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Minister Bahati asks MPs to approve UGX 415bn loan for irrigation

FILE PHOTO: Minister Bahati

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Minister of Finance in -charge of Planning David Bahati has asked Members of Parliament to approve a loan of up to 415 billion shillings for irrigation.

Bahati on Wednesday appeared before the committee of National Economy to defend the about 415 billion shillings for irrigation and water supply in 920 areas across the country.

Government will fund 45 billion shillings of the total loan.

Some of the areas include medium scale Irrigation schemes in Kabarole, Oyam, Kween, Nebbi, Butaleja, and Omoro. Others are small scale Irrigation schemes Arua, Ntoroko, Ibanda, Dokolo, Butambala, Gomba, Rukungiri,Kisoro,Kaabong, Napak,Manafwa among others.

The loan from UK Finance is meant to develop Solar Powered irrigation and water supply system project, in a move to enhance income in rural areas through increased production arising from irrigated Agriculture.

According to Bahati, as Government they are aware that the loan will no doubt increase the total public debt.

Bahati says they are currently at 41.8 % threshold, although the Kampala Jinja Express Highway and the Standard Gauge Railway loans which are the major remaining projects will push the public debt nearer to the threshold.

Bahati pleaded with the MPs saying they should approve the loan as Government is very strict in paying salaries and paying the loans.

Arua Municipality MP Kassiano Wadri said Government should be careful as the borrowing has become too much and the money is also not being put to its intended use.

Syda Bbumba, the Chairperson of the Committee questioned whether Government was paying its loans. He says President Museveni asked her not to process loans without his clearance.

According to Bahati,  the first component of the loan of will be urban water supply for domestic use, the second one will be for rural water supply for domestic use and the third one small scale irrigation.

In 2010, drought accounted for 38% loss in bean harvest and  36% loss in maize harvest.

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