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Wednesday, 4 March 2009
 
Parliament met at 2.49 p.m. in Parliament House, Kampala.
 
PRAYERS
 
(The Speaker, Mr Edward Ssekandi, in the Chair.)
 
The House was called to order.
 
COMMUNICATION FROM THE CHAIR
 
THE SPEAKER: Hon. Members, I welcome you to this sitting.
 
2.50
MS CHRISTINE BAKO (FDC, Woman Representative, Arua): Thank you, Mr Speaker. I rise on a matter of national concern particularly pertaining to the peasantry of this country.
 
You may be aware that two days ago the minister in charge of agriculture released to the press information that in this country we are going to have agricultural extension services based on six households per parish. According to her statistics, therefore, we will be serving 30,000 households annually.
 
Mr Speaker, you remember last financial year we passed a budget of Shs 40 billion for NAADS and Shs 20 billion was taken as a microfinance component. According to the NAADS Act of 2001, the mechanisms of operationalising NAADS are not as they were prescribed today. A week or so ago, there was a letter from the Office of the President giving directives to ensure that only six households per parish benefit from the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS).
 
The National Agricultural Advisory Services as it is supposed to be a private sector led, demand driven extension service provision. In the NAADS Act, we are aware that this extension service is supposed to go to all farmers in this country. However, the current composition of the management of NAADS at the sub-county does not advocate for what it is in the Act. Consequently, this kind of provision today as to how NAADS is going to be implemented is irregular. It is a reflection of a total lack of respect for the law. I am, therefore, appealing to this House to pronounce itself on NAADS as it was before we can accommodate what it is right now.
 
I looked in detail at the Prosperity-for-All election promise of Mr Museveni to this country. In his manifesto, related to agriculture, there was no component related to NAADS. His election promise never premised itself on NAADS as a way of trying to be acceptable by the people who gave him the mandate. It is a total reflection of the abuse of this institution - Parliament. Before we revisit the NAADS Act, how can we see the implementation of service provision in agriculture being driven by political tendencies? The sub-county farmers forum, for example, does not include anything to do with the chairman of the Movement party in the sub-county but today (Interruption)
 
THE SPEAKER: Honourable, what exactly do you want? Do you want an authoritative statement on the matter so that we debate it?
 
MS BAKO: Mr Speaker, what I want is first and foremost, a thorough explanation to this House as to how these six households per parish came about. This is because we are trying to operationalise NAADS out of the law that established it.
 
Secondly -(Interruption)
 
MR TUMWEBAZE: Mr Speaker and honourable colleagues, thank you for giving way. The piece of information I want to volunteer here is that NAADS is one of the pillars of the Plan for Modernisation of Agriculture (PMA). It is just like NARS for agricultural research or like the component of rural finance.
 
Where I agree with you is that NAADS as of now is being taken as a holistic intervention to even include other components that would have been independently catered for under PMA. Government should have seen that there is a need to amend the NAADS Act. So, the information that anybody should take now is concentrating on amending the NAADS Act to expand the mandate of NAADS to not only deliver extension but to even give inputs and to support the value chain. Thank you.
 
THE SPEAKER: You are on the Floor, hon. Bako; I just want to know what you want done.
 
MS BAKO: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Definitely, I would want to talk but wisdom from grey hair should have been better, but that is not the scenario now.
 
What I want is for the minister to explain to this House how the Ministry of Agriculture is going to implement NAADS the way it has been prescribed and decreed by the President before consulting this House and before we amend the NAADS Act as it is.
 
Secondly, I appreciate the information given by my brother, the farmers president, but I want to assure this House and Ugandans that NAADS as a component of PMA is run as a corporate body and hence has the legal obligation to sue or to be sued. In any case farmers, even now, have a right to sue NAADS because of the way it is going to be managed if we are not very careful. So, at this point in time, I would expect a response from government because this is taking farmers and the peasants of this country for granted. I thank you.
 
THE SPEAKER: I suspect that what you are saying is that there is confusion in the minds of people as to what they expect of NAADS and you would therefore like somebody with authority to come and explain what the people should expect of NAADS. Is that not really what you want?
 
MS BAKO: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I have explicitly tried to explain to this House that first and foremost, NAADS - Mr Speaker, you were here - came into existence as a result of an Act of this Parliament. It was called the National Agricultural Advisory Services Act, 2001. Now government is deviating from that Act to include things that are not within that mandate. Why is that being done before Parliament is consulted, before we amend the NAADS Act?
 
Two (Interruption)
 
THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR ANIMAL INDUSTRY (Maj. Bright Rwamirama): Mr Speaker, I have listened very carefully to my shadow minister and she is actually implying that government is deviating from the NAADS Act. To the best of my knowledge, we are bringing in efficiency. We want to make sure that people are accountable without changing the law. Is she in order to mislead the country and this House?
 
THE SPEAKER: She is making her assessment. Honourable, we have to understand what your problem is and the kind of assistance you need from one of us either from this side or the other side. That is why I am labouring to find out what exactly you want to be done.
 
MR FUNGAROO: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. The information I would like to give is from Obongi. My colleague was talking about information regarding the shift to selected families instead of relying on groups, which is bringing conflict. From the date that information appeared in the papers, people started asking, Which family is going to be selected for assistance among the six? So, it is conflict based on the formula to be used. Why do we shift from the group format, where a group has members coming from a wider coverage, to a family?
Six families! How long are you going to take to cover the whole country? My information is about the conflict among the people.
 
THE SPEAKER: Hon. Member, there are two issues here: there is the Bonna Bagaggawale policy, which came during election of this current Parliament, and the law on NAADS which was enacted in the Seventh Parliament. You see, the two things are different. Maybe what you are complaining about is somebody using NAADS as an agency for carrying out the Bonna Bagaggawale programme. Dont you see the difference between the two? Let us get some information from hon. Kamuntu.
 
PROF. KAMUNTU: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Prosperity-for-All as a programme is very good both for the Government and the Opposition. It is prosperity for all and I have no doubt in my own mind that it is for all. You can even see that hon. Bako is very prosperous as a result of this programme.
 
The information I wanted to bring out, Mr Speaker, is that on the Order Paper, item No.7, there is a report to evaluate the National Agricultural Research Act 2005 and its impact on the performance of the Agricultural Research and Training Projects (ARTP) and how it is being implemented by the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO). Under this report, all these issues being raised are going to be responded to.
 
Finally, Prosperity-for-All is not in contradiction to NAADS. Not at all! It does not contradict NAADS but in fact enhances and promotes it. All it aims at is indeed the prosperity of the entire nation. The Prosperity-for-All programme takes on the first six families per parishes as a demonstration for the rest to emulate. It does not contradict anything. I would plead with the member and members on both sides of the House to embrace Prosperity for All. It is something you should embrace and welcome. Thank you very much.
 
3.04
MR SEBULIBA MUTUMBA (DP, Kawempe Division South, Kampala): Thank you, Mr Speaker. The honourable member who has brought up this problem has got a point. The National Agricultural Advisory Services comes from the other policy framework known as Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP) from which PMA and NAADS came. The problem with Bonna Bagaggawale, which is good, is that it is not identified with the formation of the other policies or frameworks. It is as if government is coming in with an ad hoc approach to the entire thing that was laid out in these policy frameworks. So, there is a feeling that this ad hoc manner is intervening with the actual functioning of NAADS.
 
In NAADS for example, they were supposed to lay off the original agricultural extension workers but now they are going to use them. The Presidents letter said, Get them back on board. So this is where the contradiction comes in. There is an Act which is actually streamlining the operationalisation of NAADS and it was passed in the Sixth Parliament (Interruption)
 
MAJ. (RTD) RWAMIRAMA: Mr Speaker and honourable colleagues, I want to make some clarification. Whether we belong to the other side or this side, we should really uphold the spirit of nationalism. Having said that, the issue of extension workers is really a very serious one. We have extension workers in most of the sub-counties and people were contracting money for NAADS to people who did not have the know-how and were using our extension service providers to do the work. So what we did was that this money which is going out for nothing, instead of paying extension workers (Ms Aol rose_)- I am giving clarification as a minister of agriculture so please, let me finish.
 
Mr Speaker, the issue of terminating extension workers, which is being pushed by some of our donors, can really have far reaching consequences. The person telling you that we wanted to retire extension service providers and therefore we are going to use them is really misleading you. We are using money for NAADS; instead of hiring people, we are saving 50 percent to go to these people to do the job for which they are employed to do. It is not really that we are actually bringing something new. It is just efficiency in the system.
 
MR SEBULIBA MUTUMBA: I thank the minister for labouring, but he has not proved any point at all. The essence of bringing NAADS on board was to do away with the original agricultural extension workers, and it is in the books. What the honourable member is saying is that it is better for us to bring the books back and Parliament streamlines them so that the technocrats have a set path to follow.
 
Whatever we are doing right now, honourable minister, is ad hoc. We are not following what we passed in Parliament. They should bring all the laws and books regarding PEAP - PEAP has even expired - and we bring the so called new NAADS on board and then the technocrats can move chronologically. This should be done rather than making political statements and making technocrats look like liars when actually they are not liars. It is we, the politicians, who are interfering with the law we made ourselves.
 
Remember in the Seventh Parliament it was supposed to be a trail blazing project. Members came here and were asking, What about my county or what about my sub-county; why isnt it there or what criteria did you use? This happened and the thing became thin on the ground. What we should do is to get this policy and bring it here, streamline the law and let the technocrats work. Otherwise, what we are doing, honourable minister, is ad hoc.
 
3.09
MR TRESS BUCYANAYANDI (Independent, Bufumbira County South, Kisoro): Mr Speaker, allow me to at least put this issue in a technical context. The technical context is that in order for agriculture to move, there is what we call a triangle of technology transfer. At one end of the triangle, you have the farmer who is resilient and is willing to work for as long as he has shown profitability levels, and therefore we hold that as a constant. On the other end of the triangle, we have NARO - this one is also doing well. I think there is enough technological information available on the books to be able to allow the farmer to produce.
 
The third element which is of concern now is that one of extension work. The way it is now - and this is the major concern - is that this extension service or delivery system is not connecting the research information to the farmer to levels that are acceptable in order to propel agriculture forward. When it comes to this, then one can go into details to illustrate why it is not delivering the way it should.
 
If I am allowed to move a little further, as of now we are running a parallel extension service - the traditional one and the one of NAADS - which is in my view not necessary. We could have done better by using a unified extension approach.
 
The second element that is of concern is that the methods being used by NAADS are not technically acceptable. When you begin determining the number of farmers we want to use and you predetermine the method you want to use, like using groups, it is extremely wrong. In a technical setting, an extension worker is free to use the most appropriate extension method at a given moment because they are all useful and each reinforces the other. So, I think these are the issues about NAADS and the delivery system. I think there is need for a greater debate on this issue and maybe reshaping of that project. I thank you.
 
THE SPEAKER: Hon. Bucyanayandi, can I please ask you; which ministry is answerable for NAADS?
 
MR BUCYANAYANDI: The Ministry of Agriculture.
 
THE SPEAKER: Which ministry is answerable for Bonna Bagaggawale? (Laughter) I thought it had become a technical term. The reason I am asking this question is that I think we need two statements; one on the operation of NAADS from the minister responsible for NAADS and we need a statement on how Prosperity for All operates. The two ministers should come forward and make statements, which we will be able to debate and understand and be in a position to explain to our constituents.
 
PROF. OGENGA-LATIGO: Thank you, Mr Speaker. What is going on is just a manifestation of the need that my honourable colleague raised. We have been talking about the technical side of NAADS but the most crucial side is that under the Prosperity-for-All programme, we intend to spend about Shs 500 billion. It is a lot of money. If we spend it without technical preparation, without clear targets, without a clear management programme, what will happen? It will be like what happened with the money that we gave to people under Entandikwa. People ate the money, married, organised funeral rites and at the end of the day, nothing happened.
 
Agriculture is so central to the welfare of rural Uganda and to our economy, and it needs the money. It also needs the technical input to move it forward. What agriculture does not need is politics. Once you bring politics into the process, it is dead. It therefore becomes crucially important that we get statements from these two ministers as early as possible. They should give us a very clear exposition on what is being done vis--vis the framework that we have. What are we targeting? Where do we expect to go when we implement what we are proposing to do? We will debate that and when we do, we will probably find a clear way for this country. We all want investment in agriculture desperately but we do not want wrong investment in agriculture. We do not want that management of the process which has happened before.
 
