Category: Sectoral Performance

Headline: Govt to borrow Shs 297b for Irrigation.

Cabinet sat on Monday June 25, 2018 at State House Entebbe under the Chairmanship of H.E the President and;
Approved the proposal to borrow USD 76.95Million from the African Development Bank (ADB) to support the Agricultural Value Chain Development Program (AVCP)This program will focus on:


Provision of water for irrigation at two levels: for rice farmers in Eastern Uganda through construction of a big irrigation scheme; and small scale irrigation for upland rice farmers in Northern Uganda;

Addressing value chain constraints for maize, rice and dairy/beef farmers in 28 districts;

Increasing volumes of high value grades of maize and rice in order to obtain premium prices in the Domestic and Regional markets; and

Providing logistical support to dairy regulatory activities countrywide and supporting the construction and equipping of an internationally accredited laboratory at the Uganda National Bureau of Standards, for Ugandan exports.

Approved the National Curriculum Development Centre (Amendment) Bill, 2017. The amendment is intended to:

Broaden the ex-officio membership of the Governing Council of the Centre to include more stakeholders on the Council and remove non existing Institutions and titles such as; the National Institute of Education, the East African Academy and the National Federation of Uganda Employees which are defunct, and include new Institutions and titles;

Remove limitations over eligibility of appointment of Chairperson of the Council; and

Harmonize the budgeting cycle of the Centre with that of Government (from Calendar Year to Financial Year) since Government is the statutory source of funds.

Approved the Local Content Policy for the Oil and Gas Industry in Uganda. The Policy has the following objectives:

To build capacity of Uganda’s Human Resources in the Oil and Gas Industry;

To promote employment of Ugandans in the Oil and Gas Industry;

To enhance the competitiveness of Ugandan Enterprises as suppliers and Joint Venture Partners;

To increase the use of domestically produced or available goods and services by the Oil and Gas Industry; and

To promote the in-country Research and Development (R&D) and Technology transfer to Ugandans.

Noted that the Ministry of Health will launch and initiate the National Physical Activity Day on Sunday 8th July, 2018 at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds under the theme “my health is my responsibility”. The objectives of the National Physical Day are:

To strengthen efforts in the prevention of Non-Communicable Diseases;

To take timely action on promotion of physical activity in order to keep the population of Uganda healthy and fit;

To encourage the population to adopt physical activity as a routine in their lifestyles in order to prevent Non- Communicable Diseases; and

To equip members of the public with more information about the importance of physical activities in Non-Communicable Diseases prevention and control.

The following services will be provided during the National Physical Activity Day;

Health Education Talks by the experts in the area of Non-Communicable Diseases.

Screening of major Non-Communicable Diseases and their risk factors including blood pressure, blood sugar, blood cholesterol and cancer among others.

Health advice prior to engaging in physical activities and the recommended measures.

Ofwono Opondo
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, UGANDA MEDIA CENTRE

KENYA IS RISING; President Kenyatta to host Presidents Museveni and Kagame

President Kenyatta to host Presidents Museveni and Kagame for the 14th Summit of the Northern Corridor Integration Projects (NCIP)

President Uhuru Kenyatta will today, Tuesday 26th June 2018, host President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and President Paul Kagame of Rwanda as well as a Special Envoy of President Salva Kiir of South Sudan for the 14th Summit of the Northern Corridor Integration Projects (NCIP) at Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya.

The NCIP is a multilateral development initiative established in 2013 and is aimed at speeding up development in the region particularly the improvement of infrastructure for ease of movement of people, goods and services in the region.

During the Nairobi meeting, the leaders are expected to review the progress made in the implementation of the various resolutions reached at during the 13th Summit held in Kampala, Uganda on 23rdApril 2016.

Among the key projects expected to feature prominently during the meeting is the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) where significant progress has been made with Kenya having successfully completed the Mombasa-Nairobi line and embarked on the Nairobi-Naivasha section which is now at 50 percent completion.

A commercial contract for the Naivasha-Kisumu-Malaba sections and a modern port at Kisumu has already been signed with the China Communication Construction Company (CCCC).

On its part, Uganda signed a commercial contract with China Harbor Engineering Company (CHEC) in March 2015 and recently completed the project appraisal exercise which was held parallel to the ongoing negotiations of financing which are expected to be finalized by September this year.

In Rwanda, preliminary engineering design of the new SGR line from Kampala to Kigali was completed in January 2018 while in South Sudan, preparation for a bankable feasibility study for the Nimule-Juba SGR line is on-going and is expected to be complete by December this year. Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) Contract for the line has been signed and the process for obtaining a commercial loan from China EXIM Bank is in its early stages.

