21 April 2003

Uganda Signs $31m Water Deal

Kampala — UGANDA on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding under which US$31m (about sh58b) will be availed for water and sanitation in the next five years, writes Grace Matsiko.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of water, Lands and Environment, Eng. B. K. Kabanda, signed for Uganda, while Erik Aberg, Flemming Pedersen and Ros Cooper represented Sweden, Denmark and the Department For International Development, at a function held at the ministry headquarters in Kampala.

During the same function, Pedersen announced that the Danish Development Agency (DANIDA) planned to channel another sh35b as budget support for rural water supply and sanitation over the next five years.

While commending Uganda for the priority accorded to safe water access, Pedersen disputed government figures that safe water supply in rural areas stood at 55%.

"I note, however, that 30% of water sources are not functioning. This is a high percentage. It means the effective coverage for rural water is less than the officially stated 55%," the envoy said.

But water, lands and environment minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda who witnessed the signing, defended government's figures, saying the 55% was a departure from what it was before the Movement came to power.

"This point on non-functional boreholes is well taken and will be handled" he said. He directed his ministry official to take up the matter.

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