A group of Ugandans have asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to block a USD 1bn (Shs.3.6 trillion) loan request by what they termed as “ a wasteful and corruption infested” Ugandan government.
The group, Common League of Ugandans in the Diaspora (CLOUD) say whereas Uganda is visibly under a covid19 crisis with lack of medical facilities, poor health systems and crude virus control systems premised on President Museveni’s alleged militarism, the IMF should explore other means and not cash help to Ugandans.
“We request that the IMF finds other means of assisting Ugandans out of this crisis than handing over financial assistance to a regime waiting to squander the money as soon as it’s available. 90% Ugandans have already survived the virus using local solutions,” CLOUD president Richard Martin Byakuleka wrote in a June 24 letter.
His letter was sent with articles published by Uganda’s media on the theft bonanza of the funds released in the first phase of covid19 in 2020 where money meant to improve health services was stolen including that meant to install oxygen plants.
Government offered Silverbacks Pharmacy Ltd, owned by two daughters of former Foreign Affairs minister Sam Kutesa-Charlotte Kainerugaba and Ishta Asiimwe K. Muganga to provide an oxygen plant.
“Ugandans humbly request that the IMF does not vote to disburse ECF US$ 1 billion to Uganda government for Covid Relief. These funds will be lost through corruption like the RCF of US$491.5 before,” Byakuleta wrote.
Recently, Uganda wrote to the IMF asking for an Extended Credit Facility to mitigate financial constraints in the country, and this is what now the CLOUD is contesting.
“It is strange that suffering people should present such a request but we are compelled by the fact that the political regime led by Gen Kaguta Museveni will squander the money through embezzlement and corruption,” Kyakuletera wrote.
He added; “Ugandans are disturbed and surprised that IMF staff have reached agreement with the Ugandan regime about the second tranche when the same regime cannot account for the first one.”
CLOUD says that the President Museveni’s regime has a total lack of credibility amongst the population after a huge loss of legitimacy following widespread vote rigging and maladministration in the state inspired violent elections that returned it to power,”
Earlier covid19 Loans
In 2020 the government heightened efforts to borrow internally and from international creditors, IMF, yet also millions of dollars were donated by the United States and other wealthy governments. A total of Shs5.8 trillion was received.
Shs1.3 trillion from Stanbic Bank.
Shs1.9 trillion was received from the IMF in budget support and loans channelled through Bank of Uganda, the Finance ministry and Uganda Development Bank.
Shs17.2 billion from European Union grant as budget support
Shs1.2 trillion as budget support from the World Bank.
But the Auditor general in his February 2021 report, pointed to swindling of the money. Shs143.9 billion was irregularly spent without complying with procurement rules and the supervising ministry of Health was singled out as the most culpable. They spent Shs100 billion spent irregularly. Uganda Police Force spent Shs21.3 billion and the ministry of Defence- Shs 16 billion; Uganda Prisons Services Shs3.5 billion.
A number of other ministries, departments and agencies, including the district , were also faulted for irregular procurements.
While this newspaper only picked the issue of irregular procurement to highlight the crisis, the report also pointed out a number of other anomalies in Covid-19 response amounting to billions of shillings lost.
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