When you look at this fundamentally, you are giving those rural households one million plus. In the first place, their problem is not money; the money you give them is going to be a very serious diversion unless the process of giving it is clear. We are also rushing these things; the technical people have even been called liars by ministers and they are the guys who are supposed to help you implement. Once they look at you and they know that you do not trust them, where will they end and whom are you going to recruit to implement?
 
Let this House take the concern of the shadow Minister of Agriculture seriously and let the House also take the suggestion you gave seriously. If possible, next week, the Minister of Agriculture and the minister in charge of Bonna Bagagawale should come here to make their statements and then we can debate this very exhaustively. The money involved is too much and the people involved are too many that we cannot afford to play politics with it. I thank you.
 
THE SPEAKER: I think we should end it that way - we get statements one from the Minister of Agriculture or NAADS and another one from Prosperity-for-All. One of the Prosperity-for-All people can say, I borrowed the services of NAADS; this can be stated, but let us know what we expect of each policy.
 
BILLS
SECOND READING
 
THE MORTGAGE BILL 2007
 
3.17
THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR HOUSING (Mr Werikhe Khafabusa): Mr Speaker, I request that we present this next week because we were actually finalising a few things.
 
THE SPEAKER: You have heard; there are certain issues which they want to sort out so let us give them more time. Let us adjust to allow the Minister of Health make a statement on Polio.
 
MINISTERIAL STATEMENT
 
3.19
THE MINISTER OF HEALTH (Dr Stephen Mallinga): Thank you, Mr Speaker. Honourable members will recall that Uganda has been free from circulating Wild Polio Virus for over 12 years now. The last case of Wild Polio Virus was reported in 1996. Subsequently, Uganda was declared Polio free by the African Region Certification Committee in October 2006.
 
However, the Minister of Health regrets to inform the nation, through the honourable members, that a case of Wild Polio Virus has been confirmed in Amuru District; this was on the 25th of February this year. The purpose of this statement is to inform the honourable members about this unfortunate event after such a great achievement and action of our ministry to combat the spread of this outbreak.
 
The statement also seeks the necessary co-operation and support from the hon. Members of Parliament to ensure timely response and prevent further spread of this deadly virus.
 
Polio is an infectious disease caused by any of the three wild Poliomyelitis viruses: type I, II and III. The virus is transmitted through the oral-faecal route. A person gets Polio by drinking water or eating food which has been contaminated by the Polio virus faecal contamination. The Poliomyelitis disease commonly affects children who are less than five years of age although adults rarely get it as well. It presents itself with influenza-like symptoms of fever, pain or stiffness and weakness of the affected limb. Paralysis rapidly sets in within hours and complete paralysis, that is flaccid or floppy, within three days.
 
Only about one percent of all the infected children become paralyzed. Polio is preventable through vaccination with oral Polio vaccine.
 
The first cases of Polio isolates from Uganda were obtained in 1952, during the outbreaks which occurred in Masaka, Entebbe and Kampala districts. Those who are my age remember because one of the princesses of the Kabaka  one of the Kabakas daughters - was affected by this disease at that time.
 
In 1953, Polio type I and III were identified from Ugandan specimen in collaboration with Poliomyelitis Foundation in Johannesburg, South Africa. By 1967, all the three types of Polio viruses had been isolated and identified through the Round Table Polio Clinic of Mulago National Referral Hospital.
 
Two cases were reported in 1993, 13 cases in 1994, 10 cases in 1995 and 10 cases in 1996. 1996 is the last time we had a Polio outbreak in this country until last month.
 
A global Polio eradication initiative led by the World Health Organisation and other partners such as UNICEF, Rotary International, United States Centre for Disease Control and national governments have yielded fruits. Three main strategies have been adopted to achieve Polio eradication and these include: strengthening routine immunisation, supplementing immunisation, and surveillance. Globally, these efforts yielded fruits leading to eradication of indigenous Wild Polio Virus from all nations except four in the whole world  Nigeria, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The rest of the countries get imported cases from the above mentioned countries. In the African region, most countries that still have Polio get it from the strain in Nigeria, especially Northern Nigeria.
 
With initiation of National Immunisation Days (NIDs) in this country, launched in 1996, where all children who are under five years in the whole country are vaccinated at the same time with oral Polio vaccine, the disease was significantly controlled and Uganda saw the last confirmed case of Polio in 1996. Uganda went though a meticulous exercise of Polio free certification by the Independent African Region Certification Commission and in October 2006, this country was declared free of circulating indigenous Wild Polio Virus. This means that there was no indigenous Wild Polio Virus in Uganda including in reservoirs such as laboratories and water systems. However, the country was not free from the imported virus since all our neighbouring countries had not yet been declared polio free.
 
Due to active surveillance supported and co-ordinated by WHO, the Wild Polio Virus has been reported in the neighbouring countries as follows:
 
"  Amuru District in Uganda, a case was reported on the 25 February 2009.
"  Turkana District of Kenya, 07 February 2009.
"  Juba, South Sudan, 15 August 2008.
"  Miti-Murhesa District, DRC, 05 August 2008.
"  Rutchuru District, DRC, 24 March 2008.
"  Akobo District, South Sudan, 02 March 2008.
 
On confirmation of Wild Polio Virus in the neighbouring countries, the Ministry of Health made a response plan to vaccinate all children from 0-5 years in the districts bordering DRC and Sudan. This was carried out last year and we are going to carry it out even this year.
 
The existence of Wild Polio Virus in the neighbouring countries was enough rationale to threaten Ugandas Polio-free status and warrant a response. The districts where supplementary immunisation campaigns were conducted to prevent Polio importation are: Bushenyi, Kasese, Kisoro, Kabale, Ntungamo, Kanungu, Rukungiri, Mbarara and Bundibugyo. As I said, all the children under five years were vaccinated under the first phase with two rounds of oral Polio virus with an average of 95 percent coverage during the first round and in the second round 102 percent success was achieved, taking into account that the districts were bordering the neighbouring countries. So, the 102 percent can be explained that way.
 
The Ministry of Health conducted a second phase of Polio campaigns to cover an additional total of 18 districts making a total of 27, in addition to the nine initially covered, with an average coverage of 84 percent. You need about 80 percent coverage to prevent the spread of Polio. The additional 18 districts included: Isingiro, Kabarole, Kibale, Hoima, Buliisa, Nebbi, Arua, Koboko, Maracha, Yumbe, Moyo, Adjumani, Amuru, Gulu, Pader, Kitgum, Kampala and Wakiso. The criteria for selection of districts was those bordering DRC or South Sudan, or areas which were hosting refugees and having direct transit routes from Juba or the Congo.
 
In addition to supplemental immunisation campaigns, accelerated routine immunisation activities were conducted in Karamoja districts to prevent any importation from Kenya in the Turkana area. The districts covered were: Kaabong, Kotido, Moroto, Abim and Nakapiripirit. The objective of the accelerated activities was to boost routine immunisation in the region.
 
On the 3rd of January 2009, a 16-month-old child of Awer IDP camp, Lamogi sub-county, Amuru District, reported at Awer Health Centre III with a fever and chills after he failed to respond to treatment for Malaria by the community medicine distributor. The health centre staff started the child on injections of quinine thinking it was malaria. In addition, the health staff administered Polio, DPT Hep B and Hib and Measles vaccines as the child had not completed all the doses before his first birthday as recommended by the Ministry of Health.
 
The child thereafter developed paralysis of the left leg, which persisted until the 5th February when the mother took him to Lacor Hospital for more expert care. At Lacor Hospital, the examining doctor suspected Poliomyelitis and took a stool specimen, which he submitted for laboratory testing. The stool sample was immediately delivered to the Uganda Virus Institute, Entebbe where Wild Polio Type I was confirmed.
 
The sample was then sent to South Africa Regional Reference Laboratory for Polio diagnostics. On 25 February 2009, it was re-affirmed as Wild Polio Type I. The genotype of the virus was 99.56 percent linked to the one earlier isolated in Juba Town South Sudan confirming a recent importation of Polio from Juba into Uganda.
 
A team of experts was dispatched to Amuru District to conduct thorough investigations about the case, document possible causes and the lapses in the system that wound have led to the virus re-entering Uganda and work with the district authorities to close any loopholes.
 
The public has been alerted to ensure all children are taken to the nearest health facility to complete the immunisation schedule and get booster doses. The Ministry of Health has put in place measures to strengthen routine immunisation through streamlining vaccine and logistic supply to the districts to ensure no stakeouts, training of health workers and social mobilisation through village health teams.
 
I would like to emphasise that our team is going to start mass immunisations in Amuru District and we shall extend that immunisation to the border districts.
 
Mass vaccination to cover children under 5 years and 24 surrounding districts of Acholi, Lang, Karamoja, West Nile, Bunyoro Sub-region, that is Amuru, Gulu, Kitgum and Padre, Oyam, Lira, Dokolo, Amolator, and Apac, Nakapiripirit, Moroto, Kotido, Kaabong, Abim, Adjumani, Moyo, Yumbe, Koboko, Nyadri/Maracha, Arua, Nebbi, Masindi, Bulisa, Kibaale and Hoima. Vaccination in these districts will start from the 21st to the 23 March 2009.
 
Nakasongola, Luwero, Wakiso, Kampala, are being reassessed for possible inclusion in this response. This is a synchronised response with South Sudan, Kenya and DRC.
 
Mass vaccination in the remaining 55 districts of Uganda for children under 5 years, during the April Child Days, this will be combined with vaccination against measles, the administration of de-warming tablets against warms and also Vitamin A to prevent blindness.
 
Honourable members will remember that Uganda is a signatory to the 1988 World Health Assembly resolution No. 41.28 adopted for global poliomyelitis eradication.
 
Secondly, Uganda has already been declared polio free in 2006; any importation of Wild Polio Virus is a negation of this fundamental achievement and takes the country back.
 
Thirdly, if we do not move fast and the virus is allowed to re-establish itself in Uganda, it may cost the country ten times higher to eradicate it.
 
Fourthly, Polio causes morbidity among children. More importantly, Poliomyelitis causes permanent disability which negatively affects the productivity of the affected persons, cumulatively affecting the economy and quality of life of the citizens of Uganda.
 
Mr Speaker, I would like to appeal to the honourable members to support and cooperate in ensuring that the Wild Polio Virus does not spread beyond the affected districts. Honourable members are requested to actively mobilise their constituents to ensure that every child is fully immunised by the first birthday. You are also requested to mobilise our people to receive booster doses during the mass vaccination child days. I thank you very much.
 
THE SPEAKER: Thank you very much, hon. Minister.
 
3.38
THE SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH (Dr Francis Epetait): Thank you, Mr Speaker, and I would like to thank the Minister of Health for coming up with this statement regarding the Wild Polio Virus. You will all recall that yesterday we had a screaming headline in the Monitor which stated that 7 million children in Uganda were at risk. In fact they put up a map showing about half of the country; specifically the Northern part of the country was affected.
 
We are also aware that faecal-oral transmission cannot be limited to Northern Uganda owing to the mobile nature of the local communities. I would therefore like to say that it is not only Northern Uganda at risk, but the whole country.
 
Mr Speaker, in the same article, it was disturbing to note that whereas WHO had raised a red flag about the re-emergence of Wild Polio Virus in Uganda, it is reported that a number of attempts were made to source for money from Ministry of Finance in order to under take emergency polio vaccination programme to avert the problem, but the money was not forthcoming.
 
My major problem is that it appears government took Wild Polio Virus re-emergency as a light threat owing to an earlier declaration by the African Regional Certification Committee just three years ago that Uganda was now polio free and therefore, we tended to sit back.
 
I remember in a number of fora, His Excellency, President Museveni, would even state that if you saw anybody who was suffering from Polio, or who was lame on account of Polio in Uganda, he must have been born during the UPC days. I remember those statements and I think those were not fair statements because I know that UPC did not import Polio. (Laughter) Now, who is responsible for this?
 
