Finance Committee Blocks Allocation of UGX 9BN to Banana Project

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In short
The committee notes that despite receiving huge sums of money to the tune of 76 billion shilling since the 2005/2006 financial year, the proposed establishment of a state of the art community based banana processing plant in Bushenyi is far from becoming a reality.

Parliament has adopted a recommendation from the Finance Committee to block the allocation of 9 billion shillings to the Presidential Initiative on Banana and Industrial Development-PIBID. According to the 2014/2015 financial year budget estimate, the finance, planning and economic development ministry is seeking 9 billion shillings for the Presidential Initiative on Banana and Industrial Development-PIBID. However, in its report, the finance committee chaired by Robert Kasule Ssebunya, which scrutinized the policy statement, recommends that the money be reallocated to other priority areas, and that any additional funding to PIBID be subjected to the resolution of ownership, governance and accountability. 

The committee notes that despite receiving huge sums of money to the tune of 76 billion shilling since the 2005/2006 financial year, the proposed establishment of  a state of the art community based banana processing plant in Bushenyi is far from becoming a reality.The committee also notes that,   to date PIBID continues operating without a strategic plan, which makes it difficult to define the scope of the project; investment projection and time- line for implementation of the plant to a commercial production venture. 

Kasule also told parliament, that land which hosts the plant is registered in the names of a individual who also has the patent rights, which gives rise to the question of ownership and Governance despite 100% funding by the tax payers. He also noted that, PIBID is also faced with audit queries both in financial and Value for Money Audits from the Office of the Auditor General. Kasule said the in 2012/2013 financial year, thePIBID executive Director told his committee that she was only answerable to President Yoweri Museveni, adding that, they are constrained to recommend the approval of 9 billion shillings for the project.

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He also said the project has problems of absorbing funds as only 8.5 out of the 16.8 billion shillings that was allocated in the last financial year had been consumed by March 2014. Among its recommendations, the committee wants an expeditious change of ownership of the project, and development of strategic plan for the project. In the same vein, the Committee also recommends the scrapping of the Competitive and Investment Climate Secretariat and its activities mainstreamed under the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) to avoid duplication and misallocation of resources.

The committee recommends that 400 million shillings that had been budgeted for the Competitiveness and Enterprise Development Project (CEDP) be re-allocated to other priority interventions.

The Committee observed that the planned outputs of Competitiveness and Investment Climate Secretariat (CICS) in form of Business Environment, Productive Clusters, Firm level capabilities and Building competitiveness are similar to those of Uganda Investment Authority or   Ministry of   Trade and Tourism.

 

About the author

Olive Nakatudde
Olive Nakatudde is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Nakatudde has been a URN staff member since 2013.

Nakatudde started out in journalism in 2009 with Dembe FM radio in Kampala. In 2012, Nakatudde joined Voice of Africa as a political reporter. She has been a photographer since her journalism school days at Makerere University.

Nakatudde is interested in good governance and public policy, which she reports on intensively from the Uganda Parliament. She is a keen follower of cultural affairs in Buganda Kingdom and covers the kingdom's Lukiiko (parliament). Nakatudde also reports on education and health.