The Committee on National Economy Committee which is monitoring the performance of a US$150 million World Bank loan under the Agricultural Cluster Development Project (ACDP) have discovered that Kabarole District has not received funding for most of its investment projects.
Legislators doubtful of the intention of the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries in delayed disbursement, were shocked to find out that whereas in other districts the project has had visible out puts such as roads and ware houses, in Kabarole the project is simply starting with limited funding.
“The money for roads was earmarked but it was not provided to the district; the only warehouse under the project is incomplete,” said Maurice Kibalya
The committee also learnt that youth farmer groups which were earmarked to benefit from the project have not had their projects take off due to delayed release of funds.
The Resident District Commissioner, Sarah Julian Ayesiga told MPs that, ‘most youth groups are making noise to us; they are wondering why they are being left out again, because what was promised to them has not materialized’.
Kyamuswa County MP, Hon. Moses Kabuusu called on the Agriculture ministry to expeditiously operationalise the youth farmer groups which he said will be useful to bridge the wide youth unemployment gap.
“The money promised to youth farmer groups should be paid out. Youth are the biggest population and if put to good use, they will help close the appalling unemployment gaps,” said Kabuusu.
Kimaanya-Kabonera MP, Hon. Abed Bwanika said he was uncomfortable with unfairness in project distribution when comparing Kabarole to other districts the committee had visited.
“I am not comfortable with the number of projects per district; you go to a district like Bushenyi and they have 18 projects, then come to Kabarole there are four. We do not see equity in terms of project distribution,” said Bwanika.
The Kabarole District Chairperson, Richard Rwabuhinga said the project’s delay has negatively impacted on his administration’s image.
“We think that roads partly contributed to the failure of district chairpersons in the previous elections; we went out, promised roads and even made people consent and select places where they need those roads. The project promised to work on 90kms but up to now they have not even worked on a single road,” said Rwabuhinga.
He was equally displeased that even when the project is supporting only four farmer organizations, only two have been provided funds to start operations adding that the two operational groups have not been availed with the processing machinery.
The committee is on an oversight visit in selected districts of Western Uganda implementing the ACDP Project. The committee has so far visited Mpigi, Kalungu, Bushenyi and Kabarole districts.