Apart from the SGR, the Heads of State and the Special Envoy will be briefed on the progress being made in ICT and will be keen on the status of the One Network Area (ONA) for voice which is fully operational in all the partner states, while ONA for data is operational in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.

Also expected to feature in the deliberations will be the progress of the oil refinery. Uganda signed a Project Framework Agreement (PFA) in April 2018 with the Albertine Graben Refinery Consortium to design, develop, finance and operate a refinery in Hoima. It is expected that a final investment decision (FID) will be made by May 2019. The Land for the refinery has already been acquired. Kenya has been requested to indicate the entity that will hold its 2.5 percent shareholding in the refinery.

Further, the leaders will assess and provide leadership on the progress being made in power generation, transmission and interconnectivity, a function that is being coordinated by Kenya.

So far, partner states have made tremendous progress in implementing their respective 220kV power transmission lines. Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya completed and commissioned their lines apart from the Bujagali-Tororo transmission line in Uganda, which is at 85% completion. In addition, partner states are working on a feasibility study on the standardization of 400kV lines, while ensuring full implementation of 220kV transmission lines.

Going forward, the four East African countries are actively stringing together power exchange agreements which are expected to be ready by end of this year and work towards a fully-fledged need based power trade in the region.

Other agenda items expected to feature prominently during the summit include the crude oil pipeline project, the commodities exchange, human resource capacity building and land.

The leaders will also review progress made in immigration, tourism, trade, labour and services; single customs territory; mutual defence cooperation.

Why I dropped chalk for life in the wild

As a fine art teacher, nature has always been the best source of inspiration for different forms of art like landscape for painting. Birds, animals and plants for mosaics and printing.
In the same case, most materials and tools used in making articles are got from nature. All this kept my love for nature growing every time.

The cord that connected my passion for nature with the wildlife is my longtime friend who was already a senior birder, Crammy Wanyama, the director Avian Safaris. Wanyama brought out the wild in me by proving me with all the required guidance, tools and trainings for over two years. I would always describe him as a true mentor and a best friend ever. Although I continued teaching, I would utilise each available time and space including weekends for birding excursions, visiting different game parks for mammals and other wild life with my associate Akankwasa Frank, up to when I would take my first trip with Nature Trails East Africa (http://www.eastafricantrails.com ).
Unique bird species

Birding has defined my life. I realised that Uganda is arguably the most attractive country in Africa to bird watchers, not only because of the unusually high number of species recorded within its borders, but also because it offers easy access to several bird-rich habitats that are difficult to reach elsewhere. Uganda has got the most remarkable avian diversity (1,078 species) with a recent sighting of Dickinson’s Kestrel making the list of 1,079 species recorded. One striking aspect about Uganda’s transitional location is the fact that only one bird is endemic to the country, the Fox’s Weaver. If you are to consider only East Africa then 150 bird species are found only in Uganda. This list includes 7 out of 21 Hornbill species recorded in the region, 5 out of 14 Honeyguides, 8 Sunbirds, 7 out of 21 Woodpeckers, 11 out of 36 Bulbuls and Greenbuls, 5 out of 20 Bush shrikes, 13 thrush family, 11 Warbers, 10 flycatchers, 8 weavers, 13 finches, 4 Tinkerbirds, 4 pigeons or Doves and 3 Kingfishers, 3 sparrowhaks, 3 Cuckoos and 3 Nightjars.
The rainforests of Western Uganda must be seen as the country’s most birding habitat owing to its altitude. The Albertine Graben hosts some endemic species, and this particular area is of great interest to bird watchers. All the 24 of the Albertine rift endemic species recorded in Uganda occur in Bwindi National park including the highly sought African green broadbill, Dwarf honeyguide, Purpe-breasted sunbird, Blue-headed Sunbird Red-faced woodland warbler to mention but a few. Others present elsewhere can be found in Mgahinga forest, Echuya forest, Mountain Rwenzori and Kibale forest all in the western region.

However, if you want to see a wide range of Uganda birds, you can be taken around Entebbe (water and forest birds), Lake Mburo (water and acacia-associated birds), Queen Elizabeth (a wide variety of habitats; over 600 species recorded), Murchison Falls (a wide variety of habitats) Mabamba bay (the best place in East Africa to see the papyrus-associated Shoebill) and Kidepo (nothern semi-desert specials; over 50 raptors recorded).
Uganda’s appeal as a birding destination has been enhanced in recent years by improving avian knowledge and general guiding practices. On that part I appreciate the tireless efforts of Mr Byaruhanga Herbert for his trainings and fruitful excursions that he always organizes through Uganda Safari Guides Association (USAGA), he has produced most of Uganda’s bird guides, and I am proud being part of them.
Although teaching has facilitated my dream of becoming a national general tour guide/ driver guide, it’s now high time to put the chalk aside and avail myself for more trips to the wild.
For birding, wild life, primate tracking and city tour, you can get me through Avian Safaris (https://aviansafaris.com)or on my email; nzetonny2015@gmail.com.

