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PRDP Money Disbursed Despite Donors Protest, Says OPM Official

Gonzaga Mayanja, the Commissioner in charge PRDP in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) says money for carrying out the project activities in the forty districts of north and eastern Uganda has been disbursed despite withdrawal of funds by donor countries.
Peace Recovery and Development Plan – PRDP activities have not been affected by the recent scandal in the Office of the Prime Minister and subsequent cuts in funding by the donors, according to a senior government official.

 

Gonzaga Mayanja, the Commissioner in charge PRDP in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) says money for carrying out the project activities in the forty districts of north and eastern Uganda has been disbursed despite withdrawal of funds by donor countries.

 

On Monday, Mayanja told Uganda Radio Network that the funds for implementing the second quarter of activities under the PRDP were disbursed last week. He however did not specify how much money has been sent to the districts.

 

Asked whether the withdrawal of donor aid in protest of emerging theft of foreign donations would not force the freeze the project, Gonzaga said the sums of money that the donors have withdrawn was basically top-up money after an initial commitment had already been given to government.

 

His claim of the payment of the project money to the districts comes only days after the leaders in northern Uganda protested the aid cuts by donors saying they feared recovery activities in their areas would grind to a halt.

 

Launched in 2007, the PRDP is intended to promote socio-economic development of the communities of Northern Uganda to bridge the gap between the north and the rest of the country following decades of war that left most infrastructures in the region in debris. The project has four objectives comprising consolidating state authority, rebuilding and empowering communities. Others are revitalization of the economy, reconciliation and peace building.  

 

The three-year second phase of the 1.2 trillion shilling project began five months ago after the first phase budgeted to cost 1.1 trillion ended in June last year.  However, revelations of theft of donor money from the Office of the Prime Minister prompted donor countries to hold back their financial support to the project sparking fears that the action could mark the end of the project.

 

Part of the Auditor General’s findings say that 38 billion shillings meant for PRDP activities was fraudulently transferred from the respective budget support accounts to off budget project accounts and subsequently utilized without approved work plans and authority.

 

The PRDP is designed to be financed by Ugandan government together with donor countries who offer funding directly through budget grant or by implementing some of the project activities directly.

 

The Northern Uganda Social Action Fund and Northern Uganda Agricultural Livelihood Recovery projects are some of the PRDP project activities directly funded by donors such as European Union, World Bank and UK’s Department for International Development – DFID – and is bound to suffer the freeze.

 

However, like most of the donors, DFID last Friday announced they were also withdrawing their funding. Justine Greening, the DFID spokesperson said that although Britain had initially suspended aid specifically to the Office of the Ugandan Prime Minister in August, it was now freezing all direct financial aid to the Ugandan government after the evidence of corruption rising from Premier’s Office.

 

UK now follows similar moves by Ireland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark who all closed the flow of funding after the publication of a Special Audit from the Auditor General into donor funding to the Office of the Prime Minister.