Uganda: Britain Cuts Aid

21 December 2005

Kampala — The UK is to reduce budget support to Uganda by £15m (about sh47b) and use the money to provide humanitarian relief in northern Uganda, Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for International Development, told the House of Commons yesterday.

In addition, a further £5m (about sh16b) will be withheld until after the elections in February, when a decision will be made on whether to disburse it.

"The immediate effect is to reduce budget support by £20m from a planned £50m.

The decision comes after an economic and governance assessment raised concerns over, the government's commitment to the independence of the judiciary, freedom of the press and freedom of association following the events surrounding the arrest and trial of the leader of the Forum for Democratic Change," a statement from the British High Commission in Uganda said.

It added that other concerns were, "Delays in the government's own road map for the political transition, the continuation of state financing for the Movement system in a new era of multiparty politics, and a significant overrun on public administration expenditure."

Other donors are withholding their budget support this year. Norway and Ireland have both reduced their budget support by about £2m.

The Dutch cut nearly £5m of their budget aid in November. Sweden recently announced a budget support cut of nearly £2m and is withholding a further £5m.

"The cut of £15m will be reallocated to help the UN provide humanitarian relief, including food and health care, for people who have had to leave their homes as a result of the conflict in northern Uganda," Hilary Benn said in the statement.

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