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Israel defence equipment dealers eye African security market


The East African

By Steve Mbogo

Israeli defence equipment manufacturers are looking to Africa as their next big market as they seek a share of the continent’s growing defence spending.

Israel currently controls less than one per cent of Africa’s weapons market and is seeking a larger share as an increasingly richer Africa will spend more to meet growing public and private security needs.

Executives in Israel’s defence companies said they are receiving more inquiries from Africa for a range of equipment for defence, police, prisons and intelligence sectors collectively known as homeland security.

Demand for homeland security solutions is rising in Africa as the countries face growing threats from secessionist groups, transnational criminals and religious fundamentalists among others.

African armies, police and prison services are also reforming as the private security industry expands, offering a growing market for security solutions vendors.

Homeland security spending is growing across the world partly because nations are increasingly facing asymmetrical war from non-state actors. This is expected to drive the growth of the defence market,” said Yaakov Perry, former head of Israel General Security Service, Shin Bet.

In East Africa countries are facing homeland security threats. Kenya is cracking down on the secessionist group Mombasa Republican Council, Uganda is still pursuing the militant group Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) as Tanzania faces secession threats from Zanzibar while Rwanda and Burundi also have delicate security situations.

Discovery of high value natural resources has also prompted countries to invest more in security as exploration companies also invest in private security to secure their facilities.

Homeland security spending is expected to reach $344.5 billion in 2022 up from $178 billion dollars in 2010, with significant growth in aviation security, communications, data and cyber security and counter terrorism, according to the Israel Export and International Co-operation Institute.

Israel’s arms exports to Africa have been minimal, accounting for less than one per cent of transfers of major weapons to sub-Saharan Africa for the period 2006–10 according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Arms Industry Database.

In the period 2006–10 Israel delivered major weapons to nine sub-Saharan states—Cameroon, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Lesotho, Nigeria, Rwanda, the Seychelles, South Africa and Uganda.

For most of these recipients, imports from Israel made up less than a quarter of their total arms imports, SIPRI added.

Key defence manufacturers eyeing operations in Africa include Mer Systems, a security and communications company, Tar, which sells military and police equipment, 3M Israel that deals with security and protection services, Blue Bird that sells unmanned aerial vehicles and Elbit Systems that offers intelligence and cyber security solutions.

Britain and Ireland Suspend Aid to Uganda after Millions Go Missing


Voice of America

by Douglas Mpuga

October 31, 2012

Britain has joined Ireland in suspending aid to Uganda’s office of the prime minister.  The move comes after a draft report by Ugandan’s auditor-general found that over $15 million [€12 million]  in aid had been transferred to unauthorized accounts in the office of the Ugandan prime minister.The money was meant to have been spent on helping the needy, and to help pay for a ‘peace recovery and development program’ in northern Uganda after decades of conflict and devastation.The Ugandan governmenthas pledged prosecutions. Two senior officials have been charged, while 17 others have been suspended as the investigation continues.“This report does not surprise anybody,” said Dr. Fredrick Golooba Mutebi, a political analyst and a visiting fellow at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom. The only shock, he added, “is the amounts of money stolen are quite colossal.”He exonerated Uganda’s Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi, saying he has just been appointed to the office and that the theft has been going on for a long time. “The only way you can hold him responsible is that he has been Secretary General for the ruling party for a long time. So you can hold the ruling party responsible, in which case he is culpable.”

Mr. Mbabazi has reportedly publicly apologized to Ireland, saying no money was ever paid to him, and that he never handles the aid money.

He said that although the missing money was discovered in private bank accounts, not all of it was ‘misappropriated,’ but ‘merely irregularly managed,’ according to local media reports.

“I think the government is half-hearted about fighting corruption,’’ said Mutebi. He said the government is able to wage such a fight, but it may not be in its best interest to prosecute senior officials accused of  corruption.

He noted that if the politically influential can behave with impunity, then it’s seen as hypocrtical to pursue ordinary members of the public.

The government, he said, is also constrained by the fact that some of its most senior officials are as corrupt as the people who stole money from the prime minister’s office.

