Address loan acquisition delays, experts tell Parliament

Former NSSF MD, Richard Byarugaba (L) appearing before the committee investigating the fund

Former NSSF MD, Richard Byarugaba (L) appearing before the committee investigating the fund (PHOTO/Courtesy).

Experts in the water and sanitation sector have called on Parliament to enact legislation that will address the lengthy process of obtaining government loans.

The Experts are concerned that the process of obtaining loans is length and as a result, considerable time for project implementation is wasted.

“There is one of the projects of the World Bank which was approved in June 2018 for a period of six years, but its implementation began in June 2019 and as such one year of implementation was lost,” said Alexander Danilenko, a Senior Water and Sanitation specialist at the World Bank.

Danilenko said that the country’s ability to utilize loans timely attracts more funders and urged legislators to consider legislating on the entire process of obtaining loans in government.

Danilenko said this in a meeting with  the Parliamentary Forum on Water and Sanitation. The meeting was attended by representatives from the Ministries of Water and Environment, Justice and Constitutional Affairs and Finance, Planning and Economic Development.

The meeting took place on Thursday, 09 February 2023 and was aimed at increasing funding to the water and environment sector.

Dr. Callist Tindimugaya, Commissioner for Water Resources, Planning and Regulation at the Ministry of Water and Environment said there were so many bottle necks in obtaining loans that should be dealt with.
“If you are not resilient, you cannot obtain a World Bank loan. The steps to follow at proposal writing and approval are enormous and if you have no knowledge of World Bank procurement, you cannot proceed,” he said.

Tindimugaya said that unlike other countries, the project preparation phase is not funded in Uganda and that it is partly the cause of delays.

He decried the decline in grants to the sector expressing worry that reliance on loans has already mounted pressure on the economy.

“Traditionally, we had over 90 per cent of external funding to the sector from grants but some of our donors have moved away because some of those countries are also challenged economically,” said Tindimugaya.

He asked MPs to correct what he referred to as an error by the Finance Ministry in scrapping off budget for non-infrastructure projects.

The Forum Chairperson, Hon. Silas Aogon said Parliament is in position to amend the laws related to borrowing.

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