Highlights of CSOs Concerns with World Bank, 13th Sept. 2016
Left to Right ; Evas Kanyesigye (Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group), Julius Kapwepwe Mishambi (UDN), Arthur Larok( ActionAid Uganda), Cissy Kagaba (Anti Corruption Coalition Uganda) and Sarah Pacutho (NGO Forum) panelists at the UDN Press Conference, 13th September 2016.
The World Bank (WB) has been involved in Uganda’s economic development for about 70 years now, including the initial loan worth US$ 8.4 million for building the Owen falls hydro power dam and bridge on River Nalubaale in Jinja in June 1961. The Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Uganda for sometime have, nonetheless, been concerned about its level of WB portfolio performance and accountability.
As such, a Press Conference on 13th Sept. 2016 and other advocacy initiatives by CSOs (UDN, UNNGO Forum, Action Aid Uganda, Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda, CSBAG, Platform for Labour Action, Oxfam International, Forum for Women in Democracy, SEATINI and AFIEGO) led to an Open Letter the President of the WB in Washington DC. The CSOs called upon the President for WB to more Transparent and publically accountable in its dealing with the Government of Uganda (GOU). This call was extended to GOU, too. More funding agencies, selected Embassies and Contractors will be reached out to, as well.
Citing various cases of human rights abuse under WB supported projects, single-sourcing of Contractors, value for money and low loan performance, the CSOs have called upon the WB;
To re-evaluate all on-going and proposed operations in Uganda with a view to more accountability and transparency in Uganda.
The Bank to use its stature and influence as a development partner for Uganda by ensuring that all development projects whether bilateral or multi-lateral go through competitive bidding processes and exhibit transparency.
Across the many sectors supported by World Bank, the Government of Uganda has taken on the practice of navigating around the national laws by the single sourcing approach which has been adopted for major infrastructure projects. The Bank should ensure a reversal of this trend.
Keep in mind that single sourcing approach in public procurement pauses a greater economic risk for the country and haven for corruption, through inflated project costs, time overruns and attendant mischief. Cases of single sourcing so far include;: Karuma dam worth $ 1.7 billion, Isimba dam worth $560 billion, Kampala-Entebbe Southern Road Express at Ugx 400 billion, and the Standard Gauge Railway at over $4 billion,.
Ensure that projects reflect local content, supplies by local private firms and competitive, to ensure value for money, quality public services, job creation for Ugandan citizens and growth of indigenous private sector in Uganda.
Uganda does not suffer unjustified debt burden.