OIL: Uganda is now in the most crucial phase

By Stephen Bwire
What is going to happen to Uganda between now and 2020 is extremely important, and needs to be done well. Between now and the time when oil gets out of the ground, it is expected that $20b will be invested in this country. The GDP of this country is $27b. We are, therefore, talking about a country that has the potential to have almost all its GDP invested in it in four years.

Uganda is now in the development phase of the oil and gas industry which will be characterised by heavy construction activities, and this will require the supply of goods and services including steel and metal products, cement, gravel, labour, food, health services, insurance and many others to the major companies that have begun the process of putting in place essential infrastructure to be used in the production phase of oil.

According to experts in the industry, the next four to five years will be the busiest periods in the estimated 30-year lifespan of the long-awaited oil production process for Uganda because this is when companies will be building the most critical infrastructure.

The infrastructure such as roads, camps, pipeline networks including the major 1,444km-long oil export pipeline from Hoima to the Tanzania port of Tanga, are to be built over the coming four years as the country prepares to start producing the oil. Energy minister Irene Muloni told journalists recently during the launch of a major study to determine the design and cost estimates of the production system for two oil blocks, that the government and other private players are targeting to start producing the oil by the year 2020.

What’s needed?

The government and oil companies agreed to compile an ANNUAL REGISTER of suppliers from within Uganda as well as from around the world to whom the oil companies will send requests to supply goods and services they may need.

And late last year, the newly created Petroleum Authority issued a call to all entities willing to participate in the provision of goods and service to join the register so that they can be considered for contracts by the oil companies.

The Petroleum Authority is keeping the register and interested parties were advised to complete forms that can be obtained from the website of the Directorate of Petroleum www.petroleum.go.ug with the following link, petroleum.go.ug/resources/pau_forms.

The importance of this process was underlined by Dr. Ben Mugasha, Chairman Bemuga group which is one of the local companies that are positioning themselves to provide services to the Oil companies. Dr. Mugasha says: “It’s high time Ugandans became serious and register their companies to ensure they are able to target these opportunities that are coming. It’s very clear oil is in Uganda but everyone should ask themselves what have they done to take advantage of the process.”

He also stressed the fact that more opportunities especially for majority of Ugandans exist not in directly getting employed by the oil companies but rather as suppliers of a diverse range of quality goods and services to the different companies that will have won contracts to do the work.

“Ugandans should not put a lot of hope in ‘oil money’ [referring to government’s revenue share of the oil proceeds] but think of delivering food to these companies,” said Mugasha.

Mugasha added: “It’s high time political leaders sensitised their people and see how to benefit from there opportunities. Ugandan companies should come out and not let Kenyans take these chances away from us.”

Minister Muloni also underlined the scale of the work as well as the business opportunities lying ahead by estimating that it could cost about $8billion. Uganda’s entire annual budget is about $8 billion.

In 2014, the three major oil companies Tullow, Total and CNOOC that prefer to move under the banner of Joint Venture partners, and a team of officials from government conducted a baseline survey of the needs of companies that will be involved in the oil development and production phase.

Getting employment is one of the biggest anticipated benefits from the oil sector. And results of the survey revealed that between 100,000 and 150,000 jobs will be created, majority of which will be indirect or induced jobs such as working on farms or in factories that will supply things like iron bars or chicken to feed the directly employed workers.

Warning not heeded

Whereas the survey highlighted the need for government to put in place a certification or accreditation process especially for the semi-skilled workers, little or nothing has been done to ensure the semi-skilled Juakali workers obtain some certification papers which they can use to apply for jobs.

As the survey revealed back in 2014: “Workers and engineers need to be certified in several disciplines i.e they need to receive an accreditation allowing them to work on an oilfield site.”

In the absence of certification process for the technicians, drivers, engineers, civil craftsmen, machine operators, the recruitment companies will likely be left with no option but import foreign workers from countries such as India, Philippines who have experience working in oil-related operations.

Crucial step on designs and costs commence

The launch of the Front End Engineering Design (FEED) studies at Sheraton Hotel in Kampala recently was hailed as a monumental step towards Uganda’s journey to realise oil.

