New Vision (Kampala)

Uganda: Nusaf II On Track - World Bank

The World Bank Mission currently in Uganda is optimistic that the Northern Uganda Social Action Fund II (NUSAFII) is being effectively implemented.

The Bank has described this trend as a positive move towards transformation of Northern Uganda and the economy in general.

The team led by Sulaiman Namara, the Senior Social Protection Task Manager at World Bank Country Office made the remarks during a meeting with the Permanent Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister yesterday.

The NUSAF and Peace Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP) project is supervised by the Office of the Prime Minister.

The mission observed that despite the project "just" two years and a half of its implementation it had registered tremendous achievements in almost all the components.

Lyne D. Sherburne, the World Bank Sector Manager for Social Protection for Africa noted that the World Bank remains optimistic that NUSAF II will not disappoint.

The World Bank agreed to inject $100m (Shs240b) into the second phase of NUSAF II as part of PRDP. The money, which is part of the $325 million social development initiative toward Uganda's economy, comes after the first phase of the NUSAFI project that was dogged by corruption, among other things.

"It is gratifying to note that NUSAF implementation is fully on course with fund withdrawals so far amounting to $53.9million (50.9%) of the total five year credit," she noted.

Sherburne Benz supervises all World Bank social protection projects and analytical work in Sub-Saharan Africa. Benz promised WBs continued commitment to supporting Uganda's economy.

Pius Bigirimana the Permanent Secretary Office of the Prime Minister said the project had so far approved a total of Shs117.3b for sub projects in the districts and communities.

'The total number of sub projects under implementation to date are over 6,000 which is 111.8 percent of the two and a half year target and 67.1 percent of the five year target," said Bigirimana.

He told the WB team that the infrastructure projects had continued to increase since the last mission with staff houses rising from 440 units for teachers to 1402 and 108 for health workers to 704 bringing a total of 2,106 units in just one year.

He noted that the roll out of the implementation of NUSAF 2 in Karamoja had commenced with the approval of 72 infrastructural sub projects worth $7.9 million.

"NUSAF I failed due to corruption, but this will not happen where I am, there is no joke this time, and that explains why we have achieved so much in just two and half years," said Bigirimana.

He was optimistic that the Geographical Information System (GIS) which his office is putting in place will help stakeholders to follow up the project implementation. He displayed to the team the trial GIS maps that had projects already plotted in Lango and Teso.

Bigirimana pointed out that there has been no evidence of systemic corruption registered because the districts were boosted by recruitment and deployment of 55 engineering assistants who have strengthened supervision, technical monitoring and ensuring value for money for all infrastructural investments.

"The engineers will continue to be supported by a diligent technical support team from the Office of the Prime Minister.

"What we have experienced as challenges are the delays in the implementation in some districts and the slow pace of accountability which is being addressed through Rapid Result Initiative and strengthening the use of financial tracker that is now installed in most districts," he explained.

He also highlighted the inadequate manpower in the form of extension staff as another bottleneck to the effective implementation of the project.

He emphasized that NUSAF II was part of the Peace, Recovery and Development Plan for Northern Uganda (PRDP) which was officially launched by President Museveni in October 2007 but gained full scale implementation in 2009.

The PRDP is a commitment by the GOU to stabilise and recover Northern Uganda in the next three years through a set of coherent programmes in one organised framework. In the last three years, PRDP has generally been successful.

The $325 million agreements for the NUSAF II will encampus Universal Post Primary Education and Training Programme (UPPET) as well as the second Energy for Rural Transformation (ERT 11).

In attendance was Dr. Limlim, Director, NUSAFII who is coordinating the Mission.

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