Mutebi described the level of impunity in the country. “Impunity in Uganda is not only in connection with corruption, but in connection with various other misdeeds by government officials, and people connected to the ruling party.”

But Mutebi said the donors can do something about the theft of donor funds. “They [donors] could decide to withhold general budget support and go for project funding – where they have a much closer watch over the money.”

“But as long as they [donors] put the money in the government’s kitty, it is really beyond them to control what the government does with it.”

The donors, he explained, could withhold the aid. Donors could claim that if they do that it could be punitive to poor people, but there is no empirical evidence for that.

“If large amounts of donor money are being stolen, in what sense are they going toward funding things that are important to poor people?” he wondered.

 

Kenya among Africa’s top spenders on military


Business Daily

November 3rd, 2012

Kenya has been ranked among the countries with the highest defence budgets in Africa, thanks to two decades of a steady increase in military expenditure.

It is ranked seventh behind Algeria, South Africa, Angola, Libya, Nigeria, Egypt and Morocco, having surpassed Tunisia last year.

The country spent Sh45.8 billion last year down from Sh47.7 billion the previous year but remained by far the highest in East Africa relative to its GDP, according to data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri), an independent research organisation.

Algeria had the highest spending on defence at Sh736 billion followed by South Africa with Sh434 billion and Angola at Sh309 billion.

Analysts say Kenya has been spending in a bid to modernise its military hardware. “There has been serious modernisation of the country’s defence systems, which started during the Anglo Leasing scandal,” said Simiyu Werunga, the director of the African Centre for Security and Strategic Studies.

Having ordered eight warships in 2010, Kenya last year sought 67 armoured vehicles— Puma M-26 —of which 37 have so far been delivered at a cost of Sh1.6 billion from South Africa. Kenya also ordered 67 US-made heavy truck diesel engines (B5.9) from South Africa with 37 delivered but at an undisclosed cost. One engine is estimated to cost about Sh500,000, which brings the total to about Sh33 million.

Piracy

Kenya is faced with problems of terrorism, attacks from Oromo militias in Ethiopia and piracy in the Indian Ocean that have exposed the country’s military inadequacies.

“Due to the military “achievement” of KDF against Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia, Kenya would most likely want to obtain a greater influence on the political and administrative future of the region,” said Sipri in a email to the Business Daily.

Kenya is said to have used recent imports of armoured vehicles from South Africa, helicopters from China (Z-9) and Russia (Mi-17) and refurbished second hand F-5E combat aircraft from Jordan and new M-4 rifles from the USA in Somalia.

But the data does not fully capture the country’s military expedition into Somali which started in October 2011 and is expected to increase the 2012 budget by at least Sh12 billion.

It also received one ex-French P-400 patrol aircraft at an undisclosed price.

The data shows that Kenya’s spending on defence was far much higher than that of Uganda and Tanzania whose budget stood at Sh21 billion and Sh22 billion (local currency) respectively.

Kenya’s military spending as a ratio of GDP has increased for the last 10 years from 1.3 per cent in the year 2000 to 1.9 per cent in 2008. Relatively Kenya rivals unstable democracies like Chad and Central Africa Republic and spends higher than South Africa whose defence budget is 1.3 per cent of the national income.

Uganda however depicted the largest number of weapons imported annually in recent years in the region.

“Overall amongst the three countries Ugandan procurement has been the most extensive and involves the most modern major arms,” said Peter Wezeman senior researcher at Sipri.

Uganda last year bought an unspecified number of anti-ship missiles, guided bombs and short range air- to- air missiles from Russia. It is also expecting the delivery of 150 ex-Ukranian surface to air missiles having received an equal number in 2010.

Uganda has been battling an internal conflict against the Lords Resistance Army (LRA), conflicts in neighbouring DRC and South Sudan and has a substantial number of troops in Somalia. “However, Uganda’s main arms procurement in the past few years— six advanced Su-30Mk combat aircraft from Russia delivered in 2011-2012, has been questionable in the light of Ugandan needs and resources,” says Sipri.