Energy Minister Irene Muloni said: “This is a milestone in our journey for oil production in Uganda where everyone now is focusing. This FEED will lead to the project execution and construction phase for the upstream facilities required to produce Uganda’s first oil targeted by the end of 2020 which is our mail goal. Several facilities will be constructed such as pipeline to transport oil from Kabale to Tanga, over 11 key roads are to be built as well as two bridges.”

The FEED studies will be carried out by three companies with the aim of determining the technical design of the oil infrastructure, such as pipelines, power infrastructure, as well as the cost of the work before the oil companies can determine whether or not they will fund the exercise.

Two of the three companies that are participating in the FEED study will eventually be awarded the contracts to lay the infrastructure with each company taking charge of its own exploration area. The study is expected to be completed in six months, after which the Joint Venture partners will announce their Final Investment Decision (FID) before end of the 2017. The FID is a major step when an oil investor reveals whether or not he will fund the operation.

The three companies that were chosen to conduct the studies are Fluor from France partnering with China Petroleum Engineering and Construction Company (CPECC) from China, Technip from France and Chicago Bridge & Iron Company (CB&I) based in the USA.

Total General Manager Adewale Fayemi said during the signing ceremony at Sheraton that: “The three companies are to work professionally and competitively because only two best companies will be invited for to compete for Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC).

The FEED studies will provide the necessary information to fine-tune the cost estimate of the project, identify the specific technical expertise, skills and equipment needed for construction. The performance of these three companies will be critically vetted and analysed by the Joint venture partners.”

What you need to know about oil jobs

Initial estimates indicate that some 13,000 high-paying direct jobs will be created in the coming four years as companies build the infrastructure ahead of first oil expected in 2020.

Experts in the field however warn that the oil sector is a not a mass employer. Indeed, apart from a couple of thousands of jobs that are likely to come during the peak period of construction, expected to take place in the coming five years, the production period creates very few jobs and mostly in the technical fields such as engineering to support oil production, pipeline maintenance and probably in the refinery, if Uganda succeeds in building one.

That notwithstanding, the anticipated 13,000 direct jobs that are expected to be created and an additional 130,000 indirect or induced jobs that will be generated in peripheral supporting industries such as farming, transportation, logistics, legal services, insurance cannot be ignored.

In fact the government emphasised employment creation as key aspect of the National Oil and Gas Policy which outlines Uganda’s vision as an oil producing nation.

Certification essential

Gloria Kagoye of Q-Sourcing one of the certifying agencies

But a 2014 report of the Industrial Baseline Survey (IBS) that was carried out by Oil companies in collaboration with the private sector, revealed serious man power gaps including those for vocations such as drivers, craftsmen and welders.

Executives from the Joint Venture Partner companies Tullow, Total and CNOOC called for certification of Ugandan workers (for about 5,500 jobs) so as to meet the high standards of the oil and gas sector.

Three years since the study was concluded, little has been done by both the government and Ugandans to build the required labour needs of the industry.

Tony Okao-Otoa, Total’s Coordinator for Corporate Affairs, reveals that the man power gaps still exist.

Okao-Otoa says: “There are serious manpower gaps in this country. But the project will have to go ahead,” an implication that the contracting companies may have to rely on foreign workers to be able to meet their manpower targets.

Whereas government has taken some steps to train Ugandans in technical fields at different institutions such as the Uganda Petroleum Institute Kigumba (UPIK), Makerere, Kyambogo and Busitema, as well as in Trinidad and Tobago, many of the graduates still do not meet standards of the oil and gas sector.

According to Patrick Mbonye, the Managing Director of Q-Sourcing, one of the reputable companies that hire workers for the Oil and Gas industry, the major challenge faced by majority of Ugandan professionals is their lack of certification for their qualifications.

Mbonye however decries what he termed as negative attitudes by some Ugandans to attain the high standard requirements for jobs in the oil sector including certification.

“There is a group of people in Katwe who we are currently working with. They received a grant of $2,000 from donors to study Codded welding and were required to pay an additional $400 but they are reluctant to top up the money,” remarked Mbonye.

“And sadly, this is the attitude of many of our youth,” adds Mbonye. His views were shared by Veronica Namwanje, the Deputy Executive Director of the Uganda Small Scale industries Association (USSIA).

She said: “We have always urged our members on lifting their levels of skills from just welding windows and burglar shutters to heavy duty metal works but they are reluctant.”

Talent register

While the IBS study called for the establishment of a National Talent register, its development is taking longer than anticipated, considering that major construction works are scheduled to start early next year.