I think, let us all say, We should never relax. We should never relax because this is not affecting the Movement or any one particular party. It is affecting Ugandans.
 
Therefore, I would like to call upon the Ministry of Finance to style up. It is very dangerous for us to keep ignoring technical advice from technocrats. Alarm bells were rung but money was not forthcoming. In fact, hon. Minister, I am entirely in support of the very purpose of this statement calling upon Members to give the necessary cooperation to support the need for emergency response and timely response to prevent further spread.
 
But my humble fear right now is that whereas Amuru District is particularly cited as the most affected, you know people are so mobile. What are we going to do? I would like to propose, now that the minister stated here that there are child plus days due for April next month, that it would be prudent for us to immediately undertake mass vaccination of all our children using whatever we have now, rather than wait for child plus days in April. It is also stated that even what is currently being planned for may not be enough to solve some of the bureaucratic problems in the health system. I think Ministry of Finance should come to the aid of Ugandans.
 
I remember sometimes whenever we would complain about resource allocation to the Ministry of Health, Finance would think, Why is it only Health that wants everything? Other ministries also have problems. But we cannot risk our children dying and possibly getting lame on account of Polio.
 
So, dear colleagues, I also want to take this opportunity to call upon everybody, all parents, to take special interest when it comes to immunisation. Many times, I think most men are not vigilant in following the immunisation schedules of their children. It is important. These are facts. I am a man but I keep checking on the immunisation card of my children for the next schedule -(Interjections) yes, and I would like to call upon all of us to take up the challenge for the immunisation of our children. I thank you, Mr Speaker.
 
THE SPEAKER: We must congratulate you for the diligence you have. (Laughter)
 
3.42
DR MICHAEL BAYIGGA (DP, Buikwe County South, Mukono): Thank you, Mr Speaker. I would like to thank the minister for the statement, and also the response which has been given so far.
 
I am just concerned about the laxity of government in the way they would handle such serious issues. We know for sure that many people are at risk and that the screaming news headline yesterday, if at all I am not mistaken, is the cause of the response of the minister on the Floor of Parliament. The minister should own up.
 
We should get also from this statement whether what was said by Dr William Mbabazi of World Health Organisation that this Government had been notified way back about the risk is true or not. Today we are receiving this statement in response to press statements. Many of us were not aware about this.
 
Somebody should be held accountable for this kind of laxity which causes people to lose their lives and to become paralysed and so forth. Somebody must be held responsible for this and if at all such statements come, yes, we appreciate but what is the cause of the delay?
 
In this statement, the minister reports as if it was a finding of an official of Ministry of Health, a doctor. But World Health Organisation, which is not reflected in this statement, had found that the Wild Polio Virus had come back to Uganda but that is not reported in this statement.
 
What the minister should do is to give a statement to negate the statement of Dr William Mbabazi who notified this Government about the Wild Polio Virus which had come earlier. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
 
3.47
MR FRANK TUMWEBAZE (NRM, Kibale County, Kamwenge): Mr Speaker, thank you so much for giving me an opportunity. I also want to thank the minister for the statement. I met him in the lift yesterday and he assured me that he would give us a statement today.
 
But I think there are serious concerns we need to really ponder on further. He talked of synchronising similar programmes with the DRC and Southern Sudan Governments. I think we need to know in particular, and we should be interested to know, what Southern Sudan and DRC are doing in response because the population at risk in this epidemic is not only Uganda.
 
If you are told to define the population at risk, you would be wrong to say it is only the people at the borders because there is free movement of people. So, it is important that we pick interest in knowing whether the same interventions we are administering here are the same as those of Southern Sudan. Otherwise, we would be doing so in vain.
 
My second concern is that only one case has been detected. Does that mean we have only one case? Is the surveillance system of the ministry going to dig for more? There are many others who do not come out to the clinics. So, are we sure it is only one isolated case or there are many more others that may not have come to the clinic to be reported and therefore registered?
 
Finally, it has been reported in different medical journals, and actually many public health studies have confirmed, that there is a re-emergence, globally, of diseases that were thought to have been eradicated. Polio is one of them and so is Measles. There is a re-emergence. This is well known. How prepared is Uganda in terms of research, curative capacity and prevention programmes? How prepared are we for these changing global trends in the Health Sector? Today you could be talking of Polio, yet the Measles trend will go up tomorrow. You are still fighting with Hepatitis which is also a new disease.
 
So we would want to know your capacity in terms of research, surveillance and resources to appeal to everybody because when you talk of faecal-oral as the transmission route, you are telling people to change their behaviour and lifestyle. What you are saying is that our sanitation must improve. Now it is not only your role. That means that government must integrate all its planning to make sure that we change our lifestyle, that the mass media appeals to everybody and that the national water coverage increases. So it is a big effort 
 
3.50
DR CHRIS ASIIMWE (NRM, Ntoroko County, Bundibugyo): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I would like to thank the Minister of Health for the good statement.
 
I have my reservations regarding timeliness of response to epidemics in this country. The recommended time to respond to such an outbreak, if I may recall well, is six weeks. But I am surprised that when the Polio virus was mentioned in the DRC, it took the Ministry of Health three months to carry out vaccination in the districts along the border. Although the response is a bit timely now, it is not 100 percent timely.
 
What I am trying to say is that we still have a lot of problems regarding response to epidemics in this country. This does not only apply to Polio, but also other epidemics. You have heard of diseases like Cholera. The incubation period for Cholera is very short; two to four days. But when it has broken out in an area in this country, it takes even a week for Ministry of Health to mobilise and institute measures and beef up the district teams to control the epidemic in many places of this country.
 
One thing I must mention is that even if this Polio virus came to Uganda from Sudan or wherever, if our children were fully immunised, none of them would have got this virus. What does this show us? It shows us that most of our children out there are not accessing immunisation as it is supposed to be.
 
I come from a district with very few health facilities and I remember in the late 1990s and early 2000, we used to have immunisation outreaches. People would use bicycles and/or motorcycles to reach villages where there are no health facilities to immunise children. But currently as I speak, these outreaches have died out in most parts of my district. I remember very well when Ebola broke out in Bundibugyo, it took a lot of time to identify this virus and many people lost their lives including our health workers.
 
So, as much as government is doing some work to control epidemics in this country, there is still a lot that needs to be done. And when I hear from Ministry of Health, Ministry of Finance is partly to blame for the slow response to these epidemics due to the small budget that is allocated to the Ministry of Health, especially in response to epidemics. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
 
3.54
MR MICHAEL NYEKO (FDC, Kilak County, Amuru): Thank you, Mr Speaker. I must also thank the Minister of Health for coming up with this statement.
 
This area called Awer, where the case was reported, is in my constituency and I must confirm that in the initial days, there was adequate coverage because at that time almost everybody was in camp, and it was easy to reach out to the people. So, the coverage at that time was very, very adequate and total. Therefore when this issue came up that there was another case of Polio in that area, it was really perturbing to many of us.
 
I must say that the fact that that area borders Sudan, and given the fact that the health service delivery in Sudan is still very weak, I am convinced that that could be the reason why there has been re-emergence.
 
If you look at page 2, the districts which are affected in the different countries, you find that there is a certain belt which is being affected; from Turkana, you come to the districts of Uganda, the Southern Sudan and so forth. That would mean, Mr Minister, that any intervention which will not target this whole belt will not help at all. Could there be a possibility of the Government of Uganda talking to the Government of Southern Sudan and that of DRC Congo so that when we are immunising there should be total coverage in all these areas so that there cannot be re-emergence of Polio again in Uganda?
 
It was reported, as my colleague the Shadow Minister has said, that the Ministry of Health officials alerted government way back in August, that there was danger for re-emergence of Polio in Uganda but the problem has been the release of money from the Ministry of Finance.
 
If there was any take-home I had in the last Cabinet reshuffle was the removal of that Minister of Finance, because the Minister of Finance would not actually respond to the emergencies. We had a case, one time when there was hunger; people were dying of hunger in (Interruptions)
 
PROF. KABWEGYERE: Thank you, hon. Member for giving way. The Minister of Finance had a difficulty of addressing emergencies because in our budgeting we do not yet have a contingency fund to address emergencies. This loophole is being addressed and the Ministry of Finance alongside ourselves are preparing a Bill which will be coming soon so that in our budgeting we have a percentage of the budget that is put aside to address emergencies. So it was not just his fault; it was just because there was not an allocation to address emergencies.
 
MR NYEKO: Mr Speaker that is information which I was not privileged to get earlier. But what kind of government cannot budget for emergencies? Even in your family, at home, you always have to make some contingency plan for emergencies. So, if what the honourable minister is saying is correct, then the problem is government. What kind of government cannot budget for emergencies?
 
I brought this point out because I hope with the change of leadership in the Ministry of Finance there will be adequate response to handle the emergencies. Last time we had a problem in Karamoja where children were dying and elders were dying of hunger but money could not be released to purchase food. Today we have heard again that the Minister of Finance could not release money to contain Polio in that part of the country where the Polio had been. So, I hope with the change of leadership this time, there is going to be a real change in the management of the finances of this country.
 
Finally, Mr Speaker, I would like to appeal to the colleagues in leadership; when it comes to matters of health, it affects all of us; it affects everybody; it affects every corner of the country. Even if currently the virus has not been detected in your district, I think you had better go down to each of the families in our constituencies and we educate them to embrace vaccination so that we do not have these problems anymore. Thank you so much.
 
3.59
MS BETTY AOL (FDC, Woman Representative, Gulu): Thank you, Mr Speaker. I also would like to thank the minister for this statement. And I would like to thank Lacor Hospital in a special way for their keenness in trying to see that something is very peculiar and it should be treated differently. If it were not for Lacor Hospital, I am very sure that that child would have died of that disease.
 
I would like to say that on the 22nd December, I was in Gulu Hospital where we went to the childrens ward. We found a child with a very stiff neck -(Dr Mallinga rose_)- Mr Minister let me first explain myself and then you will get your clarification. You cannot clarify before I explain myself although I am in this paper. And it is this paper that the steps taken were clearly explained by this very mother from Awer Health Centre to Lacor Hospital. I would like to say that in very many cases some children just lose their lives because of lack of seriousness in some hospitals and health centres. Whether you like it or not, it is there. (Laughter)
 
DR MALLINGA: Mr Speaker is the hon. Member of Parliament justified to misinform the House that if it were not for Lacor Hospital, this child would have died? The information is; any doctor who has been properly trained would have diagnosed this case. And it was a doctor at Lacor who diagnosed this case.
 
Secondly, is she in order to tell the House that there have been other cases in the same area? Surveillance is very strict now; we are looking at every case especially in Amur. The honourable member should not misinform the House that there is carelessness; if there was a problem at all, it was the problem of the mother. Vaccination was available but the mother did not take the child for vaccination. It is the responsibility of the hon. Member of Parliament to carry out -(Ms Aol rose_)- is she in order? (Laughter)
 
THE SPEAKER: This is not an easy case. Hon. Minister, as you remember from you statement, this child in an IDP camp was taken to one doctor. From one doctor, the specimen was taken to Lacor Hospital who were able to diagnose it and then eventually to South Africa for maybe reconfirmation. So, lay people like the honourable member here, having had that account, dont you think that she is entitled to visit Lacor Hospital for the findings? I think that is what she was saying. (Laughter)
 
MS AOL: Thank you, Mr Speaker for your wise ruling. Mr Minister, I think you were too much in a hurry. I was trying to explain myself. On 22nd December, I went to Gulu Hospital with some councillors and we found a case  I have not said that that was a Polio case - but it was a very queer disease which needed maybe attention of doctors or consultants.
 
We have consultants in Gulu Hospital but they were not available and that child was with that problem for a week. I asked those in the ward why they could had left that case unattended, they said that the consultants were in Lacor Hospital attending to examinations of medical students. Then I said, But how can you then sit with this child like this when you do not know the case, you have ruled out Meningitis and this is a very difficult case? The child was with the neck completely stiff and could not go back. I said, Why dont you refer this case to Lacor Hospital if there is no person attending to the child?
 
This is to bring to your attention Mr Minister that much as you are really behind your hospitals and your government health centres, there is a lot to be done. You still have a lot to do in the government hospitals and the lower health centres.
 