Tanzania imported 30 tanks, diesel truck engines from China and 10 armoured personnel carriers last year alone.

The budget of the Kenya Defence Forces is set to be exposed to scrutiny if a proposed Bill is passed into law. The Bill requires KDF to submit its annual financial reports to Parliament and the President.

rotini@ke.nationmedia.com

Iranian bidder sparks halt to $2 bln Uganda dam project


Reuters Africa

September 7, 2012

By Elias Biryabarema

KAMPALA, Sept 7 (Reuters) – Uganda has halted plans to develop a $2.2 billion hydropower dam after objections were raised over the short-listing of an Iranian company in potential contravention of international sanctions, a procurement official said on Friday.

Billed as one of East Africa‘s largest infrastructure projects, construction of the 700 MW Karuma dam on the Nile river was expected to begin by the end of this year aimed at overhauling the east African nation’s stuttering energy supply.

“We received petitions by a whistleblower and representatives of other companies which were left out who said one of the firms that prequalified was an Iranian (firm),” said Vincent Mugaba, spokesperson for Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA).

“The Iranian company would not have the capacity to conduct international trade in light of sanctions imposed on Iran so we have halted the whole procurement process until we complete an investigation into the matter,” Mugaba said.

Washington and Europe have imposed sanctions on Tehran over its disputed nuclear programme. Some of the sanctions make it difficult for other countries to trade with Iran.

Mugaba said PPDA had requested the energy ministry, which is managing Karuma’s procurement process, to explain why it had overlooked the impact of sanctions on the Iranian company, Perlite Construction.

“What happened was that when we prequalified the Iranian company the U.S. sanctions had not come into effect but of course we realise that the company might have problems executing the contract if its bid was to be successful,” Yusuf Bukenya-Matovu, a public relations officer at the energy ministry, told Reuters.

“Uganda isn’t bound to respect U.S. unilateral sanctions but nevertheless there are implications. Perhaps there would be problems if the Iranian firm were to win but we’ll cooperate with the PPDA investigation,” he said.

LATEST DELAY

The Karuma dam is expected to more than double the country’s total power output. The state-run Electricity Regulatory Authority says Uganda produces a total of 550 MW while power demand at peaks stands at about 480 MW.

The snag was the latest to stall progress on Karuma, which the government is banking on to help prevent persistent power outages that have put a strain on the economy and discouraged investors from pouring more money into the oil-rich country.

Several years ago, a Norwegian investor that had expressed interest pulled out because it failed to secure funding for the project.

The Ugandan government wants to develop Karuma as a public-private project with the private investor as lead financier.

Uganda is keen to woo investment in its cash-starved energy sector to rapidly increase its generation capacity and in October plans to start pegging power tariffs to changes in inflation, international fuel prices and the exchange rate to make the sector more attractive.

Energy officials say the internal rate of return for energy projects in Uganda is fairly attractive at between 15-18 percent and higher than South Africa’s 12-14 percent, although the country has a higher risk perception.

Commercial hydrocarbon deposits were discovered along the Albertine rift basin along its border with the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2006 and reserves are estimated at 2.5 billion barrels. (Editing by Yara Bayoumy and Jason Neely)

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‘Contract monitoring coalition’ kicks off with World Bank support


After a year-long incubation process supported by the World Bank Institute, 19 Ugandan civil society organisations this week formally established a ‘contract monitoring coalition’ that aims to involve local communities in the oversight of government-funded projects—including those related to oil—awarded to private sector contractors.

“There have in the past been incidents of alleged collusion between contract parties,” Gilbert Sendugwa, who chaired the coalition in its formative stages, told Oil in Uganda. “Our coming on board is going to minimise that possibility and also improve the flow of information.  The coalition will provide a mechanism to bring communities on board, so that they understand the contract, they supervise it and, when the contractors leave, the communities know about the project and are able to sustain it.”

Mr. Sendugwa, who is also Coordinator of the pan-African Africa Freedom of Information Centre, went on to explain that community monitors would be trained to play an oversight role.  For example, he said, the government is funding the construction of 200 schools across the country, and community monitors could play a crucial role in ensuring that the selected contractors complete the work on time and to the agreed quality.