According to Dr. Earnest Rubondo, the Executive Director of the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU), the National Talent register is being developed by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC). Recruiting firms will only be allowed to bring foreign workers if they fail to find the necessary qualified personnel in the register.

Accreditation

A number of trained oil professionals are facing difficulties in getting accredited to work in the oil industry.

And yet getting the accreditation from internationally recognised institutions such as City and Guilds or the Offshore Petroleum Industry Training Organisations does not take years or first-class school.

For example, vocational schools as humble as St. Stevens Vocational Training centre in Hoima, have managed to train and organise City and Guilds certification for their students. Ninety (90) graduates of St. Stevens have attained certain levels of City and Guilds certification and 200 more are expected to achieve the same, according to energy ministry officials.

In Uganda, Q-sourcing conducts competence tests for a number of internationally recognised accreditation agencies like City and Guilds, the Offshore Petroleum Industry Training Organisations (OPITO), the American Welding Society, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, South Africa’s National Occupational Health and Safety Consultants for Health and Safety certification of individuals and companies.

And Mbonye, points out that for those interested in securing the technical jobs, it is still not too late.

“It requires some money to train to the level required by the oil and gas sector. But once one has attained the qualification, the opportunities are boundless,” said Mbonye, who noted that some young people who were given internationally accredited certifications and were laid off by oil companies when activity slowed down, almost all managed to get jobs at Karuma hydro-power dam currently under construction.

Oil revenue governance the key

Experts in the industry argue that only smart investment of a country’s oil revenues can guarantee meaningful and lasting employment creation as opposed to focusing on the direct and largely short term jobs in the oil and gas sector.

Dr. Paul Bagabo, a consultant with the Natural Resources Governance Institute notes that: “Countries that push for industrial participation (such as supporting national companies to participate in bidding processes), benefit more than those that insist on employment.”

But Bagabo goes a step further to argue that ultimately, greater benefit to the economy is derived from meaningful investment of oil revenues to sectors that support majority of the population.

“Durable jobs are created not by the oil sector but rather when the whole economy is productive, when the oil revenues are invested wisely in sectors that support majority of the population,” argues Ramathan Ggoobi, an Economics lecturer from Makerere University Business School.

Fear of mismanagement

Initial estimates indicate that at current prices, total revenues from sale of oil, taxes and royalties will bring into national coffers over US$ 1 billion on average per year.

This represents a substantial infusion of cash into Uganda’s budget of about US$8 (2016/17).

But evidence across most of Africa’s oil-producing countries reveals that such lump sum inflows of cash from oil and other minerals has been mismanaged by serving governments leaving behind a trail of economic collapse, environmental destruction, yawning income inequalities, food shortages and political instability.

In fact, one or a combination of those ills have affected all the top oil producing countries in Africa in the recent few years i.e Nigeria, Angola, Egypt, Algeria and Libya.

In Uganda, the latest revelations of alleged misuse of oil revenues, even before the country starts to sell the commodity has raised fears that Uganda may not escape the oil curse or economic and political turmoil that has befallen other African countries.

The allegations of misuse of oil revenues, in what has been baptised as the Presidential Handshake bonuses in which government awarded Ushs6billion to 42 mostly senior public servants, and is being investigated by Parliament, has left many truly worried about the future when more money begins to flow from oil sales and taxation.

The concern of many Ugandans is compounded by the fact that the bonuses were awarded in contravention of Uganda’s laws, ethical principles as well as international best practices to which Uganda claims to adhere.

The Inspector General of Government Irene Mulyagonja testified in Parliament recently that the award of bonuses was illegal. Most importantly, perhaps, Mulyagonja remarked that the scandal consumed nearly all the people who are mandated to advise government on matters of law.

If Uganda does not change course to pursue disciplined management of the oil resource, it is evident, not only will jobs be imperiled, but so will be other aspects of life for millions of Ugandans present and in the future.

Energy minister Irene Muloni toasts to the launch of the FEED study this week with the executives from the Oil Sector. Right is Total’s GM Adewale Fayemi

Dr. Earnest Rubondo, the Executive Director of the Petroleum Authority of Uganda.

Credit: This report was reproduced with material syndicated from www.sunrise.ug Editor.

