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November 19, 2008

$400 million Ugandan agricultural development money goes unspent

By Francis Kagolo

Ugandan Finance minister Ezra Suruma is displeased that the agriculture ministry failed to spend $400m (about sh760b) for four years.

Suruma was equally angry that $75m (about sh142b) which the Government borrowed from the African Development Bank for irrigation four years ago had also not been used.

The project, he said, was supposed to be implemented by both the agriculture ministry and that of water. He said money had been spent purportedly to boost irrigation but "there is hardly a thing on the ground. There have been many workshops and travels around the country. But the sector has to be hard-pressed to show where irrigation has been done. We have challenged the agriculture ministry to utilise the money but they haven't."

Suruma attributed the ministry's inefficiency to poor design of projects and ambiguity of objectives.

Asked why his ministry had not utilised the sh760b, agriculture minister Eng. Hilary Onek said he was not aware of the money.

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