Fundamental challenges of insecurity and displacement in northern Uganda have now been addressed. Emergency and recovery efforts successfully managed. What remains is for the Peace, Recovery and Development Plan -Phase Two to translate all the existing investments into fully functional facilities to spur development. This is premised on the Cabinet’s approval of PRDP extension for another three years effective July 2012 to June 2015.
While chairing the seventh PRDP Monitoring Committee (PMC) meeting at Hotel Africana, the Rt. Honorable Amama Mbabazi the Prime Minister said that PRDP 2 Guidelines, monitoring and evaluation framework have been finalized. He stressed that implementation will focus on ensuring functionality of all the existing and new investments. ‘We are going to equip health centers, schools and to generally address the capacity gaps in the districts’, the Premier said.
He also noted that for transparency and accountability assurance in PRDP implementation, institutions of the Inspectorate of Government (IGG) and President’s Office have been incorporated to enhance performance and value for money. The incorporation of these institutions addresses one of the Development Partners four main issues of concern regarding the new PRDP 2 framework. The World Bank country Manager for Uganda Mr. Ahmadou Moustapha Ndiaye who represented the Local Development Partner’s Group at the meeting, expressed gratitude that the PRDP 2 document include a program area on accountability and transparency. ‘ The emphasis on Accountability and Transparency as well as the solid Monitoring and Evaluation framework for PRDP 2, are pivotal in mobilizing and ensuring Development Partner support for PRDP2’, Mr. Ndiaye said adding, ‘We will follow up closely on these two efforts, which hopefully will be an example for future work in Uganda and the region’.
Other issues of concern raised by Development Partners included: Establishing a mechanism to track additionality of the PRDP Budget Grant, ensuring functionality of PRDP investments by gaining the full ownership of the sectors for the PRDP investments and designing and implementing a comprehensive Capacity Development Strategy to fully enable Northern Uganda to lead its own development in the years to come. The Government of Uganda hopes that proper implementation of PRDP 2 will enable the North to be integrated in the next National Development Plan by 2015, where all Districts and Sectors will prioritize their activities within the normal Government allocations.
The Prime Minister informed the meeting that Government had already allocated 120 billion in the budget for the financial year 2012/2013 to implement PRDP2. ‘I wish to thank our Development Partners who have committed funds to support PRDP especially Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Ireland through budget support which is the most preferred mode of funding by Government because it is easy to manage’, the Premier observed. He added that PRDP 2 has expanded the program areas from four to eight to include production, environment, District Land Boards and support to Local Administration.
Regarding development in Karamoja region, the Minister in Charge Honorable Janet Museveni informed the seventh PMC meeting that the face of Karamoja was slowly but steadily changing for the better. ‘Only three years ago over 75% of households in Karamoja were dependent on food hand-outs for their existence. Now we have less than 10% who are vulnerable to food insecurity’, Hon. Museveni said.
In partnership with the Ministry of Water and Environment, Hon. Janet Museveni commissioned five parish dams in Nadunget, Loputuk, Rupa, Lopei and Lokopo sub-counties in Moroto and Napak districts. ‘As a follow up, my office has disbursed funds totaling 1.7 billion to the Ministry of Water for construction of 10 additional parish dams in Amudat and Kotido districts’, the Minister noted.
Law and order has returned to Karamoja and armed conflict is no longer a threat in the sub-region. However, Honorable Janet Museveni pointed out that the region continues to register cases of petty theft, small crimes and localized village conflict. ‘In this regard, UPDF and the Uganda Police are planning to reinforce the number of security personnel in the area’, she said.
The Minister for Northern Uganda Reconstruction Hon. Rebecca Otengo Amuge echoed the assurance made by the Prime Minister on monitoring and accountability. ‘This area will be handled. We shall not only talk about accountability but also demonstrate that funds are fully accounted for’, she said.
She however noted with concern about the practice by some NGO’s who get funds from Development partners to implement work in Northern Uganda and yet they don’t share this information with the Office of the Prime Minister. ‘There have been cases of duplication of services and also some NGO’s fighting over activity implementation’, the Minister observed.
The Minister called for the establishment of E-Learning to facilitate twinning of schools in Northern Uganda with other better performing schools within Uganda and abroad.
The Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister Pius Bigirimana out lined key outputs achieved to date under the PRDP Grant in the following sectors; Education, Water, Health, Works, Transport, Police, Prisons and the Amnesty Commission. He also made key observations in the PRDP grant implementation and they included the following; Procurement delays, Inadequate critical technical staff, Low capacity of local contractors, Over costing and over-rolling of projects, Unreported work by Development partners, Wrong or even no labels for PRDP Investments, No community involvement in PRDP planning and Monitoring data as at end of 3rd Quarter shows districts on track and those lagging behind.
Mr. Bigirimana thanked Government for the unwavering support to recovery efforts in Northern Uganda through PRDP. He also thanked the districts, MDA’s and Development Partners for their input in the process of developing PRDP 2. He pledged to work tirelessly to ensure that the next three years bring more glory to Northern Uganda.