NRM registers 38% success, water coverage is 78%

Mr Willis Bashaasha,director Manifesto Implementation Unit. The National Resistance Movement (NRM) party has said it is ahead of its manifesto target in provision of clean and safe water to Ugandans, barely half-way its current five-year mandate.
Mr Willis Bashaasha, the director of the Manifesto Implementation Unit in the Office of the President, said water supply currently stands at 78 per cent in rural areas and 72 per cent in urban areas, close to the 100 per cent coverage expected by 2020.
“I would give the water sector as the best performing …the National Water and Sewerage Corporation [NWSC] is doing a good job. It has a programme called Service Coverage Acceleration Programme (SCAP 100), which is intended to add an extra 12,000 households to the national urban grid, on top of other investments,” Mr Bashaasha said in an interview at the weekend.
Still in the water sector, Mr Bashaasha also pointed out that there has been heavy investment in gravity water flow schemes, water for production and construction of dams, all aimed at increasing access to safe water and irrigation in the agriculture sector.

Education
However, Mr Bashaasha said they have not done well in the education sector, especially in terms of infrastructure because of funding gaps, corruption and bureaucracy.

“I think the biggest challenge we have in infrastructural development is still in education where we need to do a lot in terms of infrastructural development because the scope is still very wide,” he stated.
He also admitted that government is yet to deliver on its earlier pledge to provide free sanitary towels to school going girls as a way of curbing the high school dropout rate.
Other major strides have also been made in the energy sector where the construction of a $4b oil refinery, the oil pipeline, supposed to stretch from Hoima up to the Tanzanian cost of Tanga, as well as the huge investments in Karuma and Isimba dams meant to support the economy and increase power supply are on course, he said.
Mr Bashaasha also mentioned the various roads that have been completed within the past two years such as Fort Portal-Kamwenge and Ntungamo -Murama Hills. He said others such as Kanoni-Sembabule-Villa Maria, Entebbe Expressway, Mbarara By-pass and the Rushere –Nswerekye are in their final stages of completion.
“There are also like six bridges, which were completed within these two years and the five bridges, which are about to be completed. For ferries, Zengedi-Namasali, MV Kyoga 2 and Wanseko-Panamuru MV Albert 1 have been commissioned,” he added.

Challenges
Mr Bashaasha said the limited resource envelope, acquisition of land for big investments, unpredictable shocks such as drought and corruption are the major challenges hindering the effective implementation of the manifesto.
He acknowledged that they have so far realised 38 per cent of their target in the last two years yet they target to implement a cumulative performance of 20 per cent every year.

Health
In the health sector, he said the ruling party has seen substantial progress on rehabilitating Mulago National Referral Hospital to elevate it to a highly specialised hospital.
“Actually, we should be concluding by end of this year or early next year, which means we should be having a super specialised hospital that can address all health problems that have been making our citizens fly out of the country for treatment,” Mr Bashaasha said.

Security
For security, Mr Bashaasha said the country is secure and peaceful. He said the internal security challenges such as lawlessness and criminality are being dealt with.

Agriculture
He said government has been able to commercialise the agriculture sector under the Operation Wealth Creation programme.

Social development
Mr Bashaasha said government has continued to support affirmative action where money has been sent to the ministry of Gender to support women and youth. He said as at January, the government was financing 3,248 projects for women and youth and about Shs1.8b disbursed to the projects under Women Enterprise Fund.

Government invites bids for $1 billion expressway

The Government has invited bids from private investors to develop and operate a new 95km highway between Kampala Capital City to Jinja to ease congestion on the ageing existing road.

The estimated $1 billion project is part of the Northern Corridor, a crucial East African transport artery that connects Kenya’s coast to a vast hinterland including Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

In the tender documents published by the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) said the private developer will be “expected to design, build, finance, operate … and transfer the project back to government at the conclusion of the operational period.

In recent years the government has been pumping huge amounts of money into roads, energy and other infrastructure projects to boost the economy.

The country’s first expressway, built at a cost of $500 million, is due to be opened next month between Kampala and Entebbe International Airport

The 95km toll road, packaged as a public-private partnership, will connect Kampala and Jinja, an industrial town in the country’s east, also famous as the source of River Nile. One section of the motorway will have eight lanes, another six lanes and a third will have four lanes.

Opposition praise Museveni on Manifesto

There are no more lies to tell people, Odonga Otto Besigye says Museveni key pillars are security, economy. Also says President still has popular support, international appeal. We shall continue supporting Museveni as long as he delivers,