The coalition, Mr. Sendugwa stressed, is committed to a “multi-stakeholder approach,” and will wherever possible work collaboratively with the government and contractors.  Disputes often arise between government inspectors and contractors, he said, and third party monitors could help to resolve these. “A contract that performs is good for the client—in this case, the government—and is good for the contractor. Therefore the involvement of civil society can be very useful for the government and very useful for the private sector.” Read me.

Uganda Oil Contracts Cloaked in Secrecy


Voice of America

By Douglas Mpuga

May 26th, 2012

This is Part Two of a five-part series on oil contracts in Uganda
Continue to Parts:     1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 

In Uganda, critics argue for public access to details of contracts between government and oil companies.

When billions of barrels of oil reserves were found in Uganda five years ago, the discovery seemed like a gift from heaven to many in this East African, poor, landlocked country.

But as Douglas Mpuga reports in this first of a five- part series, Uganda’s oil sector has so far been characterized by high level secrecy that critics say is unlawful.

Oil wells are expected to start pumping within five years, and bring along with it about two billion dollars per year, according to government officials.

Many analysts are hopeful that could propel Uganda into the strata of middle-income countries, where few sub-Saharan African countries rank. A refinery will be built – providing revenues for improved roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

Three foreign companies are involved in oil exploration in the country: UK-based Tullow Oil, which has been operating in Uganda since 2006, and two other companies to which it has sold part of its investments — France’s Total SA (TOT) and China’s CNOOC Ltd.

The government has signed deals with the companies.  But few Ugandans know what is in the agreements.  The government insists that it will not release details of the agreements citing confidentiality clauses that bind it and Parliament from disclosing their contents to third parties.

Two senior Ugandan journalists took government to court seeking this information after the failure of repeated calls for the release of the details.

“We are suspicious why the government wants to handle this oil exploration program with a lot of secrecy,” said one of the journalists, Charles Mwanguhya Mpagi, the political editor of The Daily Monitor newspaper.  “We are looking at examples such as Ghana where they have their agreements on the internet. We are looking at Norway which has this information available.”

According to Mwanguhya Mpagi: “We suspect government has always been reluctant to share information with the Ugandan public. The other thing we have been told, from what has leaked out, is that the agreements are not entirely bad. So we are puzzled why the government is reluctant.”

But the legal process has not been smooth:  a lower court dismissed the journalist’s initial request but now the High Court may consider the appeal.

“Our initial petition to the court was not limited,” said Mpagi, adding “What we asked government to do was to rely on the constitution to be more transparent in its dealings with the oil industry, what agreements it is entering into with the prospectors.”

“We lost in the lower court, “ he continued, “because the magistrate wasn’t convinced that accessing this information would benefit the Ugandan public. But he forgot that we are journalists who would share this information with the public. This is what we intend to push for in our appeal.”

The journalists’ campaign has been boosted by four organizations seeking to become party to the case. Describing themselves as friends of the court, they say they are advocating for the right of the public to know about national and regional energy policies that aim in part to help eradicate poverty.

Meanwhile, Ugandans wait for the day when the first barrel will be exported.

Uganda: Museveni’s hand makes graft fight a harder task


The Observer, Uganda

By Hussein Bogere

April 22, 2012

When MPs this week release their report on the troubled national identity cards project, one name that will feature prominently is that of President Yoweri Museveni.

The report, by Parliament’s committee on Defence and Internal Affairs, will include claims by government officials that Mr Museveni instructed them to award the IDs contract to a German company, Muhlbauer High Tech, without following standard procedures. The project, worth about Shs 219bn, has since stalled amid accusations that some government officials are frustrating Muhlbauer.

This is the latest government procurement contract to degenerate into a scandal about management of taxpayers’ money. It all begs the question why the government can hardly execute major contracts without flouting procedures, corruption and loss of public funds.

In his latest report, the Auditor General (AG), John Muwanga, reveals that taxpayers have lost more than Shs 1,000 billion in just 12 months to fraud in various forms and at various levels.