We also have our roles and responsibilities to really mobilize our people to take children to be fully immunized. But the technical people - the doctors need to do their work. Ebola was there when I was Secretary for Health in Gulu District and it was Lacor Hospital which helped us; how about those other hospitals? Those cases are normally taken but they take their time, they think that death is normal.
 
We are very happy when things come up and we must also appreciate Lacor hospital; we also appreciate your report but when we advise you to do your supervision, we do not mean that you do it yourself physically. But it is your technical people who need to do a lot of supervision because our people are suffering in government hospitals and health centres. I thank you.
 
THE SPEAKER: Hon. Members, the minister has made a statement and alerted us of what is happening and suggested solutions that there is going to be a programme of controlling the disease. I think it is for us as leaders to mobilize our people to go and get involved in the programme. I do not think we need to say much about that. Let us mobilize our people to take our children for the necessary preventive measures the Ministry has suggested.
 
PRESENTATION, CONSIDERATION AND ADOPTION OF THE REPORT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE ON THE REPORT OF THE AUDITOR-GENERAL FOR THE YEAR ENDED 30TH JUNE 2001
 
4.07
THE CHAIRPERSON, STANDING COMMITTEE ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTS (Mr Abdu Katuntu): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. This report was laid on the Table last calendar year (Laughter)- and yesterday I believe that members got their copies.
 
It is my duty to present this report but before this, I would like to acknowledge that this report was written by my predecessor and his team. My duty is just to present it and if there are any other issues arising, I will try as much as possible to answer them based on the hand over report that I have.
 
I am just going to read the executive summary of the report and in some instances I will just read the headline. However, concerning matters that are very crucial to this report, I will read them verbatim.
 
This report is presented in accordance with Article 90 of the Constitution and rules 133 and 155 of our Rules of Procedure.
 
The background is in paragraph two. Paragraph three spells out the decentralisation policy of government. Paragraphs four and five talk about the legal framework and mandate of the committee, which I dont have to go through.
 
I will read paragraph six: the function of examining audited accounts is a very important stage in the accountability cycle, which enables Parliament to exercise its oversight function and to establish whether the appropriated funds were utilised as intended by Parliament and the respective local government councils.
 
The accountability cycle comprises of the following major stages: appropriation of funds by Parliament through the Appropriation Act; appropriation by the local government councils and this includes funds from the Centre; public funds by donors and locally generated revenue; appointment of accounting officers by the secretary to the treasury, financial transfers to the local governments and local revenue collection.
 
Mr Speaker, paragraph seven deals with the methodology used by the committee. The committee received and examined the Auditor-Generals reports on local governments submitted under Article 163(4) of the Constitution together with reports of the district public accounts committees as laid before Parliament under section 89(7) of the Local Governments Act.
 
Technical officers from the Auditor-Generals office, Ministry of Finance and Planning, Ministry of Local Government, consultants and the CID PAC squad assisted the committee in technical follow ups.
 
In examining the accounts, the committee interfaces with accounting officers and their technical teams to respond to the queries raised in the audit reports and the recommendations of the district public accounts committee.
 
Confronted with a huge backlog of audit reports, the committee resolved to have the financial years 2000-2006 cleared within two years. The interactions between the committee and the accounting officers have not been smooth. Inadequate preparation by accounting officers has hampered progress and yet the committee requires books to be balanced and all funds accounted for.
 
Paragraph eight talks of the major constraints. The committee, while examining the audited accounts and district public accounts reports, encountered the following handicaps: the culture of general resentment on being accountable.
 
The committee observed that generally, people in institutions resent being accountable. This was compounded by the fact that the concept of accountability to Parliament by local government is a new one, which is still being appreciated.
 
Apparent independence of local governments and the legal powers conferred to councils, vis--vis parliamentary scrutiny. This was interpreted as interference from Parliament. The inability of district accounting officers to present standardised responses to the queries raised in the Auditor-Generals reports hampered progress and slowed decision making.
 
Contradictions between the Local Governments Act, the rules of the PPDA, the failure by district PACs to write and present the committee reports capable of meeting thorough examination and monitoring expenditure of public funds. Section 89(7) of the Local Governments Act requires local government public accounts committees to examine the Auditor-Generals reports and reports from internal audit departments of all local governments.
 
The committee was informed that some districts do not facilitate the audit departments to enable them generate reports for consideration by the district public accounts committees.
 
In other cases, some local government public accounts committees do not hold meetings on schedule though they are facilitated from the Consolidated Fund. Others hold meetings but do not produce reports. There is a huge volume of district sub county/town council and municipality audit reports that are before the committee pending scrutiny.
 
The Ministry of Local Government is, therefore, urged to approve a circular instruction, compelling district public accounts committees to examine audited accounts of town councils and sub counties while the local government public accounts committees concentrate on districts and municipalities.
 
I will leave out acknowledgements and go to the structure of this report under paragraph 10, page 9. This report is presented in two parts: the preliminary part and the reports of individual districts.
 
The findings on the basis of the general observations and recommended actions contained in this report: these recommendations, if adopted by this House, will go a long way in improving public finance management in local governments.
 
Compliance to the local government finance regulations and the ultimate objective of the decentralisation policy.
 
General observations
 
The committee interacted with officials from 44 districts at the time. While carrying out examination of the audited accounts, the committee observed that some of the queries raised by the Auditor-General could be avoided if due care and diligence was taken to ensure compliance to the Financial and Accounting Regulations and Implementation Guidelines.
 
The following were some of the most common audit queries that contributed to poor financial management and in some cases, loss of funds:
 
Compliance with accounting regulations
 
Mr Speaker, the committee observed that all subsequent serious problems stem from lack of compliance with the provisions of the Local Government Finance and Accounting Regulations and Project Implementation Guidelines. Whereas it is a requirement that all accounting officers strictly observe these regulations, this was not the case.
 
The committee recommends a continuous exercise of sensitising accounting officers with the provisions of these regulations. Serious disciplinary action should be taken against all public officers who persistently refuse to comply with these regulations.
 
Embezzlement of public funds
 
The committee observed that funds are embezzled mostly through falsification of documents, payments to ghost workers, false claims and in some cases, outright thefts are recorded as advances in the books of accounts.
 
It was further observed that whereas the law requires that public funds are to be accounted for immediately or at least within three months after the expiry of the financial year. This was not the case in many local governments. The committee was utterly disgusted with accounting officers who were still entertaining accountability in 2006.
 
The committee recommends that all accountability not submitted within the stipulated time should be rejected and officers made to refund the money spent.
 
Administrative and financial advances
 
Financial regulations require imprest earned or advances to be retired within three months and that public officers do not receive new advances before retiring or accounting for the old ones. The committee observed that advances and imprest remain unaccounted for by end of the accounting period. Subsequently, these advances are sometimes irregularly written off as bad debts without following the requisite procedures or some staff died without accounting for the advances in the stipulated time.
 
The situation is further compounded by the lack of appropriate documents and advances; ledgers in most cases are not properly maintained which makes follow up impossible.
 
Mr Speaker, the committee recommends that since most banks now give overdrafts and salary loans, salary advance should cease forthwith. From the 44 districts reviewed in this report, a total of Shs 3.7 billion remained outstanding at the end of year, both as administrative and personal advances un-recovered.
 
Incompletely vouchered or unvouchered expenditure
 
Some payments are made without the relevant supporting documents, rendering such expenditures doubtful and potentially fraudulent. A total sum of Shs 2.9 billion is reflected in this report as expenditure either unvouchered or incompletely vouchered.
 
Non remission of statutory deductions
 
Pay As You Earn, graduated tax and other statutory deductions recovered from public officers when making payments are not remitted to respective agencies like URA, NSSF and lower local governments.
 
Delays to remit these funds attract penalties that become a cost on the local authority. From the districts reviewed, a total sum of Shs 107 million is reflected as funds which were not remitted to government agencies. The Ministry of Local Government should prepare a status report on local governments. Any expenditure arising from delays should personally revert to the responsible accounting officers.
 
Non payment/delay in payment of salary, pensions etc.
 
Some districts divert money meant for such purposes for other uses in total disregard of the provisions of the Local Governments (Amendment) Act. This has compounded a problem of arrears. However, some local governments had cash flow problems due to declining local revenue.
 
Unauthorised transfers of funds
 
Mr Speaker, transfers from the General Fund account to departmental accounts are sometimes made without approval of the Auditor-Generals Office. Such omissions expose the district funds to unauthorised diversions which are contrary to regulations. Shs 2.8 billion is reflected in this report as funds transferred from the General Fund account without authority from the Auditor-General.
 
Irregular procurement process
 
There were many cases of irregular awards of tenders and contracts. There were cases of preferential treatment to some bidders, apparently after bribing the relevant officers in total disregard of established procedures that guide procurement. This has contributed to the numerous reported cases of poor delivery of services, cases of corruption, embezzlement, shoddy work, deliberate disregard of implantation guidelines and non-compliancy with financial accounting regulations.
 
Capacity and competency of some local government staff
 
Some local government staff lack relevant qualifications, thereby contributing to lack of requisite skills. Decentralization structures in some cases inherited officers who had joined as lower cadres but went up to the ladders of promotion without bothering to acquire the appropriate skills. Even after the restructuring exercise, some personnel whose appointments were degraded continued to act in posts not commensurate with their qualifications.
 
Deliberate disregard of accounting regulations and implementation guidelines
 
Financial regulations, PAF grants and project implementation guidelines impose strict conditions that must be complied with to ensure transparency and accountability. However, the committee observed that public officers deliberately fraud or ignore these regulations and guidelines leading to unnecessary queries and loss of funds.
 
Failure to avail the required documents
 
Accounting officers sometimes hide accounting documents, for example, certified copies from the bank, bank reconciliation statements, or board of survey reports, only to present them in Parliament when they are summoned. This is an unacceptable method of work!
 
Poor custody of documents relating to financial transactions
 
Mr Speaker, the committee on many occasions turned away accounting officers due to failure to present documents when required to verify outstanding queries or missing vouchers of incomplete vouching. Claims of misfiling records were common as was the claim that the responsible officers had died, hence the failure to trace accounting records.
 
Mixing up accountability
 
Sometimes accountability for different projects are mixed up deliberately to cause confusion or a cover up. This makes auditing and follow up very difficult. In some cases, the same accountability is used to certify several accountability centres.
 
Unauthorised expenditure
 
Many accounting officers incur expenditure over and above the approved estimates without seeking approval of supplementary allocations rendering such expenditure as illegal. A total, approximately Shs 26 billion, was spent over and above the approved estimates.
 
Failure to bank revenue, and poor revenue performance
 
The committee noted with great concern that in many districts revenue collections are not banked immediately and sometimes spent from source contrary to the financial regulations.
 
In some cases uncontrolled revenue accrue where there are contractual commitments to collect revenue on behalf of the local government, and no legal action is taken against the tenderers who default. This has also contributed to poor revenue performance. Shs 31.9 billion was lost as uncollected taxes and other revenue sources.
 
Irregular mode of payments
 
Many accounting officers in total disregard of the local governments financial regulations make direct cash payments to suppliers of goods and services other than paying them with crossed cheques. The regulations require that all payments to suppliers and contractors be made through banks but some districts even make advance payments to private companies before delivery of services. Shs 310 million is reflected in this report as payment made without following proper regulations.
 
Failure to implement DPAC recommendations
 
Whereas Section 89 of the Local Government Act as amended directs the district councils and CAOs to implement recommendations of the DPAC, this is not the case. In some cases, correspondences are originated to give an impression that action is being taken to enforce compliance and yet in reality this is not so.
 
Failure to have regular committee sittings
 
Some DPACs do not hold meetings as scheduled although they are now being facilitated through the Consolidated Fund. Some hold meetings but do not produce reports.
 
Broad survey reports
 
Whereas Part 15 of the regulations require the appointment of boards of surveys at the end of every financial year to verify cash balances and all stores of value on the last day of the financial year, most districts do not appoint them and when appointed, they never produce reports as required by the regulations.
 
Part 12 of this summary talks about established local government structures and the DPAC is a statutory committee mandated to examine all audit reports, internal audit reports and reports of commissions, make recommendations to submit its report to the district council and a copy to the Minister of Local Government to be read before Parliament under the provisions of the Local Government Act. The committee observed that there were inherent weaknesses with these statutory bodies. These weaknesses are the following:
 
"  The district executive committee nominates names of members to these bodies which are then presented to the council for approval. The committee observed that most district chairpersons nominate their former campaign managers or those deemed to be friendly to their leadership.
 