Anywar Museveni is good, but should walk the talk on corruption, Mao
By Stephen Bwire
As the ruling NRM marks two years of its 2016-2021 election manifesto, a cross section of opposition politicians, in a surprise twist, have heaped praises on the NRM government and President Yoweri Museveni for delivering on essential services. In a telephone interview with this newspaper, Aruu County MP Odongo Otto said that “the opposition has run out of lies to tell the people” especially in northern Uganda where government is devoting enormous resources and interventions in post-war recovery and reconstruction programmes.
“Our biggest quarrel with Museveni and his NRM government has often been on sidelining the people of the north from development processes. The northern region has lagged behind in terms of development, and people there have been among the poorest of the poor, and they are still poor, but the story is now gradually changing with increased government support to accelerate development in the area through various development programmes,” said Otto.
Otto singled out major road networks such as Gulu-Atiak-Nimule, Arua-Koboko-Oraba-Mvura as crucial in accelerating development in the region. He also talked about Karuma dam, Ayago, Nyagak as signature projects which shall power the region’s economic potential. The fire-spitting legislator also praised Museveni for ending the LRA war in northern Uganda which had ravaged the region for two decades. Elaborating on the peace dividends following the silence of the guns, Otto said that a number of investors are rushing to establish industries in the north, and that soon northern Uganda would become the new industrial hinterland of Uganda.
The FDC firebrand didn’t spare some opposition leaders who he said are “misleading the people” by telling lies all the time while using the people as mere instruments for their personal aggrandisement. “I have been rejecting leaders both from NRM and opposition who would only come here [northern Uganda] to confuse our people. Much as I have had fights with Museveni, I have also had personal fights with people like Besigye, Muntu and others who have been taking the people for granted.” It should be remembered that during the 2016 general elections, Odonga Otto staged protests across the Karuma bridge to stop former presidential candidate Patrick Amama Mbabazi from crossing over to northern Uganda to solicit for votes. He also vowed to stop other politicians including Besigye and Muntu from crossing over to the north. Otto’s overtures would only lend credence to the popular view that he is an NRM sympathiser.
Besigye acknowledges Museveni strength
The biggest surprise, however, came from Museveni’s main opposition challenger, Dr. Kizza Besigye, who wasn’t shy of the fact that Museveni has consolidated the four pillars of security, a robust economy, popular support and international appeal. Besigye said this recently while hosting a delegation from Kitgum District who called on him at his office on Katonga Road, Nakasero. Present at the meeting was FDC president Patrick Amuriat, deputy president for eastern Proscovia Salaamu-Musumba and FDC special envoy in the office of the president Wafula Oguttu. “A dictatorship survives on four things: economy, security, popular support and international support. As I speak Mr Museveni has control of all the four important elements that he has relied on for three decades to keep in power,” said Besigye. A cross section of analysts would, however, argue that by coming out openly to categorically state that Museveni is still strong in the above mentioned elements, Besigye is only subtly praising his former boss and commander-in-chief on working around the clock to build a robust apparatus that has ensured Uganda’s security, peace and stability. “When you say that the man [Museveni] has kept a strong control on security, economy, popular support and international appeal, you are actually saying that Museveni has performed well in those areas and that the people still love him. If a person has popular support, it would mean that he is loved at home. And if he still has international support, it also means that he still has international backers who look at him as an asset and not a liability,” said Prof Aaron Mukwaya, a political science professor at Makerere University. This is the very first incident where Besigye is casting an impressive image of Museveni since the two bush war comrades parted ways about two decades ago.
Anywar, Museveni love affair
On her part, the Kitgum Municipality MP Beatrice Anywar didn’t mince her words when she said told this newspaper that she would continue supporting Museveni for as long as he continues to deliver development to the people. “For me my stand is clear, that I shall continue to praise Museveni and support his development efforts for as long as he continues working for the people. My strand of politics is quite different…I now look at issues through the lenses of development,” said the FDC legislator who has since toned down her criticism on Museveni and NRM. Not so long ago, Anywar surprised the nation when she came out to say that she would “run for Museveni’s job if it came knocking.” She has been at the forefront of rallying her people in Kitgum to support government programmes and arguing them to embrace development. This gesture of Anywar, who hitherto has been a fierce critic of Museveni, hasn’t gone well with her FDC members who have labeled her as a “traitor”. Anwyar is among the opposition politicians who voted “Yes” in parliament to amend the constitution to lift presidential age limits. Last year, she hosted President Museveni as chief guest to her thanksgiving ceremony in Kitgum District following the nasty accident which almost claimed her life. It’s alleged that the President personally contributed towards Anywar’s medical bills abroad.
Mao, Museveni’s rebel son
Democratic Party president and former MP Gulu Municipality Nobert Mao, when asked about Museveni’s performance in the last two years, said: “Museveni is a good president; the only problem is that he is not walking the talk on corruption. A lot of public money is being siphoned with impunity by regime cronies, and Museveni only sounds out threats…threats are not enough, we want to see firm action taken against the thieves and only then shall we take his anti-graft gospel serious,” he said.
Mao, whom pundits say is more objective when analysing Museveni’s achievements and failures, said that one area where Museveni has done well is roads. “When you travel across the country you won’t deny the fact that the national road network is functional. It now takes me three hours to reach Gulu.” He said, adding: “He [Museveni] is also doing a good job in health infrastructure, but health isn’t only about buildings. Those health facilities should be equipped with medicines, beds and mattresses, running water, electricity, essential equipment. He should also address the issue of doctors’ welfare and salaries; this bizarre episode of running battles with health workers over pay isn’t healthy for this country. And you can’t solve the problem by blackmailing the health professionals by hiring Cuban doctors,” said Mao, whom Museveni would fondly call ‘my rebel son’.
The NRM government is reviewing its Manifesto under the theme: Taking Uganda to modernity through jobs creation and inclusive development.” Different government ministries, departments, agencies and districts have been explaining to the public what government has achieved in two years since President Museveni’s fifth term started in 2016.

