24 January 2010

Uganda: Museveni Foils Inflated Road Deal

Kampala — A total of sh293m was saved after State House foiled a shady road construction contract in Mpigi.

The work on the 7km stretch from the Masaka highway to the shores of Lake Victoria cost sh67m instead of sh360m, President Yoweri Museveni has disclosed.

On Saturday, Museveni commissioned the murram road from Kamengo to Buvumbo landing site.

He said after learning of the first quotation of sh360m, he consulted different engineers and came out with the genuine figure of sh67m.

It was not immediately established if anyone had been penalised.

The President said that road service delivery in the rural areas is bad because contractors inflate labour costs to swindle government resources and deny jobs to local communities.

"I want to thank the people of Kamengo for trapping the thieves. Theft of government resources is one of the reasons why service delivery is bad. With sh360m, instead of creating 20 jobs we would have created only one ," Museveni said.

The President also lashed at the implementers of the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) and said that he is shifting half of its funds to the more productive Hunger Project with fewer resources. He said that NAADS implementers have been very disappointing because they steal the money.

"These people lack integrity," Museveni said. "But wait we will find a cure for it. May be now we will support the Hunger Project instead of the NAADS, that we have insisted so much on," he said.

The President inspected different agricultural projects by individuals and groups in Butambala before launching the Hunger Project at its Ssenge village epicenter in Kalamba Sub-County where he addressed a rally there. The ceremonies were attended by ministers: Geraldine Namirembe Bitamazire (Education &Sports), Ruth Nankabirwa ( Micro Finance), several MPs among others.

An epicenter is a cluster of villages under which the rural community are mobilised for social development. The project has five core programmes designed to ensure sustainable food sufficiency by the locals themselves.

The programmes include adult literacy classes, food production, water and sanitation, health, HIV and Gender inequality training. Illiterate adults attend classes twice a week for two hours to learn how to read and write and acquire skills.

The peasants in the project engage improved methods of farming, food processing and preserving and storage and water harvesting among others. They also have group micro-finance where they borrow money for farming.

Museveni said that the government will provideUS$10m to the Hunger Project. "In this budget, we will give you US$200,000 and the next financial year, we will give you half of the money we have been giving to NAADS," Museveni said.

The Hunger project is an international non-governmental organisation partnering with the government and working with the local people to create food self sufficiency. It has 10 epicenters in several districts in the country which include Wakiso, Mpigi, Kiboga, Iganga, Mbale, Kiruhura and Mbarara.

The president said that there are incessant complaints against NAADS implementers everywhere.

The NAADS project was given US$108m in the first phase of seven years which started around 2001/2002. This year financial year alone, Mpigi District got sh1.8bn with sh117m going to every Sub-County.

"The NAADS people have been shamed by the people who use very little resources to achieve a lot. They (NAADS) are doing nothing with the huge amounts of money they are getting. When you go to inspect, they welcome you with propaganda; we want tarmac and other excuses" he said.

Museveni pledged a Dyna truck to the epicenter for their activities. He also said that the road from the Highway to Ssembabule will be tarmacked. Preliminary work has started. Museveni also lashed at politicians who are pushing him to go. He said he will go at the right time.

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