"  Since the members of these bodies serve for two terms on approval of the same appointing authority, they do recognise the executive and not the council lest they lose the second term.
 
"  The councils do not debate the DPAC reports and even when debated the recommendations are not implemented.
 
"  Whereas district public accounts committees are funded from the Consolidated Fund, they still do not produce timely reports or those that merit acceptability by Parliament, donors and the executive.
 
The committee recommends that the Local Governments Act should be amended to provide a reporting framework on action taken by the respective councils on recommendations of the district public accounts committees.
 
The executive committees should submit mandatory reports to the Minister of Local Government on the implementation of the DPAC recommendations and Parliament is given a copy.
 
The district councils and council committees
 
The council has executive and legislative powers. Section 10 of LGA as amended mandates the council to play the oversight role as well. The sectoral or standing committees are supposed to carry out day to day monitoring of the council in accordance with Section 23 of the Local Government Act. The finance committee has specific roles outlined in regulation 4 of the regulations to monitor all financial activities, receive all statements on the 15th day of every month and submit its reports to council.
 
The committee observed that the district council has got inherent weaknesses as here under:
 
"  Capacity of the members. Some councillors can hardly comprehend what they read let alone analyse the legalistic approaches to doing things.
 
"  Weak legal framework. For example, due to low formal education, councils and committees do not have express powers to compel compliance and appearance of public officers instead they are swayed by the public officers.
 
"  Lack of facilitation. Due to limited facilitation, councils sit at least six times a year while committees have more meetings. There is, therefore, a tendency for public officers to accumulate huge volumes of paper work that is presented to councillors on the very day of sitting requiring them to approve en masse denying them the opportunity to do a qualitative job.
 
"  The critical role played by DEC is watered down because public officers who are operationally involved in the implementation of policies and programmes are part of this body therefore when oversight of such operation is made, they tend to take defensive positions to the detriment of the council.
 
"  The speaker does not control the committees and cannot convene a council meeting without the will of the executive committee and the CAO.
 
"  With meagre funds directed towards this activity, councils monitor district activities worth billions of shillings and a lot of money is lost because of lack of technical capacity. The only viable monitoring resources are restricted to the already facilitated public officers and members of the executive committees. (See PAF guidelines and implementation manual)
 
The committee, therefore, recommends that:
 
The Local Government Act should be amended to provide for functions and powers of the committees with the parliamentary committee.
 
PAC monitoring funds should be extended to the committees of the council to perform the monitoring and supervisory roles rather than restricting them to the district executive committee and public officers.
 
Funds to facilitate council activities should be appropriated and controlled by the district speakers chambers and should not be arbitrarily withheld to deny council meetings.
 
All sectoral committees should become council standing committees and be legally empowered to compel compliance and production of documents that are necessary to execute their functions.
 
Standing committees should be facilitated to perform their functions continuously when the council is adjourned. The standing committee on finance should be facilitated to sit more regularly in order to execute its functions that are a very vital internal control mechanism as required by the regulations.
 
Internal audit
 
The internal audit department is supposed to be a management tool to help the accounting officer. It acts as the internal control to detect and prevent fraudulent activities. The internal audit department is supposed to be manned by well trained and highly integrity staff that produce quarterly reports.
 
The committee observed that very junior and sometimes not well trained staff man internal audit departments in districts which bring about inferiority complex feelings. This defeats the benefits of a strong audit department that is supposed to check excesses of administration in financial discipline.
 
Internal audit reports are submitted to the district public accounts committees and finally to council for debate. There are no responsible officers to follow them up. Indeed at times they fall under the secretaries for finance yet internal audit departments should be totally independent to provide proper checks and balances.
 
Mr Speaker, today while the committee had a meeting with all the chief administrative officers and town clerks, they raised an issue to the effect that sometimes they are the ones who provide facilitation for the auditors to come and audit them. So, you can imagine the sort of reports the auditors can produce?
 
The committee, therefore, recommends that internal audit should be manned by very senior and well-trained people who can have confidence to take on other departmental heads. The relevant ministries such as that of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Public Service and that of Local Government should act to effect this qualitative change.
 
The committee also recommends that internal auditors be well remunerated to attract high calibre people.
 
The Local Governments Act should be amended to provide that internal audit reports be submitted directly to the council.
 
RDCs
 
The Local Government Act, as amended, mandates the RDCs to monitor government programmes and activities in the districts of their jurisdiction. It also empowers them to sanction special audits in circumstances where they suspect fraud. However, the committee observed that some RDCs do not perform their duties as expected mainly because of the following:
 
1.  They are poorly remunerated.
2.  The facilitation under PAF is sometimes not consistent. They get it late; at times they do not get it at all.
3.  Some are not just committed, while others apparently get compromised by the CAOs who look after them.
 
The committee, therefore, recommends that RDCs should be well remunerated and facilitated to play their statutory roles rather than leave them to the mercy of the people they are supposed to monitor. The committee recommends that their PAF facilitation be directly paid to them and in time.
 
CAOs
 
The CAO is the accounting officer in a district. As accounting officers, the CAOs control huge sums of district resources with a lot of financial and influential power over the entire council and the executive. On this, the committee observed the following:
 
a)  That in the performance of their day-to-day functions, the CAOs are supposed to work very closely with the chairmen and the executive committees. This puts them in a compromising position with the chair. In many cases chairpersons have tended to frustrate disciplinary initiative against the CAOs by the councils.
 
b)  Because of their influence, some CAOs without due consideration of the repercussions advance large sums of money to councillors, making it very difficult for council to reprimand them.
 
General observations on the district funding and locally-generated revenue:
 
a)  The main sources of local government funding are central governments unconditional, conditional and equalisation grants.
 
b)  Local revenue sources mainly from taxable and non-taxable revenue sources; and
 
c)  Grants from NGOs.
 
The committee observed the following, Mr Speaker:
 
a)  That whereas funds from the central government sources are ascertainable, locally generated revenue is not.
 
b)  There is no effective monitoring and tracking mechanism for locally generated revenue. So, due to lack of transparency and non-disclosure of some of the sources, it is very difficult to monitor and ascertain how much money is collected as local revenue.
 
c)  The internal audit function does not effectively provide the necessary internal controls as would be anticipated.
 
d)  Shortfalls are on many occasions contributed to by political influence and nothing is disclosed on whether the revenues are not actually collected.
 
e)  A lot of funds are spent at source and sometimes without disclosure, which is contrary to the regulations that require all funds to be banked intact and promptly.
 
f)  Whereas LGDP funds are spent into the local governments to enhance their capacity to increase local revenue base, central government transfers still constitute over 95 per cent of the local budgets.
 
g)  Whereas revenue collection is a tendered activity, local governments do not enforce contractual obligations against contracting companies that fail to remit the agreed collections. In some cases they actually conspire with the contracting companies to defraud government.
 
The committee recommends that a study be undertaken to establish whether the reported reduction and poor performance in local revenues is actual and not loss that is experienced through corruption or under declaration of the actual revenues by the finance officers.
 
It is also recommended that all revenue shortfalls attributed to the removal of the graduated tax be waived as a query.
 
Special Audit
 
Following a request from the Local Governments Accounts Committee, the Auditor-General has commissioned three special audits. One in KCC to delve into matters of revenue and assets; two in Kitgum over unscrupulous granting of advances, which is likely to cause loss of over Shs 850 million because the advances have never been retires from the year 2000 to date; and three, in Pader where qualified opinions were the order of the day.
 
Mr Speaker, the special audit report for Kampala is already out; the committee will soon start to consider it.
 
Mobilisation Allowances
 
Many councils across the country pass resolutions to this effect. Accounting officers having failed to advise them against illegal council resolutions made payments to councillors based on such resolutions. Upon this, the Auditor-General raised a query and noted that there were advances which needed work plans such as activity reports and other forms of relevant accountability. These allowances are also not part of the allowances stipulated in Section 6 of the First Schedule to the Local Governments Act.
 
Surcharging and Apologies
In order to enforce financial discipline, the committee in some cases surcharged the errant officers. It also caused some to apologise in writing to the chairperson with copies to the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Local Government and Secretary to the Treasury.
 
Stores Procedure
 
The Auditor-General revealed that procurement of goods and stores was being abused by many local governments. He reported that items worth millions were purportedly procured and not taken on charge, rendering delivery and usage doubtful.
 
Wasteful Expenditure
 
Some local governments like Kasese spent millions in buying obsolete machines and equipment.
 
Excessive Expenditure on Councils
Many accounting officers spent a lot of funds on maintaining their councils than is permitted by law.
 
Mr Speaker, that is really the executive summary of this report and I beg this Parliament to adopt it.
 
THE SPEAKER: Thank you very much, chairman of the committee. Now, where is the Minister of Local Government?
 
4.44
THE GOVERNMENT CHIEF WHIP (Mr Daudi Migereko): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I would also like to thank hon. Katuntu for that report.
 
I want to request that we be given time to internalise the report and also to get the Minister for Local Government to be here in person to respond to the issues that arise from this report. I beg to request, Sir.
 
THE SPEAKER: So, we do this tomorrow or what?
 
MR MIGEREKO: We can do this tomorrow, Sir.
 
THE SPEAKER: Tomorrow?
 
MR MIGEREKO: Yes, Sir.
 
MR KATUNTU: Mr Speaker, I have no objection but I would request that the Government Chief Whip also conveys the message to the minister responsible that we have five of them already, ready and laid on the Table. The ministry should review all those reports such that we debate them and clear the backlog. We want to be up to date; we do not want any more back log on this matter.
 
THE SPEAKER: Ok. We will continue with this report tomorrow when we resume. Can we tackle another item?
 
PRESENTATION, CONSIDERATION AND ADOPTION OF THE REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE, ANIMAL INDUSTRY AND FISHERIES ON THE EVALUATION OF THE NATIONAL AGRICULTURE RESEARCH ACT, 2005 AND ITS IMPACT ON THE PERFORMANCE OF THE AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH AND TRAINING PROJECTS (ARTP 1 & ARTP 2) BEING IMPLEMENTED BY THE NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH ORGANISATION (NARO)
 
MR SERUNJOGI KATENDE: Mr Speaker, hon. Oliver Wonekha is supposed to present that report but she has just gone out. I will present the second one, which is on the Order Paper on the trip to Tanzania. It is the next presentation and I am ready. But she is also around if she can come in. (Laughter) I was requesting for permission from the Speaker.
 
THE SPEAKER: You want to deal with 8?
 
MR SERUNJOGI KATENDE: Yes. If she does not come in just now, I could start with this one.
 
THE SPEAKER: You are presenting that one?
 
MR SERUNJOGI KATENDE: Yes, please.
 
4.47
THE CHAIRPERSON, COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE, ANIMAL INDUSTRY AND FISHERIES (Ms Oliver Wonekha): Mr Speaker and hon. Members, the report of the Sessional Committee on Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries on the evaluation of the national 
 
THE SPEAKER: Hon. Members, you have the copies. This is a 16-page report. Are you going to read the 16-page report?
 
MS WONEKHA: No, Sir, I will try to summarise.
 
The report is on the evaluation of the National Agricultural Research Act, 2005 and its impact on the performance of the Agricultural Research and Training Projects, ARTP 1 and 2 being implemented by the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO).
 
Mr Speaker, last session we approved an ARTP loan for NARO to utilise. We did this work in accordance with rule 161 of the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament of Uganda.
 
The committee undertook field trips to the NARO institutes, which are listed in paragraph three in the report.
 
The National Agricultural Research Act, 2005 provides for the development of an agricultural research system for Uganda for the purpose of improving agricultural research services delivery, financing and management.
 
ARTP 2 is a US $25.5 million project funded by the Government of Uganda and the International Development Agency. Its objective is to support sustained generation and adoption of ecologically sound technology for a crop and livestock production system while enhancing natural resource use management.
 
The public agricultural research institutes are at national and zonal levels. The national agricultural research institutes, if you look at paragraph three, listed there, were established with the objectives of managing and carrying out agricultural research of a strategic nature and of national importance.
 
