Kampala — The Inspectorate of Government (IGG) and 10 Civil Society Organisations (CSO) have partnered to ensure $200m (Shs740b) World Bank loan for projects in refugee-hosting districts is not stolen.
The Office of the Prime Minister is charged with the implementation of the Development Response to Displacement Impact Project (DRDIP) for which World Bank loan was acquired.
For a year now, the OPM using the first disbursement of Shs185.2b ($50m), has been implementing the project in refugee hosting districts of Koboko, Kitgum, Lamwo, Moyo, Arua, Yumbe, Adjumani, Hoima, Kiryandongo, Kyegegwa, Kamwenge and Isingiro.
The balance of Shs555.6b ($150m) will be released by the bank when Parliament approves the additional loan since the initial one was only Shs185.2b ($50m). The project will run for five years until 2021.
The CSOs that signed with the IGG are Koboko Civil Society Organisation, Kitgum NGO Forum, Moyo District NGO Forum, Community Development Network (Yumbe), Arua NGO Forum, Adjumani NGO Forum, Recreation for Development and Peace, Western Ankole Civil Society Forum, Karambi Action for Life Improvement, and Kabarole Research and Resource Centre.
Uganda is hosting more than one million refugees running away from conflicts in neighbouring countries of South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Somalia and those that remained behind after the 1994 Rwanda genocide. But refugee funds have had a lot of implementation challenges.
Speaking at the signing ceremony in Kampala, the IGG's director for project monitoring, Mr James Onying Penywii, said the project has been designed to simultaneously benefit both the refugees and the host communities.
"DRDIP funds are going to be used to construct roads, school blocks or renovate existing ones because the project is designed to benefit both the refugees and their hosting communities. So, we need you the CSOs to tightly work with us to fight corruption in this project," Mr Penywii said.
Mr Penywii said the IGG was tasked to tightly monitor the spending of the DRDIP funds after it successfully implemented the Community Responsibility to Enhance Transparency and Accountability (CRETA), an intervention project during the Second Northern Uganda Social Action Fund.
Presiding over the signing ceremony in Kampala, the secretary to Inspectorate of Government, Ms Rose Kafeero, asked the CSOs to be accountable with the funds that will be disbursed to them if they are to effectively detect, prevent and fight corruption in DRDIP.
"As CSOs, use the little funds we are going to disburse to you for the purposes described in this memorandum of understanding because accountability starts with you. We need to have smooth collaboration in implementing the project by using the funds for the right purpose," Ms Kafeero said.
The CSOs' representatives at the signing ceremony promised to identify and train competent monitors who will document all sorts of suspected fraud so that reports are sent to the IGG for further management.