck of France's flagship Charles de Gaulle today

Touchdown: A Rafale fighter jet returns from a mission on the flight deck of France's flagship Charles de Gaulle today
'That will produce a very dynamic and a very different equilibrium inside Libya. How that will play out in terms of public opinion and the Gaddafi regime remains to be seen.'
But he also ruled out supplying arms to the rebels, who cannot match the superior firepower of Col Gaddafi's forces, as it would fall foul of the UN arms embargo on Libya. 'We are not arming the rebels, we are not planning to arm the rebels,' he said.
In the west of Libya, where rebel forces are pinned down near the town of Misrata, French warplanes last night destroyed five Libyan aircraft and two helicopters on the ground at an air base.
Pro-Gaddafi forces had earlier pounded the city with tank, mortar and artillery fire that halted only as coalition aircraft appeared overhead, rebels said.
Ministers will be hoping that the signs mean the Western air strikes, which have included missions by RAF Tornadoes, are shifting the balance of power in Libya in favour of the rebels.
Brimstone missiles from Tornado GR4s destroyed six tanks at Ajdabiya – four on Thursday and two on Friday – and three more in a separate attack on the city of Misrata far to the west.
Map of Libya showing state of control by town. (SIN03)

The Gadhafi regime on Saturday acknowledged the airstrikes had forced its troops to retreat and accused international forces of choosing sides.
'This is the objective of the coalition now, it is not to protect civilians because now they are directly fighting against the armed forces,' Khaled Kaim, the deputy foreign minister, said in the capital, Tripoli.
'They are trying to push the country to the brink of a civil war.'
Gaddafi remained elusive at the weekend, with a government spokesman suggesting he is moving around Libya to keep his location secret.
Muss Ibrahim said: 'He is leading the battle. He is leading the nation forward from anywhere in the country.
'He has many offices, many places around Libya. I assure you he is leading the nation at this very moment and he is in continuous communication with everyone around the country.'
One resident in Misrata said 115 people had been killed in the city in a week and that snipers were still shooting people from rooftops.
In Ajdabiyah, rebel fighters danced on tanks, waved flags and fired in the air near buildings riddled with bullet holes. Half a dozen wrecked tanks lay near the eastern entrance to the town and the ground was strewn with empty shell casings.
Rebels said fighting had lasted through Friday night into Saturday. By the town's western gate there were bodies of more than a dozen of Gaddafi's fighters. An abandoned truckload of ammunition suggested his forces had beaten a hasty retreat.

Victorious: A Libyan rebel holds a rocket at the east gate of Ajdabiya
'Thank you Britain, thank you France, thank you America," said one rebel, praising the Western air strikes against Gaddafi's forces.
Capturing Ajdabiyah, a gateway from western Libya to the rebel stronghold of Benghazi and the oil town of Tobruk, was a big morale boost for the rebels.
In Misrata, the only big insurgent stronghold left in Libya's west, cut off from the main rebel force to the east, shelling by Gaddafi's forces fell silent on Saturday when Western coalition planes appeared in the sky, rebels said.
Libya's third city is only about 200 km from the capital and Gaddafi can ill afford to leave it in the hands of anti-government protesters.
'He pulled his forces out of Ajdabiyah and Brega so that he puts all his weight in attacking Misrata and winning so he can control the whole west versus losing the whole east,' a rebel, called Saadoun, said by telephone.

Welcome: A Libyan rebel greets a man on a checkpoint leading into Ras Lanouf, eastern Libya today
The UN Security Council authorized the operation to protect Libyan civilians after Gaddafi launched attacks against anti-government protesters who demanded that he step down after 42 years in power.
The airstrikes have crippled Gaddafi's forces, allowing rebels to advance less than two weeks after they had seemed at the brink of defeat.
Dr Fox ruled out Britain supplying weapons, including machineguns and anti-tank rockets, to rebels to hasten Gaddafi’s defeat.
He said: ‘We are not arming the rebels. We are not planning to arm the rebels.’
Nato, which is in command of a no-fly zone above Libya, agreed last night to take control of all military operations, possibly as early as tomorrow.
This would coincide with Mr Cameron hosting the London Conference on Libya. Foreign ministers from more than 35 nations, plus UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and African Union chairman Jean Ping, will discuss the crisis.
The conference will reiterate calls for Gaddafi to introduce an immediate ceasefire and end violence against Libyan civilians, and aims to ‘support a new political future’ for Libya without Gaddafi.
However, Italy risked sparking outrage by suggesting Gaddafi should be given a safe haven.
Foreign Minister Franco Frattini wants to put forward a joint plan with Germany involving a ceasefire, a humanitarian corridor and exile for the tyrant.
In his weekly address, Barack Obama said the coalition had averted a ‘humanitarian catastrophe’.
‘The lives of countless civilians – innocent men, women and children - have been saved,’ he said.
On their heels like a whippet snapping at a wounded bear


In the end, we simply did not have the petrol to keep up.