The zonal agricultural research and development institutes were established with the objective of managing and carrying out agricultural research for specific agricultural ecological zones. These include, Abi, Bulindi, Kachwekano, Mukono, Ngetta, Nabuin and Mbarara.
 
The committee made two separate trips, one to the east and another to the west. In the east, we visited the listed research institutes where you have the National Crop Resources Research Institute at Namulonge, the National Forestry Resources Research Institute in Mukono at Kifu, the National Fisheries Resources Research Institute in Jinja, the National Livestock Resources and Trypanosomiasis Research Institute in Tororo; National Semi-Arid Agriculture Resources Research Institute (NASSRRI) at Serere in Soroti; Ngetta Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute (ZARDI) in Lira; and the National Agricultural Research Laboratories (NARL) at Kawanda.
 
In the western region we toured Mbarara Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute (ZARDI); Kachwekano and Kalengyere Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institutes (ZARIDS).
 
During these trips, the committee interfaced with institute management committees and staff. We looked at the delivery service mechanisms and visited the facilities at those institutes.
 
Key Findings
 
At Namulonge (NACCRI), which carries out crop research we found out that it constitutes of five campuses: Namulonge, Kituza, Bulegeni, Buginyanya, Rwebitaba and Kige.
 
The achievements at Namulonge can be seen there and they include a lot of research on cassava. Members must be aware that NARO is renowned for having done research to combat cassava mosaic. They have diverse studies in different varieties of conservation. For the various crops, they have played a very big part in the popularization of rice growing in the non-rice growing areas.
 
Challenges
 
Namulonge has its own challenges. The committee was informed that whereas NACCRI has a DNA facility which was capable of storing the DNA for Ugandas population, it was non-functional due to lack of funds.
 
The institute needed financial support for the smooth running of research facilities including the capacity building programme, storage facilities, laboratories, buildings and maintenance of the staff houses.
 
Mukono NAFORRI
 
The mandate for Mukono National Forestry Resources Research Institute is to undertake research in all aspects of forestry.
 
Achievements
 
The achievements at NAFFORI, Mr Speaker and hon. Members, included: better approaches for regeneration and maintenance of the dynamics of normal forests; propagation methods for various trees species for afforestation and re-afforestation; adoption of Eucalyptus hybrid to the various agro-ecological zones; and development of the NAFORRI physical infrastructure.
 
Challenges
 
NAFFRI has challenges among which are inadequate human and financial resources as well as inadequate equipment. There is inadequate understanding of the role of forestry by the Ugandan population.
 
At Jinja we have the National Fisheries Resources Research Institute (NAFFRI). Mr Speaker, this institute is to generate knowledge base, develop and disseminate fisheries technologies for increased and sustainable production, conservation of the fisheries genetic resources, water quality and fish habitat and to develop and manage the research and required linkages in the stakeholders.
 
Achievements
 
Mr Speaker, the achievements of the fisheries institute include the fisheries resources research knowledge base that has been accumulated there; they have a fisheries search information system and management facilities well developed and established; they have also documented fisheries research findings and the various ways that it is taken up.
 
Challenges
 
You will allow me to mention the challenges as you are aware that we have a lot of challenges in the fisheries sector. This Parliament has debated that sector at length. The committee noted the following challenges:
 
i)  Declining fish stocks and fish species diversity due to excessive fishing efforts (over fishing);
ii)  Use of destructive fishing gear and methods;
iii)  Capture of immature fish and introduction of exotics;
iv)  Pollution and degradation of fish habitat including invasion by water hyacinth;
v)  Inadequate investment skills among fisheries;
vi)  Poor quality brood stock and inadequate quality fry;
vii)  Lack of appropriate feeds;
viii)  Poor pond management practices;
ix)  Limited variety of cultured fish species;
x)  Inadequate knowledge on economic feasibility of aquaculture;
xi)  Insufficient knowledge on how to control pests, parasites and diseases; and
xii)  Poor hygiene at fishing villages, which many of you represent.
 
The National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NALIRRI) Tororo
 
NALIRRI is a centre of excellence spearheading generation and transfer of improved and appropriate livestock technologies for sustainable development.
 
Achievements
 
The committee noted that the institute has made commendable progress in apiculture and control of tsetse flies that cause Trypanosomiasis; they have made progress on research in poultry diseases, cattle disease and also goats. They have a well developed research on livestock nutrition, livestock breeding and pig research.
 
They have also brought together animal research from the various institutes. Remember under the NAADS Act, NARO was restructured. So that is why we have mentioned here the fact that they have tried to bring all those components.
 
Challenges
 
i)  The committee noted that there is insufficient funding for research and technology dissemination activities.
 
ii)  There is poor remuneration of researchers in terms of salaries and allowances leading to high rates of staff turnover.
 
iii)  There is need for comprehensive repairs on the NALIRRI staff houses and workshop. This goes to all these institutes as you will find from the report.
 
iv)  There is massive encroachment of the Nalere land in Lugala Field Station. There is need to establish liquid nitrogen plants at Nalere where it is needed badly.
 
National Semi-Arid Resources Research Institutes (NASARRI) Serere
 
NASARRIs mandate is to undertake research in crops for semi-arid production systems in the areas of seed research, production and production management together with the animal traction, pasture and range management. This mandate covers five agro-ecological zones. This comprises of Eastern Savannah, Karamoja Dry Lands, Mid Northern and West Nile.
 
Serere undertakes research in the areas of oil crops, grain legumes, cereals, fibres, livestock and issues concerned with socio-economic benefits research.
 
Challenges
 
The committee noted insufficient funding for research and technology dissemination activities. There was neither water nor electricity at the station due to the accumulated bills that had not been paid. We found staff rather demoralized, the houses of the staff were in a very sorry state.
 
Ngetta ZARDI
 
Ngetta is a zonal agricultural research development institute. It is mandated to carry out agricultural research relevant to the needs of the farmers of the Mid-Northern and Northern Agro-Ecological Zone (AEZ) comprising of Amolatar, Amuru, Apac, Dokolo, Gulu, Kitgum, Lira, Oyam and Pader. All these you will notice are in Lango and Acholi sub-regions.
 
Achievements
 
Mr Speaker, the committee noted expansion of research activities not only on crops but also on livestock. They were building and strengthening partnerships and linkages with other development partners. We found out that they do right projects and corroborate with external organizations that are to do with research.
 
Challenges
 
The committee noted inadequate and untimely releases of funds for research and operation and administrative activities. Reconstituting the existing traumatized communities from IDP camps into organized farmer groups for research and development activities was a challenge covering their mandates with the few available scientists and they also showed us very old vehicles that they have to use.
 
National agricultural research laboratories at Kawanda and Malere
Mr Speaker, the national agricultural research laboratories in Kawanda and Namalere are mandated to undertake agricultural engineering and appropriate technology research.
 
The committee noted that in order to fulfil this mandate, these laboratories are constituted of the following centres: Agricultural Research Information Service Centre, Agricultural Engineering and Appropriate Technology and the rest as you see them below.
 
Achievements
 
The committee noted that among the achievements they have an establishment of agricultural research information systems with intellectual current and essential correction of agricultural referral materials in hard copies and in electronic forms.
 
They have established a gene bank for conservation of plant genetic resources in case they become extinct; and
 
In the fight against Malaria, they are busy with research on species of Artemisia which you know is a component in the Coartem combinations for Malaria these days.
 
Challenges
 
Mr Speaker, the committee noted that at Kawanda there is land encroachment on approximately 500 acres. There is inadequate funding for research and development just like at the other institutes mentioned above.
 
Mbarara ZARDI
 
Mbarara ZARDI is involved in research in crops, livestock, fisheries and forestry which are of relevance to the south western range land zone of Uganda. This zone includes the districts of Mbarara, Bushenyi, Isingiro, Kiruhura, Ibanda, Lyantonde, Ntungamo, Rakai and Sembabule. I mention these districts, Mr Speaker, because you know Members would like to know whether they are covered or not.
 
Achievements
 
We found Mbarara ZARDI is engaged in research on multiplication of quality breed stock for farmers on cattle and goats. The institute is also engaged in various pasture seed production and livestock feed conservation.
 
Challenges
 
The challenges include inadequate and untimely release of funds which is consistent with the other institutes and they needed infrastructural development that included laboratory capacity and office space. They had ageing and dilapidated livestock infrastructure which they said they needed to be put right and also in Mbarara we found serious encroachment on the institutes land. In fact, there is one veteran there who is stopping drainage of fish ponds where research on fish is being done.
 
Kachwekano Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute (KZARDI)
 
Kachwekano Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institutes mandate is to carry out the basic applied and adaptive research that addresses the needs of the South Western Highlands Agro-Ecological Zones (SWHAEZ). And it ensures dissemination of appropriate technologies, methods and information that target the interest of the stakeholders. It is composed of Kachwekano, Kalengyere and Bugongi.
 
Achievements
 
Among others, we found a strong linkage between farmers and the institutes through farmer field schools. They were also empowering farmers with technologies to address their issues. We also found there a tissue culture laboratory even though it is in a house that they have managed to transform into a laboratory.
 
Challenges
 
The committee noted that there was inadequate staffing. The staff of 23 is below their target of 41 that is needed for the work they have to do.
 
There is also inadequate infrastructure in terms of office space, laboratories and stores and they do not have electricity and were depending on generators.
 
The general observations are as follows:
 
"  NARO is still in the process of operationalising the NAADS Act, 2005. A lot of research activities in crop, animal and fisheries are ongoing. There is general outcry in the NARO research centres for more and timely funding of ongoing research to maximize outputs and outcomes. There is shortage of staff and need for staff motivation in terms of remuneration. There is land encroachment on the institutes land. Laws on fisheries in Uganda are outdated as you can see below. For example, The Fish and Crocodiles Act, 1964 and others dating back to 1950.
 
Recommendations
 
The committee recommends that the government should provide sufficient and timely funding for research and technology dissemination activities.
 
The remuneration of scientists should be increased so as to curb the high rate of staff turnover.
 
Additional staff should be recruited to fill the existing gaps.
 
A liquid nitrogen plant should be established at NALIRRI, Tororo to enable production and storage of vaccines against animal diseases.
 
The land encroachment that was reported at the different institutes should be addressed immediately through processing of land titles and prosecution of the encroachers.
 
The laws on fisheries should be reviewed to cater for the current circumstances. Mr Speaker and honourable members, I beg to move.
 
THE SPEAKER: Thank you very much.
 
5.14
MR FRANCIS EPETAIT (FDC, Ngora County, Kumi): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I am standing in for my colleague, the Shadow Minister for Agriculture. I want to thank the committee for this report, which according to the committee had the objective of evaluating the implementation of the National Agriculture Research Act by NARO, and to see its impact on the performance of the government agricultural research and training projects, phase one and phase two.
 
Mr Speaker, I would first like to thank the committee for making an effort to update Parliament on what is going on with the IDA loan. When I read through the report, what the committee has come up with is that there is trouble out there in almost all the national agricultural resources and research institutes: NALIRRI, NASARI, NAKRI, NAFURI, NAFIRI, all of them have the same factors in common; under funding, inadequate staffing, a demoralised staff and dilapidated infrastructure.
 
I think we now require an indepth explanation of the impact of the US $25 million IDA loan because when you talk about inadequate funding and irregular remittances - I think we needed to go a step further and state - in NALIRRI for example, when they talk about inadequate funding, what is their current funding requirement and what have they got? What is the funding gap? We need to be able to evaluate what gaps exist so that we can make an informed decision of how we can help. Otherwise, as it stands now, the impact is that of a demoralised staff and a report of lamentations.
 
Honestly speaking, in the agricultural sector I know research is a component that would help us out and it is not that cheap. The US $25 million, that is the equivalent of Ugshs 40 billion, may not have been enough for us to now sit back and say, All is well for agricultural research in this country. We need to establish what our actual requirement is in terms of personnel. It is pointless keeping a demoralised staff in a research institute, in dilapidated structures and expect the farmer in Uganda to benefit from this input of US $25 million. I remain with a lot of questions and my mind is still not clear as to what impact this loan has had.
 
