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Education ministry fails to utilize $25million from World Bank for technical schools

Ministry of Education PS Kakooza was grilled by parliamentarians on Wednesday

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Education Ministry has been faulted for failing to kick-start a $25million World Bank funded project for four years despite the disbursement of funds.

The five-year Albertine Region Sustainability Development Project III was designed to upgrade two technical Institutions; the Uganda Petroleum Institute Kigumba and Uganda Technical College Kichwamba to international certification levels. The project that started in 2014 was also meant to construct a new institution in Nwoya District.

But today, members of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament were alarmed that by the end of the financial year 2017/2018, only $3.4 million had been disbursed out of $25 million.

According to the Auditor-General, the government is likely to incur excessive commitment charges and may lead to the hurried implementation of the remaining activities leading to poor quality works.

The coordinator of the project Agnes Arach said that the design of the project required that in order to get to the international level of Technical training, the Ugandan institutions needed to twin with high level internationally recognized institutions. However, there were no responses to adverts from internationally accredited and certified institutions, leading to the delays.

Arach said it took four years to finally get international institutions on board. The issue came up on Wednesday when the Education Ministry officials led by the Permanent Secretary Alex Kakooza, were appearing before Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee.

Lwemiyaga County MP Theodore Sekikubo was however furious that the ministry had forced Parliament to borrow for a project that was not ready to take off.

Committee chairman Nathan Nandala Mafabi pointed out that there was a concern about the huge penalties that Uganda was likely to suffer as a result of the non-disbursement of funds. Although Kakooza acknowledged that there was a problem with the design of the project., he said that even the World Bank was not well conversant with the process of twinning institutions.

He also noted that the ministry lost a lot of time advertising the procurement not knowing that top institutions do not respond to adverts.

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