Our fuel gave out somewhere near Agheila, with the rebel spearhead still several score miles further west.

By sundown the leading units were reported to have advanced beyond Bin Jawad and within striking distance of Muammar Gaddafi’s home town of Sirte.
War casualty: Rebel fighters cover the body of a Libyan found dead in a car on a site bombed by coalition air forces in the town of Ras Lanuf

War casualty: Rebel fighters cover the body of a Libyan found dead in a car on a site bombed by coalition air forces in the town of Ras Lanuf
Even by the standards of this seesaw conflict, the movement of the battlefront this weekend is a remarkable reversal of fortune.
Last week Gaddafi’s armoured forces were in the suburbs of Benghazi. Now the remnants appear to have fled some 250 miles. The rebels are on their heels like a whippet snapping at a badly – possibly fatally – wounded bear.
What a difference Nato airpower has made.
Friday afternoon had seen me standing a few miles east of Ajdabiya, with Gaddafi artillery fire falling a little too close for absolute peace of mind. But over the weekend, after days of attack by coalition air forces, Gaddafi positions in and around the town cracked and broke.
Two weeks ago, we had left Ajdabiya in a hurry as the town was enveloped by Gaddafi’s advance eastwards. A razor, a pair of jeans, a shirt, socks and towel were among my possessions left behind.
So this weekend, with a front-door key still in my pocket and an anxiety to know the fate of the faces and places I had come to know in Ajdabiya, we returned.
The road was busy with trucks carrying food, water and medical supplies, streaming towards the town.
We sped past the shell-battered water tower which on Friday we had been warned not to go beyond because regime artillery spotters were using it as an aiming point.
A roadside café, where we had paused to buy drinks on our way out ahead of the Gaddafi advance, was wrecked. Warehouse buildings behind it bore the impact scars from various calibre munitions. A mosque had several gaping holes in its front wall.
Re-taken: Rebels celebrate in the town of Ras Lanuf. They said they would push on soon towards Muammar Gaddafi's stronghold of Sirte

Re-taken: Rebels celebrate in the town of Ras Lanuf. They said they would push on soon towards Gaddafi's stronghold of Sirte
Our first stop was the hospital. At the gate, my hand was grasped by two men who repeated: ‘England, England, Cameron, Cameron, we love you.’ Most of the patients and staff had been evacuated during the fighting.
Corridors which had echoed with the clamour of staff and families when I was last there, were silent. The morgue was full, of course.
Musbah, a trainee doctor from Ajdabiya, told me that more than 80 civilians had been killed while the town was under siege. More than 200 had been wounded, he said.
‘Sometimes the electricity would go off in the middle of an operation because the generator had run out of fuel and the patient would die,’ he said.
‘Another patient died because we ran out of oxygen.’
Three Ukrainian nurses, trapped at the hospital during the battle for the town, begged to use our phone to tell their families they were alive.
An Egyptian gynaecologist asked the same favour. In the past week of siege, battle and deprivation, Dr Khaled Gamal had delivered ten babies, two by caesarean section.
We sat on the hospital lawn as he made his call to Cairo. ‘Yes, I am alive,’ he told his wife, as she wept down the line.
We drove on towards the oil town of Brega. A munitions convoy had been caught in the open; lorries were shattered and burned out, thousands of unfired machinegun rounds were scattered in the desert.
‘Zenger! Zenger!’ was the constant, jeering cry of the rebel fighters who moved among the wreckage of a tyrant’s power.
The word means alleyway or passage. It was used by Gaddafi in a televised rant about how carefully – alleyway by alleyway – he was going to scour Benghazi of its rebels.
Now it was thrown back in his face.
Yesterday we reached the battle-scarred outskirts of Brega. Last time I had been here – March 10 – I was bombed by a Gaddafi jet.
On we drove from Brega into the desert marshlands around Agheila.
Up ahead Ras Lanuf had been retaken, we were told – and Bin Jawad, where more than two weeks ago the rebels suffered their first defeat and from which they were pushed all the way back to Benghazi.
But our fuel was gone. We had not expected to get so far in one day. Who had?
And my flat in Ajdabiya? An inner front door, previously left open, had been locked by the last person to leave. The landlord had fled abroad, I was told.
My socks will have to be liberated some other day.
Meanwhile, the rebel advance continues westwards apace.