I also want to make a comment: recently I was in Karamoja and I stopped specifically at the station that you have mentioned here called NALIRRI. I wanted to be educated on what is going on because the NALIRRI I saw about three weeks ago is the very NALIRRI I saw in the 1990s; completely dilapidated and in fact it is a bush! Here we are talking about government supporting NALIRRI. What exactly is the way forward and I guess that is not just limited to NALIRRI.
 
You have talked about Ngetta; you go to ZARDI and you find equipment, which is not worth talking about. The equipment is more tired than even the personnel who are there. Mr Speaker, as this report stands, I still go back empty on the impact of the IDA loan. Thank you.
 
5.17
MS ALICE ALASO (FDC, Woman Representative, Soroti): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker and I would like to thank the committee for highlighting the issues pertaining to these research institutes. I would like to begin by making a general observation. My thinking is that the problems of the agricultural sector generally need to be reviewed by government. The question of under funding to the Ministry of Agriculture is what is reflected here and this is part of the issues that affect the ministry. We are talking about 70 percent or more of our population directly relying on agriculture.
 
I am one of the few people in 2002 who were led by hon. Wonekha. We took that eastern route and we visited these same institutions. As she presented, I kept looking and asking Isnt she reading the 2002 report with a few amendments? I say this because this is precisely what we found out in 2002 and this is what we reported to this House. We told the House that these research institutions were in dire need and things were getting worse for them every other day. Unfortunately, I think government has not acted to address the same issues of 2002, prompting the committee to go back and bring up the same issues. We are now moving in a vicious circle of reporting without much action being done.
 
I want to state that research is a very crucial thing in a situation where we are confronted with huge climatic changes, and where we have a lot of population pressure. We cannot stick to our old traditional seeds, mechanisms and approaches and we think we are going to move anywhere with this population of ours that is rapidly growing.
 
What I note in this report, like hon. Epetait has observed, is that the question of under-funding is running across all these institutions. If under-funding is the issue and yet we badly need the output of these institutions, I think we need to reflect. I think government needs to reflect on what is going to happen with this population that is growing every other day.
 
We are talking about NAADS; at some point, I want to ask government to begin to figure out how to link the NAADS component, if there is such a component. Look at a belt like the one that is served by the research institute of Serere; we have been piloting NAADS in Soroti and the surrounding areas for quite some time and the argument has been that research should be demand-driven. In NAADS we are supposed to demand; there is money but you go to people who should be helping you to provide research findings, new technologies, new approaches and you find them in a very desperate situation.
 
If we think NAADS is going to transform communities, if we think that is the way to go, I think there should be a linkage between the funding for NAADS and the funding for research in this country. That is my proposal.
 
Secondly, I want to put a case forward for Serere. I happen to represent Serere and I think we are in trouble. If nothing is done to redeem Serere, I think buildings are going to begin collapsing, scientists are going to leave and the place is going to close. We are talking about a very dilapidated place. We are talking about scientists who are not motivated anymore because we cannot even multiply the little that they have. They put their brains to work and they cannot multiply it. They try to go home to sleep, the houses are cracked, the walls, and you know tiles; I do not know who built that research station. There is a problem of de-motivated workers because of the working conditions. There is a problem of staff retention. Who would want to go there? If I can find a better place, wont I just move out?
 
I would like to urge government to try to redeem Serere before it is too late. Serere serves a very big belt of that semi arid zone. From Serere we got the Sere nut, which we are exporting to every part of the country. We also got epuri puri which everybody is taking - eagle beer. We have everything from Serere.
 
The scientists are trying their best. The resources are not there, they cannot even move out to the field, they cannot even open gardens. This takes me to the land encroachment problem. Institutions do not even have the capacity to open up their own land for multiplication purposes. With the population pressure that we have, people have decided they will also cultivate by the side, graze by the side. There is a huge chunk of land for research purposes in Serere but there is no money to help them open up that land or even fence it. The whole problem is really terrible.
 
I would like to implore government first to reconsider linking the research institutions to the NAADS funding. It seems there is some money with NAADS. Can we think of the possibility of getting them loans? I am embarrassed to even think that we borrowed the first money because I have continuously visited these institutions, those that are on that road, and they do not seem to show that there was money. Maybe we borrowed too little. We need to rethink.
 
It would be five percent or less of our GDP in terms of budgeting for the Ministry of Agriculture. If we do not put money in agriculture, I do not see Ugandans getting rich. I do not know where the Prosperity for All programme will end if we do not put money in agriculture. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
 
5.24
MR ANGIRO GUTOMOI (Independent, Erute County North, Lira): Thank you, Mr Speaker. I want to thank the chairperson of this committee for this report, which I would like to describe as a very sad report. It is really very sad because when you look at Uganda and then you look at this institution, I think this is where the livelihood of our population lies and yet it is really neglected.
 
You call it NARO and describe it as the national agricultural research organisation. This therefore means that there is no NARO because there is no research taking place. Look at the money; I think it is time for this House to act. This is the time for agriculture to take the greatest share in our budget. Unless we can strike this, we shall not achieve any objective with this kind of report. This is not the first report that has been brought to this House since I came to Parliament. It is always like this. So what are we going to do?
 
Finally, I think the ministers concerned must come out clearly with a budget to address these issues. If there are no scientists, how are we going to carry out research work? If we have no land in some research stations  we have been told that somewhere 500 acres have already been encroached - at the end of the day we shall have nowhere to do this research. So what are we going to do immediately with this encroachment?
 
When I was still in secondary school, we visited Ngetta but what I see today is completely different. The area has been reduced I think to almost one square mile and it used to be about 10 square miles. This is because nothing is being done about this encroachment. Actually we have even realised that this land has not even been surveyed. So what is the government doing to ensure that all these research stations are utilised?
 
MR WERIKHE: Thank you, Mr Speaker, and I would like to thank my colleague for giving way. I intended to come up later for my comments, but let me take this opportunity to respond to this. This is true as observed in the report, not only in respect of NARO but many other government departments. So, what we have done as a ministry is to commission several teams that have actually embarked on identifying the inventory of all government land including institutes like these ones we are talking about with a view to surveying and giving titles.
 
In the past we have not been having titles of government land and that has led to the temptation of encroachment on this land, but that is what we are now doing. We have even issued a circular to all CAOs where we have government land saying that if we find anyone who has encroached on government land, we are going to take appropriate action, to the extent of cancelling titles. We are doing this so that we actually make sure that government gets its land for the use of different government departments. That is the information I wanted to give.
 
MR ANGIRO: Thank you, Minister. It is nice to hear that we are doing this but when are you concluding it? How long have you been at that stage that today we are still talking about, we are doing it. This is a serious concern. We are doing it has been a process year in, year out. Be serious about we are doing it. You are telling us this today and tomorrow we are going to get the same report and you stand here to tell us we are doing it! Give us the timeframe when you are going to finish this so that we are sure. This is not the first time we are hearing from the government side that we are doing it. That is an unfortunate statement. I think (Interruption)
 
MR WERIKHE: Mr Speaker, government land across the country is a lot; you cannot do it within a month and not even a year. The process has been ongoing, and I would invite my colleague to come and see some of the areas where we are undertaking land surveys as I talk now. The process is ongoing and I believe it takes a bit of time. When we are ready, we will come here and inform the House as to how far we have gone. Maybe we can even be giving you progressive reports if you want to know. I cannot say that it should be done within a month or within a year. Certainly, we are doing it and when we have finished, we will come here and inform the House.
 
MR ANGIRO: Thank you, but you have not corrected anything, unfortunately. The expectation after the IDPs returned was that we wanted them to undergo training in all sectors. My concern is that when you go Ngetta, it used to be a research station which used to help our farmers but now, you can be scared at the damaged parts of mechanisation. That is why most of the farmers fear to do farming because they say, Look at those damaged tractors; you want me to die like those tractors? Why dont you remove those tractors from Ngetta and make it clear so that you help people get a new interest in farming? Leaving the tractors as junk there is a bad example.
 
You say, We are in the process but act now. That is what we are requesting for. We know we have the capacity and that is why we are arguing that you come with your request and we see next financial year how fast you can deal with this.
 
The narrow part of it has been recovering the Irish potatoes in such stations like Kakyeka. That part of the world needs a lot of money and it needs serious scientists but look at how they are just getting away from it. I do not know if you have an inventory of how many scientists we have trained and how many are still in Uganda and why some have left. Why cant we learn from that? That is why even up to now, I still stand to say - I am very sorry  when it comes to finance, the Foot and Mouth Disease in Uganda has not even been addressed. We have been complaining about this and you are saying, We are in the process. How long does it take? For the Foot and Mouth Disease case which was detected since June last year and researchers have told you this, no money has ever been put anywhere to address this.
 
We do not want to see this kind of report next time. Let us come and say thank you to the research organisation and the scientists who are doing very well to ensure that the farming activities in this country improve and assist the quality of the crops. As a result of the efforts from Serere, we have cotton, which can grow within five or six months unlike those days. And then  (Interruption)
 
MAJ. RWAMIRAMA: Mr Speaker, I want to inform my colleague, in support of what my other colleague said, that in NARO out of 21 titles we are pursuing, we have already got ten.
 
MR ANGIRO: That is a good one because you have got something in the hands. Thank you for that.
 
In conclusion, I think this report is useful to us in that it is requesting government to ensure that money is put in place to address all these issues, and we are concerned with our farmers who are responsible for the development of this country through crops. Thank you very much.
 
5.35
THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR FINANCE (PLANNING) (Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu): Thank you, Mr Speaker. I thank the chairperson and the shadow minister for agriculture for their presentation. I would like to begin by confirming how important science and technology and innovation are in economic transformation and consequently research and development as a vehicle. The transformation of this economy really hinges onto the extent to which we can apply science and technology in the transformation process.
 
I also want to point out that the committees report was evaluating the National Agricultural Research Organisation and the impact of performance of the US $25 million that was extended to fund this programme. To judge whether or not the purpose for which this loan was given, we must have a benchmark - where did we start from? If you use such a benchmark, you will surely realise that there has been an achievement. It has even been reported in this report. When you look at page 6, for example, the committee observed the following achievements: better approaches to regeneration and maintenance of dynamics in normal forests, better propagation methods and adoption of eucalyptus. When you get to page 7 again, achievements have been mentioned as fisheries resources, research, knowledge base developed, identified and developed fisheries genetics. More achievements have been recorded on page 8; for example, it has been recorded that the institute made commendable progress in apiculture, Tsetse fly control and well developed research. More are listed on page 10 to include expansion of research activities, building soils, among others. The same applies to page 11.
 
On the basis of this, I would like to submit to you that given the stage from where we started, there is positive achievement recorded - there is no doubt about that (Interjections) and the same has been recorded on pages 13 and 14. So, I am just submitting.
 
MS ALASO: Thank you. I have been listening to you very attentively, hon. Minister. I am wondering whether you are trying to create an impression that the achievements listed here came about as a result of the loan or they were actually recorded following what the institute has been able to do over time. I think that clarification has to be given to us. We should not attribute everything that has happened during the life of that institution to that loan which was secured just a few years ago.
 
PROF. KAMUNTU: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I appreciate your observation, hon. Member, but if you listened carefully, you should have noticed that I said that before this evaluation took place, there must have been a benchmark to evaluate the impact of the US $25 million loan. As I said, my assumption was to the effect that it was on the basis of that benchmark that these achievements are being recorded. Otherwise, it is clear that there were previous achievements; I have no doubt in my mind on that. In fact, that leads me to my second point.
 
Development is a process; it can never be finality. We cannot say that because we have achieved this, we should fold our arms. That being the case, from the recommendations that the committee has made, it is quite evident that there have been achievements in the past though they also acknowledge that there have been problems.
 
I am sure hon. Alaso might want to ask a few questions relating to the recommendations. For example, where the report says, Government should provide sufficient and timely funding, you may ask, How much is sufficient? On the other one of Government having to increase remuneration for scientists so as to cover the high rate of staff turnover, you may ask, By how much? You can ask such questions but the point I am making is that yes, there have been achievements, though with challenges.
 
I am happy that the committee has made recommendations that Government will look at. We commend the committee for doing this. Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
 
THE SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, you should realise that this report is going to help you when we start the budget process. You can use it to ask appropriate questions and suggest remedial action by way of sourcing more funds to help your ministry. It is just to equip you when you meet the people concerned.
 
