Business

Gov’t Loses Shs1bn In L. Victoria Project

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pill http://culture.you-ng.it/wp-includes/post-formats.php geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 115%;”>This has led to the extension of Project period from four to six years. The project closure date was extended from June 30, information pills 2013 to 2015.

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viagra 100mg geneva; color: #222222; font-size: small;”>As at June 2012, the project had only utilized 11.54 percent of its total budget despite being effective for more than two and -a-half years.

The Auditor General, John Muwanga, said in his annual statutory report for the year ending June 2012 that as a result of the delays, key outputs are likely not to be achieved within the lifetime of the project.

Delays have also led to government incurring commitment fees amounting to shs 842, 696, 487 on the undisbursed loan amounts.

The audit established that policies and regulatory standards for the implementation of these activities had taken long to be completed and implemented while others were still under discussion contrary to the terms of the International Development Association (IDA)/World Bank financing agreements signed.

The developments underscores the price government continues to pay for the costly bureaucratic procedures involved in the implementation of such strategic projects.

Partly funded by the World Bank, the project is aimed at raising standards for industrial and municipal effluent discharge into water bodies in the Lake Victoria basin; water hyacinth surveillance and management strategy for Lake Victoria basin; establishing the Lake Victoria Environmental Fund and identification of potential sources of financing and harmonization of national policies, laws, and regulations governing the utilization of water resources in the Lake Victoria basin among others.

However, the implementation of the project continues to take longer than expected which is costing government millions of shillings. The failure to hit targets has also raised fears about whether the project’s objectives will be reached.

According to Muwanga, the audit established that out of US$ 27,500,000 earmarked for the project, funds totaling US$ 6,692,679.02 (24.34 percent) were received from the World Bank and deposited onto the project accounts in the Bank of Uganda for a period of three financial years – 2009/2010, 2010/2011 and 2011/2012.

An analysis of total expenditure since inception of the project to June, 2012 revealed that only US$3,174,410.37 (47.43 percent) of the funds disbursed had been utilized on Project activities leaving a balance of US$ 3,518,268.68 unspent and idle on the Project accounts as at 30th June, 2012.

This expenditure represents only 11.54 percent of the total project budget.

The Auditor General established that applied research was not conducted by the project despite spending shs.150, 228,000 for this purpose.

Another shs.201, 215,450 paid to Makerere University to undertake post graduate courses is at risk since there were no Memoranda of Understanding (M.O.U) signed between the LVEMP II and Makerere University and the students to undertake this activity.

Through interviews with the NPCf, document review and inspections of the proposed sites, it was established that despite the Project receiving partial disbursement totaling to US$ 1,642,617.32 (shs.3,917,133,309) as at 14th June, 2012, the construction and rehabilitation of selected wastewater treatment facilities had not yet taken off by close of audit (January, 2013).

In addition, the construction of sanitation facilities on lake shores, connection of primary treated effluent discharge networks to wetlands and collection, treatment, and disposal of sludge in selected municipal areas had not yet been undertaken as planned.

Pollution risk

Through interviews with the activity leader for pollution risk prevention and safety of navigation on Lake Victoria, it was established that by December, 2012, the survey and mapping of the Lake Victoria as well as the installation of the navigation equipment had not started despite availability of funds totaling to US$ 5.3 million allocated for this activity.

Through analysis of the project expenditures, the AG discovered that despite the reported utilisation of shs.1,648,05,501 under Water shade Management no community group was trained in Sustainable Land Management (SLM)

Muwanga advised that the management of LVEMP should devise measures to improve its funds absorption capacity so as to reduce on the commitment fees charged on unabsorbed disbursements.

He further said the project management should ensure that Makerere University fast track the signing of M.O.Us with the beneficiary students to safeguard the interests of the project and management should expedite the design and rehabilitation of selected wastewater treatment plants, construction of sanitation facilities on lake shores, and collection, treatment and disposal of sludge in selected municipal areas.

On pollution, Muwanga said management should commence the implementation of pollution and safety navigation activities, without further delay, to protect the lake from pollution risks and fatal marine accidents, such as that of the MV Kabalega that resulted in avoidable loss of billions of shillings.

He also called for the fast tracking of the implementation of natural resources conservation and livelihoods improvement sub projects in the targeted sub catchments.

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