While many people blame this on the culture of greed, our analysis shows that State House regularly comes up in cases of massive loss of public funds. In fact, President Museveni stands accused not just of handling high-level fraud with kid gloves, but also of giving directives that tend to torpedo financial oversight mechanisms.

Botched Deals

Only recently, businessman Hassan Basajjabalaba was in the news for receiving Shs 142bn in compensation after his Haba group lost contracts to operate some city markets and the Constitution Square. Both directives – to cancel the contracts and to compensate Basajjabalaba – came from State House. While the President has since dissociated himself from the figure of Shs 142bn, and two of his ministers resigned over the saga, this matter has left State House’s reputation in tatters.

Early this year, Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) heard that government lost Shs 40bn to a ghost company, Dura Cement, after President Museveni cancelled its contract to produce cement at Dura in Kamwenge district. While meeting PAC, Museveni said he could not recall the person who advised him to cancel the contract.

But following that advice from that forgettable individual, Museveni wrote a letter to the then minister of Energy and Mineral Development Daudi Migereko, instructing him to terminate the lease after considering mutually agreed terms. But the history of troubled contracts has not just started.

In 2001, the Ugandan government got excited after signing the Africa Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) that would see it export to the United States market, among other products, fabrics, tax free. The government guaranteed bank loans for the hand-picked Sri-Lankan-owned company Apparels Tri-Star in the hope that it would lead to increased revenue from garment exports, create jobs, and revive Uganda’s cotton industry. It didn’t take long for the textile machines to go silent, and government to lose nearly Shs 33bn after dfcu and Uganda Development Bank seized securities that had been guaranteed through bank of UgandaRead more.

Procurement is the hub of corruption in Nigeria –Dr. Ogar, former Imoke’s aide


The Daily Sun

By Judex Okoro, Calabar

March 20th, 2012

In this interview, Dr. Tom Ogar, former Special Adviser to Governor Liyel Imoke on Due Process and Procurement, stated that “Procurement is a very problematic area where 80 – 90% corruption takes place in Nigeria because there are ‘many little areas’ where there are loopholes,” adding “It takes only a trained person who has integrity to discover and plug such loopholes as some persons are out to collude with you to inflate the contingency fees. It takes one with integrity to run procurement business for government.”

Ogar, the former Governor’s aide and university don who recounted his experience during an interactive session with newsmen in Calabar, said corruption can only thrive if public officers continue to collude with contractors and it can lead to collapse of the entire system.

The soft-spoken graduate of Philosophy from University of Calabar, maintained that introduction of Due Process Department does not in any way slow down budget implementation rather “those who are having this notion are the ones that want to cut corners as I cannot imagine how a budget in MDA that was supposed to run for ten months would wait till the last hour of December 31 ending before presenting its procurement.”
Excerpts:

Revolutionizing Due Process and Price Intelligence in C’River

It was extremely difficult introducing   Due Process and Price Intelligence in the state in 2007 let alone revolutionizing it when I was appointed as the head of the unit. As a university lecturer, I was a novice because the job essentially is about regulating public procurement. We were basically a regulator and to ensure that procurement and due process exercise in this state were carried out to meet international best practice; ensure openness, accountability and to add value for money. Public procurement as you all know is the hub of every government and every organisation, whether private or public.

As the government is daily into public procurement- buying of items for the smooth running of government- it became expedient to introduce these reforms because I didn’t have background knowledge about it except Public Tenders Board. I observed there were a lot of irregularities and such other things that should not naturally be. Before you could win a contract in the public service, it is either you know someone, the governor, the commissioner or such persons. There was no transparency, no openness. Most of the jobs were haphazardly done or abandoned.
When you pick certain percentage of the mobilization fee, it would be seen as part of the national cake which would be shared and then the job abandoned or done in a shoddy manner. You can, therefore, see why the reforms became imperative.