5.40
MR MILTON MUWUMA (NRM, Kigulu County South, Iganga): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the committee for the report. I would like to begin by asking the committee to put the record clear. The committee talks about areas visited as including some from the eastern region of Uganda, but from the geography that I know, we have never had Namulonge, Kiffu and Kawanda in eastern Uganda.
 
Still on page 3, the committee talks about NALIRRI in Jinja, but some of these institutes are closed to the public. You can hardly find a person from Busoga who knows what is done at NALIRRI Institute. They were not opened up to the public. I think Government has to take an extra mile by sensitising the community on whatever they do in their areas. Most people have known NALIRRI as only having nice grounds for wedding ceremonies. We have tussled with the Minister of Fisheries to secure fish fingers yet I think this is an institute that would be telling people where to find such things but it is not doing it. If we are to move on to fight the looming poverty in Busoga Region, as the UBOS report indicated, we should do a lot of sensitisation.
 
The other issue is to do with land encroachment. I am sorry to repeat what has been said, but I think the ministry should put in more effort to save government land. We have an agricultural government farm in Mayuge called Ikulwe, but as we talk it may be no more in the next few months because of encroachment by the public. We do not know whether the ministry has totally withdrawn and given over this land to the public. Otherwise, we think that it would be of importance to our future generation.
 
Mr Speaker, there is another issue to do with the products from these institutes. You find that when you go to Mukono and you want to buy banana suckers, they are much more expensive than if you went to a private breeder.
 
The same thing applies to Kawanda Research Institute. If you went for Clonal Coffee seedlings, they are too expensive compared to when you go to a private breeder. So, it is our humble prayer that these institutes become beneficial to the community. Mr Speaker, I beg to move.
 
5.40
MS LOI KIRYAPAWO (NRM, Budaka County, Budaka): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I also want to thank the committee for bringing this report. I have some few comments to make.
 
I am sorry to take you a little bit back but I think since the merger of these two sectors, the crop sector and the livestock sector- I am sorry, I will be excused to say that I felt that there was deliberate negligence of the livestock sector. You find that they merged these research centres without proper planning. We are saying that there was equipment, which was neglected and now it is the same equipment we want.
 
It says in the report that we need a liquid nitrogen plant. What happened to the liquid nitrogen plant in Entebbe at the breeding centre? It was doing a good job. And now here if you talk about a liquid nitrogen plant, you either import the semen or you must have the bulls where you are going to collect the semen because it is not only the liquid nitrogen plant that you need. You do not just have to have a machine there. So, we have to be a little bit committed and serious. We should not spoil what we have but maintain and improve on it rather than neglect it and then after some years, we find that the very thing we spoilt is the very thing we want.
 
Another issue I want to comment on is the encroachment on the research centres land. There was also negligence of Government land in the livestock sector. Where is Nakyesasa? Nakyesasa farm was a Government farm. Where is Njeru Stock Farm? What about Mbarara Stock Farm? Kasolwe? They are many and you find that some of this land was given to people and they have settled on it; but this was government land.
 
I do not know what happened to the other infrastructure on those farms. What happened to that infrastructure? Because now we are seeing here that we are lacking this and we want them. Even training institutions were merged without proper planning.
 
In the Ministry of Agriculture, it seems that every minister who goes there goes with his or her own plan or his or her own intention. Then where is Government? I thought there should be a Government plan which every minister who goes there must work with and maybe make some few alterations to it.
 
I would like to say that I am sure that this breeding centre in Entebbe is still there because there are staff there. So, how do we now work with those ones and the one we want to establish in Tororo?
 
I would like to thank the Minister of State, hon. Bright Rwamirama, because it seems he is the one who has gone there with an eye for the livestock sector. Otherwise, I am sorry that others went there intentionally to destroy the livestock sector yet here in Uganda, any family that has livestock in my area is regarded as a rich family. I am sure that economically, if you have livestock, then you can talk in public. I thank you, Mr Speaker.
 
5.50
MR JOHN ARUMADRI (FDC, Madi-Okollo County, Arua): Thank you, Mr Speaker. Research for academic excellence or for scientific curiosity is a luxury this country cannot afford. I want to say that our scientists are doing a good job but their work stays on the shelves and it is not translated into practical applications in our villages.
 
In the Seventh Parliament, when Dr William Wilberforce Mugerwa was minister, I told him severally that he must create a budget line to procure seeds which can be accessed by our people in the villages. He said that at that time it was difficult. I hope the next time round this can be done.
 
Recently, when the Vice-President was in West Nile on Upland Rice issues, he looked at some of our animals and he said, You have very big goats. They are very mature. But he was being very sarcastic because he knew he was looking at cows. He was politely saying, You are really living in the Stone Age. I took up this matter with the District Veterinary Officer and he told me that we did not have the facilities to keep semen. This goes to what my sister was talking about.
 
Let us make practical use of the research which our scientists are doing, by injecting money to disseminate seeds, because in my village, we are still planting the kind of seeds which my grandmother used to plant. We cannot go on like this. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
 
THE SPEAKER: Lastly, the Leader of the Opposition and then we wind up this matter.
 
5.55
PROF. MORRIS OGENGA-LATIGO (FDC, Agago County, Pader): Thank you, Mr Speaker. I thank the committee for their report. But beyond that I must express my serious disappointment with the committee. When hon. Prof. Kamuntu got up and read the title of this report I thought he was going to do what I thought he was going to do, that is -(Laughter)- saying that the content of the report does not do justice to the objective of the visit as reflected in the title. But I can understand why he went and I have no serious problem with that. (Laughter) You will soon understand where I am.
 
You see, when research was going to be restructured, I very actively participated in the many workshops that were held and I opposed the restructuring of research as driven at that time, by a very apparent objective.
 
The people who were giving us the money said, We will only give the money when NARO is restructured. At that time NARO had demonstrated its capacity to deliver useful results to the country. We had new crop varieties that were effective and we had animal activities in Serere that could have benefited people. But we went for the usual thing, that is, yielding to those who give us money and whose objective was totally different from our objective.
 
That is why I said in the first instance that I expected that this committee would stand up and say, Look, this reform that you brought and you shoved down our throats because of money is not working, because it is not working just like NAADS, with the removal of the extension services is not working.
 
At that time I said, This is wrong. I reached a stage where I was so frustrated that I left the Committee on Agriculture. We thought that the minister would say, Agriculture will not happen without resources.
 
We pushed Minister Kisamba Mugerwa on funding and he said, Ah, for me I am okay. I do not want tomorrow to hear that I am no longer minister. And he even called us the gang of four in that committee.
 
Therefore, I would like this report to be reviewed on the basis of what it should be telling this country, that is, that what we are doing is insufficient in the first place.
 
Let me say something on simple science. There is a basic principle in science which we call Liebigs Law of the Minimum. Normally, the simplest demonstration is that if a group of sheep is moving together, the speed of the group will be determined by the speed of the slowest. Regardless of how much you put money in research, if you do not put money in agricultural transformation, agricultural transformation will tie down research forever.
 
There are research results which if we had money to propagate, even without any additional research, would have immediate impact. When that happens, then there are consequential challenges that will arise. That is how research grows.
 
In our situation, agriculture is collapsing and people are proud that the contribution of agricultural GDP to our national economy is declining; we are happy. I know that the problem of these researchers is linked to the problem that we discussed this morning, supporting rural households. There must be a change from that intention to what is and what must be and that is where the role of the research will be.
 
If you went back and reviewed your report, I would have loved to, for example, see how much of this money was given went to Serere or Kawanda; how much of their needs were met since the money started going there and what gap we must fill. Also, what impact has that money created? In this report we do not see it and yet you are evaluating the loan.
 
Mr Speaker, agriculture is so important that we should find a day to let the people in agriculture and our Committee on Agriculture come and we talk about various aspects of this countrys agriculture. It is a great shame that you go to Northern Uganda and you find Sudanese paying for crops even when they are still in the field. You need to travel along the Gulu road and you see how many trucks are carrying tomatoes.
 
The potential for us to benefit from agriculture is incredible but the way we handle agriculture is almost irresponsible. What is our objective? What are our targets, whether be it on coffee or on cotton? What are our targets? Have we set those targets and said, Did we meet them or we never met them? Unless we deal with these matters in that manner these reports will not be useful and the budget will find the same resistance from the Ministry of Finance. We need to do to the agriculture budget what we did to Works, that is, give it the money it needs and then we start following from there.
 
I have been a researcher many years. I published many papers and I sympathise with people in research. They mean well for this country. To be a researcher you must be brilliant and when you are brilliant, the frustration of not being able to do what you want is terrible. Thank you.
 
THE SPEAKER: Thank you very much honourable (Mr Rwamirama rose_)- no, we come to the close. This document is going to be adopted and we use it. It can now be used for preparing the policy statement to defend the budget for next year and for NARO to prepare answers when they appear before this committee. I think let us leave it at that stage. And, therefore, I put the question that we adopt this report.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
THE SPEAKER: Yes.
 
THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR AGRICULTURE, ANIMAL INDUSTRY (Maj. Bright Rwamirama): Mr Speaker, I want to make a few clarifications but now the report is adopted.
 
THE SPEAKER: Ok. But you will make those clarifications because they are going to call you in the committee.
 
MAJ. (RTD) RWAMIRAMA: Can I briefly clarify on two?
 
THE SPEAKER: Ok, let us not be sultry.
 
MAJ. (RTD) RWAMIRAMA: I am not. Mr Speaker, I want to first of all thank Members on either side because the contributions were positive. The last one was from hon. Latigo. He said that we succumbed to pressure of desire for money and restructured NARO the way it is. Therefore, this brings the earlier debate of NAADS to the same question.
 
I wanted to clarify on a few issues raised by a few Members which need clarification. The first one was from hon. Epetait. He said that when he went to Moroto, he saw NALIRRI in the bush yet the committee was reporting successes of NALIRRI and he could not understand. Because of Karamoja insecurity, staff of NALIRRI was shifted to Serere and they are co-located there. They are still working in Karamoja on a remote basis and we are shifting them early June or July. We are working on that.
 
The second issue is about hon. Milton who said that Busoga has not benefited from the services of NARO and that they are using it for weddings and the like.
 
I want to inform him that actually at the time it was attacked, it had all the agricultural extension services on course in Ikurwe and even after being attacked, it is still sound. We have recovered it and we are processing the land title. It will still serve the Busoga region.
 
Hon. Kiryapawo talked of the Kasolwe farm take over and other farms facing the same fate. Yes, we agree that there was encroachment and we are trying to reverse it. But I also want to inform hon. Kiryapawo that you should visit Kasolwe. It is now a transformed farm, we have not lost an inch and it is going to serve the whole of Eastern Uganda. We have also developed the Kasolwe goat, which is good at milk yields and can grow as fat as 75 kilograms. Kasolwe is improving.
 
As regards the other farms, they are recovering very well and we have also restocked Maruzi. We have more than 1000 head of cattle there now.
 
As regards the issue of a nitrogen plant, I agree with members who raised this issue because we cannot improve our breeds without a nitrogen plant.
 
The good news is that Cabinet has passed a supplementary budget to make sure that we have semen produced and imported. We will also rehabilitate our nitrogen chain so that we can serve the farmers.
 
As regards the other issues, I will clarify when it comes to the debate in the subsequent period. Thank you very much.
 
THE SPEAKER: Thank you very much, hon. Minister. Hon. Members, this brings us to the end of todays business.
 
Before we go, I have this communication to make. All Members are invited to an executive breakfast meeting seminar on the dangers of homosexuality. The theme is, Exposing the truth about homosexuality and the homosexual agenda. The meeting will take place in the Parliament Conference Hall tomorrow Thursday, 5th March starting at 7.30 a.m. to 9.00 a.m.
 
Guest speakers include Dr Scot Libley of the United States, Caleb Lee of the United States and Mr Stephen Langa of the Family Life Network. All Members are invited to attend and breakfast will be served. The House is adjourned until tomorrow at 2.30 p.m.
 
(The House rose at 6.09 p.m. and adjourned until Thursday, 5 March 2009 at 2.30 p.m.)
 

 
 


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