By Patrick Kagenda
When the European Union last week donated 30 million Euros (Shs 87billion) to the Uganda government, its emphasis was less on the purpose and more on the risk it was taking.
The money is part of the 175 million Euro (Shs511billion) to be disbursed in six phases, is under the EU budget support to the government of Uganda ending in the financial year 2013/14. Ambassador De Visscher, who handed over the cheque, said the EU was aware of the risk it was taking to transfer the funds directly from the EU into the Uganda government treasury.
Uganda received the money amidst the worst rating by Transparency International which ranked Uganda as the third most corrupt country in the world.
De Visscher said, however, that the EU was willing to take the risk. The EU has previously disbursed money for specific projects directly to the recipeients. But De Visscer said they had decided to reduce the transaction cost there by use the government procedure which is faster. Formerly the EU was being blamed for delays in delivery of money to the government.
‘This is not free money,’ said Jeroen Verheul, the Netherlands ambassador to Uganda, ‘it is based on the joint assessment programme.’
At the Anti-corruption Coalition Uganda, Jasper Mpirirwe Tumuhimbise, the national coordinator said: ‘We welcome the EU support but they should put mechanisms in place to monitor their funds. Things should not be like they are with the Northern Bypass that was funded by the same EU and up to now the road is still enshrouded in mystery with accusations of corruption high. They should put government to account for these funds or else the money will be misused’.