Perception by politicians and others on that Due Process slows down budget implementation

It is not just in this state.  I remember even at the federal level, there were lots of misgivings. We have been to Ghana, Uganda, South Africa and other countries to see how they carried out their own. If we have to go through all the processes as lawfully authorized, I have not seen where Due Process Department slows down budget implementation. Those who are having this notion are the ones that want to cut corners. I cannot imagine how a budget in MDA that was supposed to run for ten months would wait till the last hour of December 31 ending before presenting its procurement.

Or, take for instance, this Cross River State, Calabar where the rains come in early.  Take for instance the ministry of environment, you need to decongest the drains; this is January and you are doing nothing about procurement, and you wait till April or May and you now rush to Due Process, believing it is an urgent matter, I would tell you clearly No! There is nothing like emergency here!  You have a budget and a plan for this budget.  You should start your procurement early. This is why we insist on procurement planning. With the plan it gives you chance to work because you want to cut corners; you don’t want to follow the processes. We only recognize emergency procurement where there is natural calamity, windstorm or disaster etc.

So there is a myth. There is no reality about the fact that Due Process slows down implementation of the budget. The slow-down is from the MDAs. If it was not so I would tell you. And this was basically because of lack of capacity sometimes. Some MDAs have refused to use the procurement officers that we trained for such purposes. Commissioners and heads of MDAs these days want to stay in their offices to do procurements.  This is wrong. The chief executives of MDAs are not supposed to be part of procurements if you look at what we call the resident Due Process team. The accounting officers of the MDAs are the permanent secretaries that should be saddled with the responsibilities of procurements.

Sub standard and abandoned projects

I can beat my chest to affirm that when I was in charge, we never had abandoned projects. In fact, it has been reduced to the barest minimum.  Fraudulent practices, we have them all over the world. For instance, there is this construction company that built a tunnel between London and Paris; at the end of the day, they got it all wrong. The initial allocation to that project was tripled. So, in issues of fraud and corruption, you have them everywhere. But over there it has been reduced to the barest minimum because they have check and balances in place and once you are caught you are punished immediately.

In Cross River State, when we came on board, we were operating on executive fiat, so to speak, when the office was set up. There is a law passed by the state House of Assembly and assented to in 2011. Basically we have instrument in place. The drawback was that there were no punitive measures for those caught committing fraud. Now that we have a legal instrument backing the establishment of this office, we were empowered and if anyone had faulted, the law would have taken its cause. Therefore, for the contractors that thought of abandoning jobs, it was no longer business as usual.
Besides, I don’t deal with contractors directly and do not encourage loitering around my office. They have any business with me but with the MDAs. They were no threats to me because they too even know that they are not supposed to see me.

Corruption at procurement level

We have substantially been able to save money through the Due Process reforms. Sometimes you discover that when you are doing procurement for medical equipment, educational materials that are not supposed to VAT procurement officers will still go ahead and with VAT on those materials by putting it on our price indices. We have stopped those practices where certain items were charged VAT and then the proceeds do not get into government coffers. Sometimes some items were charged contingency whereas it was not supposed to be the case. We have also removed that. For contingency, in this state we only accepted 2.5% instead of five per cent previously. Procurement is a very problematic area where 80 – 90% corruption takes place in Nigeria because there are ‘many little areas’ where there are loopholes.

It takes only a trained person who has integrity to discover and plug such loopholes. Often, you will find some persons coming to you to collude with you to inflate the contingency fees, for instance, asking you to close your eyes that we would share the extra.
It takes one with integrity to run procurement business for government. If as SA, I had compromised, the entire system would have collapsed. But I can stand on the mountain-top and talk because there was no contractor that can challenge me that he gave me money. None will have the gut to even say it! You must know where you coming from and where you going if you have to succeed in building the reform system. Essentially, we have saved money for government.  But the emphasis is really on getting the right thing done. I am most certain that we have saved substantial amount for government through reduction of inflation in contract sums.

The department saved about close to N500 million both from due process and registration of contractors and renewals. I am very bold to say that the Due process office, the smallest of all the government offices, got the highest revenue last year. If we had got into all these sharp practices, we would not have realized that. I cannot remember when last we committed a ‘genuine mistake’ that would have cost the government revenue.

