The first news that hit the Internet was from Reuters and Financial Times (FT). These are not your typical news sources.
They are the big news sources when it comes to Financial Reporting.
On December 21, 2015, both reported that the World Bank had cancelled funding for the 225km Kamwenge-Fort Portal road project in Western Uganda ($190 million).
They sighted Human Rights abuses and lack of accountability. The key one being Human Rights abuses. Those who read the news and follow what I share know that Human Rights abuses in Uganda is a very big problem.
Both news sources sighted Sexual abuse as being a key thing given that the contractors and some of their employees were violating the rights of young age girls. Yes, activists have pounced on this but you need to remember that the world is now a global village and information will get out to any corner of the world.
You might want to read this article published December 22, 2015 with the big word SEXUAL HARRASSMENT which is not tolerated in many organisations anymore because it is criminal. [http://af.reuters dot com/article/topNews/idAFKBN0U51EM20151222]
What is interesting here is some of the money was already used so Ugandans will still have to pay it back one way or another. Watch your taxes go up.
On January 4, 2015 The Observer had an article about two more cancellations. The Albertine Region Sustainable Development Project ($145 million) and The North Eastern Road-Corridor Asset Management Project ($243 million). You can read that article at http://allafrica dot com/stories/201601042152.html.
So we in three weeks we have lost funding from a key lender who has always supported Uganda and the loss is to the tune of $578 million.
When I shared this information on Social Media, some people had the audacity to say “Nonsense, Uganda can fund all these” OR “Uganda makes enough money from tourism and this is small money” OR “Stop telling lies”. The last one is what shocked me about our people. Do they not read the news? [Refer to Bloomberg news]
In addition to concessional loans, the country may receive $330.8 million in grants next financial year, down from $376.8 million projected in 2015-16, according to the document. External funding will drop in 2017-18 on account of lower grant and concessional loans, it said. Multilateral lenders to Uganda include the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, the Kuwait Fund and the European Development Bank.
Uganda may face a reduction in aid flows after the World Bank last month cancelled a transport project over contractual breaches, NKC African Economics, a Paarl, South Africa-based company, said in a research note Tuesday.” [Refer to http://www.bloomberg dot com/news/articles/2016-01-05/uganda-to-raise-more-concessional-loans-for-infrastructure-plans].
1) When World Bank mentions human rights abuses and lack of accountability, you ought to know that other funders are paying attention.
2) Who will fund those projects? China will likely do it. Nevertheless, ask yourselves what China gets as Security or Collateral before they lend Uganda money. Remember also from January 8th global market report that China is taking the global markets down so they are hurting for money too. I have a feeling that their lending terms will also become more stringent.
3) These cancellations will affect project delivery of the three of them. Well, we have to look for other lenders or donors to fund them or raise more money from Ugandans. The former will take time as others watch too. The latter, well good luck with that since so many are unemployed and URA helps businesses to shut down.
4) One thing that the writer in The Observer mentioned was that the Albertine project will affect the Oil project. His analysis was great but may I remind you all that no refinery, no pipeline, no Oil. At least the refinery. So the oil is being delayed for many reasons. Current global prices, poor infrastructure and then, then.
You have that issue of non-transparency in the Oil deals. Total hit Uganda with Arbitration while the one from Tullow has not even been settled.
Keep an eye on the abuses of Human Rights in Uganda. It will come and bite you when you least expect it. Be conscience of accountability and transparency. Not too many legitimate lenders, donors and funders like to give money and not see where it goes.
Uganda has a lot of work to do. Good luck to the president you will elect in February 2016.
Martha Leah Nangalama