Public Health Is Top Priority in Uganda

In the recent past, local print media carried a piece titled “Without health, Uganda can’t achieve wealth” – authored by the United States ambassador to Uganda, Deborah R Malac. The statement is clearly well-intentioned and friendly to Uganda, and is largely accurate in terms of empirical data.

The bigger challenge, however, arises in accurately locating the development of the health sector in the overall political economy of countries such as Uganda.

The philosophical anchor of concrete policy, similarly, must be located within that political economy. In this latter sense, our views are at variance with those of Ambassador Malac.

Ambassador Malac accurately quotes the recent Uganda demographic health survey on clear and positive trends: “More women delivering babies in health facilities; substantial reductions in infant and under-five mortality rates; and an increased percentage of households with at least one insecticide-treated bed net to combat malaria”.

Later, she brings out the laudable contribution by the United States in terms of investment of nearly $500 million – “in antiretroviral therapy, tuberculosis treatment, and malaria”, etc.

Before that, she avers, again accurately, that the positive statistics “mask a troublesome reality: the health of most Ugandans remains poor, with children especially at risk”. She elaborates on this in some detail, which we shall not venture into now.

We agree entirely with the view that funding of the sector must continue growing – not just in line with the Abuja Declaration – but also as demanded by necessity. Concerns about improved and better management of the sector are equally valid.

Our point of departure with Ambassador Malac is when she asserts “It is well past time for Ugandan authorities to begin investing more in the health and well-being of their own people, not just large-scale infrastructure projects”.

We assert very strongly in the contrary, that to invest in energy and infrastructure is ultimately to invest in the enduring well-being of wananchi. To counter pose investment in health to investment in energy and infrastructure is to agree to a democratization of not only debilitating and cyclical poverty, but endemic ill-health of wananchi.

Implementation of a well-thought-out health policy of promoting prophylactic or preventive medicine, as opposed to a purely curative approach, sits very well with the exigencies of national economic transformation.

The current policy framework, implemented vigorously, shall deliver and is delivering, on the health needs of wananchi – without subtracting attention from other critical national priorities. Important development partners like the United States must remain alert to the need to maintain this delicate balance.

And the lessons are there to be seen – from the history of the United States and other older democracies. The qualitative leap from backwardness to modernity arose with the industrial revolution – not before. The industrial revolution occurred first in Britain – before taking place elsewhere, including the United States.

Before then, health care was localized and built around communities. In the United States, the first hospitals were really for sailors, and not for the general population.

The Public Health Service in the United States can be traced back to the act for “Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen”, passed by the 5th Congress in 1798. These facilities were initially found only on the East Coast.

They later developed into the Marine Hospital Service, manned by the Public Health Service Corps, with uniforms very much like those of the American Navy. It is instructive that the Office of the Surgeon General of the United States only appears almost a century later, in 1871.

We do not have time to go into the story of Florence Nightingale and her immortal contribution to world nursing, especially against the background of her specific experiences in the Crimean War in the 19th century – and how her experiences are an important nodal point from which to evaluate the historical development of the public health service in Britain.

Suffice it for now to underline that medical services in the older democracies did not just appear. They were not the results of acts of creation. They appeared as part of long, tortuous processes – alongside, and as part of, other wider historical processes.

They all arose, on the initial foundation of localized and community medical services. This is not an excuse for not doing the things we must do. It is to say, we cannot ignore what else needs to be done, to ensure quality and sustainable medical care for all wananchi.

In the next article, we conclude this discussion by reflecting on the qualitative impact of the development of railways, electricity, industry and inventions on the fundamental socioeconomic transformation of that great country, the United States – and the fundamental lessons therein, for us.

The author is a private secretary for political affairs, State House.