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MPs demand accountability for funds spent on locust fight

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Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT |  Members of Parliament on the Committee on Agriculture want the government to account for funds spent in the fight against locusts.  

Uganda has spent more than 267 billion shillings in loans and donations to fight locusts that ravaged some parts of East and Central Africa and some areas in Uganda. 

Although the government said that the locusts that arrived in Uganda were not harmful and that a more destructive swarm of locusts are expected, it has continued borrowing money and receiving donations. 

On 30th June, the Ministry of Finance notified Parliament of an intention to borrow 14.8 billion shillings to fight locusts, however, the matter has not yet been finalized.       

With the largest amount of the funding coming as a loan of 180 billion shillings from the World Bank, the chairperson of the Agriculture committee Janet Grace Okori-moe says that they are taking interest in the locust funding, and also want to find out the extent at which the locusts could have caused damage.      

She says as the committee, they had planned to visit districts affected by the locust invasion and make an assessment, but it was affected by the lockdown.

When contacted, the Minister for Agriculture Vincent Ssempijja said that the experts still indicate that Uganda has big potential to be invaded by locusts. Ssempijja, however, said this was not the final position, as they were still holding discussions with experts.

In addition to the 180 billion shillings from the World Bank, Uganda received 41 Billion from the European Union, 11 Billion from the Government of Russia, 9.6 billion from Germany, 3.7 billion from the Africa Solidarity Trust fund, 490 million from United States Agency for International Development (USAID), while some 22 Billion shillings was injected by Government of Uganda.     

Other donations were received in the form of equipment and chemicals from China, while others came through Agencies like Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) among others.

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