Entrenching public procurement best practices in key ministries, LGs and agencies in the state

In fact, there was even a report in The Guardian that the Due Process in Cross River State is one of the best administered in the country. As a result of this, a lot of international donors are getting interested in the state. This is essentially so because of this office. The World Bank, EU, DFID etc can only come to you when they are certain that you are running a transparent financial system. And you know that these people do not just want to throw their money into the drain. They constantly have interface with us, especially the World Bank that donates whole lot of assistance, equipment, generators and other supports. Before the procurement law came out, they kept calling to find out when it was going to be enacted.
The disciplined was so entrenched that at a point I longer had friends even at the state executive council. They say when it comes to procurement I do not compromise and that I don’t have friends. I talk procurement with masked face.

But one funny thing is that I did not read Procurement in the university. In fact, when the governor swore me in and gave the Procurement portfolio I was scared because I did not know a thing about it and that was even the reason upon my swearing-in I dodged the newsmen because if anyone of them had asked me a question about procurement I wouldn’t have known what to answer. What I did was to begin to read anything about procurement vociferously.
Again, I approached the governor, told him my plight and the need to attend courses. Surprisingly, he readily approved for me to go for training and other courses on capacity building even abroad. At a point my cabinet colleagues would be asking how I managed to get such approvals whereas they have not even gone to, say, Badagry in Lagos. Perhaps the governor understood the vast need for all that. Now that I am preparing to go back to the University, I do not even know what I would go to teach. Maybe Procurement, who knows?

Uganda: Parliament irrationality and oil contracts


The Independent

BY DENIS MUSINGUZI

March 11, 2012

It is painfully clear the problem is not lack of laws and policy frameworks but lack of implementation efficiency.

The signing of the PSAs on February 3, 2012 by Tullow, CNOOC, Total and government despite standing court cases and resolution by parliament slapping any oil transactions until comprehensive legislation is made, has attracted a lot of uproar. At the height of it has been the parliament which accuses the government of contempt of parliament, and a host of other civil society organizations, both of which have threatened to petition Ugandans, including pregnant mothers in hospitals contesting against the agreement.

Their agitation sounds credible at first since the discovery of 2.5 billion barrels of oil in the Albertine region in western Uganda holds potential for significant economic transformation for Uganda. Estimated at $74 per barrel, it means the oil is worth $148 billion, the money believed to be enough to run the present national budget for about 42 years without donor funding. This certainly turns the oil management into a hotspot; poor governance of the oil wealth is globally known to evoke a curse.

On the second thought however, Andrew Mwenda has provokingly presented the argument, that by blocking the signing of oil contracts the 9th Parliament will not improve but rather worsen the nascent sector, in such a profound manner that makes one to deeply rethink parliament’s posturing at fighting corruption. It should be recalled that parliament made the resolution following bribery allegations based on unfounded documents. Incidentally, Mwenda’s candid criticism of parliament comes at a time when public faith in the 9th Parliament has been greatly reduced by their unanimous and shameless acceptance of Shs 103 million each, to purchase sleek cars.

The acceptance of the money in the name of performing their “public” role, with utter disregard of the needy civil servants such as doctors and teachers who even do not enjoy a small portion of the hefty benefits and privileges enjoyed by parliamentarians makes one doubt their resolve at fighting corruption. The possibility that parliamentarians are fighting to leverage their personal and not public benefit is evident; the likelihood of them being purchased is clearly high. It is helpful to recall that the majority Constituent Assembly delegates who provided constitutional term limits are the same who lifted them, barely ten years later, at a shameful price of Shs 5 million, without any substantive justification.

What makes one even all the more suspicious is that the MPs’  posturing is not about the merits and demerits of the PSAs, but more insignificantly about making enabling legislation for leveraging public benefits from oil. I say insignificantly because any keen Ugandan is painfully aware that Uganda’s problem is not lack of relevant laws or required policy frameworks, but lack of implementation efficiency in the delivery of public goods and services, which parliamentarians are quiet about. Uganda has in fact become a cemetery of dead laws, dusted in law books, never in reality, but scarcely applied, if not selectively…Read more.

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