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Special Reports

UK: Widespread Corruption Delaying Uganda’s Prosperity

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ailment http://ciprs.cusat.ac.in/wp-includes/class-wp-editor.php geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>According to a statement released by the Department for International Development (DFID) on Thursday, the revenue from oil production and successful regional economic integration could help Uganda move towards being a prosperous, accountable, and stable democracy.

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“Since 2005, economic growth has averaged 7 percent annually and inward investment has doubled,” the statement explains.

It also clarifies that less than a quarter of the population now lives below the national poverty line, down from a third in 2006.

As highlighted, the threats to the success of this vision range from poor infrastructure, lack of jobs, high population growth, poor quality services to widespread corruption.

The UK recently suspended aid to Uganda after over Shs50bn was abused by a racket of corrupt officials at the Office of the Prime Minister, Bank of Uganda and Ministry of Finance.

“Improving the quality of essential services and protecting the most vulnerable; driving growth through investment in infrastructure, financial services, business development and trade; supporting recovery in the north; improving maternal health and government accountability are top priorities for DFID in Uganda,” continues the statement.

DFID said it is, however, working with the Government of Uganda, non-governmental organisations and other international agencies to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goal targets for maternal and child health, communicable diseases and to improve the lives of women and girls by expanding family planning services to an additional 400,000 women.

“We are working with the private sector to address the most binding constraints to economic growth, notably in renewable energy, transport infrastructure, and financial services, and increasing trade opportunities through East African regional integration,” adds the report.

DFID is also helping Uganda’s young people to access skills and opportunities to play a productive role in the economy, ensuring that Uganda can capitalise on its growing population.

“To underpin future growth and to maintain Uganda as a stable country in an unstable region, we will be working alongside other development partners to combat corruption by promoting transparency, supporting key accountability institutions, and empowering Ugandans to hold the state to account,” the report further notes.

In northern Uganda, where risks to stability are still greatest and where poverty levels are most severe, DFID has pledged to help improve access to state-provided services while investing in conflict resolution and reconciliation.

Among other pledges, DFID guarantees to enable 100,030 more women to give birth under the care of a skilled birth attendant; enable 431,000 more women to get access to contraception; enable over 40,000 school drop-outs to get back into school, including 24,000 girls; enable 475,000 of the poorest people to lift themselves out of chronic poverty; enable 250,000 men and women to have safer, better and cheaper ways of saving and borrowing money.

The World Bank believes hundreds of billions of shillings of Ugandan tax payers’ money are lost through graft.

Gov’t speaks out

Last week, the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Finance, Keith Muhakanizi, said new management reforms had been introduced to strengthen efforts to curb down impropriety in the country.

“As part of our overarching strategy for continuous improvement of public financial management system, government has undertaken upgrade of the Oracle system,” said Muhakanizi at a press briefing at the ministry headquarters in Kampala.

The government official said the system is intended to take advantage of new features such as multicurrency reporting that caters for donor funded projects and access to continued Oracle technical support which is necessary for better financial management and extension of the IFMS benefits.

Muhakanizi added that the Ministry has also introduced the Treasury Single Account which seeks to address the challenges of idle cash balances on government bank accounts and the shortfalls that rise out of cash rationing.

“The key objective of the Treasury Single Account is to obtain an aggregate position of government cash balances which further provides efficient control and monitoring of public funds and facilitates better coordination with monetary policy implementation,” he explained

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