USAID considering direct funding to government

KMJ 8172The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has re-affirmed its continued support to Uganda especially in the areas of strengthening the health, education and energy sectors and expansion of economic activities.
The USAID Country Director, Mark Meassick said the United States government will also continue with efforts to improve on the livelihoods of people living in rural areas.
“If we have so much vulnerability, we cannot get this economy and everything moving as long as people cannot get the basics of life,” said Meassick.
He made the remarks while presenting USAID’s strategic plan to the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga on 15 May 2015 in Parliament. USAID provides up to USD400 million annually to Uganda.
Meassick said that whilst the funds have previously been channelled through International Non Governmental Orgainzations, consideration has been made to work directly with government institutions. He said that USAID is currently working with the Ministry of Health through the National Medical Stores.
“We have provided USD23 million to the National Medical Stores for the purchase and supply of Anti-Retroviral Drugs. We expect this partnership to expand to USD100 million in the next three years. We are happy with the results so far,” said Meassick.
He added that, “there are a lot of risks in the systems in Ugandan institutions and we are still figuring out how to manage and improve them. We have so far set up systems with National Medical Stores to verify arrival of drugs”.  
He however, expressed disappointment with the Ministry of Agriculture saying that efforts to support the agricultural sector have been frustrated by uncoordinated programmes. Such programmes include the National Agricultural Advisory Services, Operation Wealth Creation and the Youth Livelihoods Programme among others which he said are associated with the Ministry of Agriculture yet uncoordinated.
“The major activities of all these programmes are agriculture and yet there is no link with the Ministry of Agriculture. We have been disappointed and we need to double our efforts to ensure that agriculture gets activated the way that it should be,” said Meassick.
He added that USAID will put emphasis on provision of quality secondary school education for the girl child and ensure that they stay in school as a way of addressing the growing population which he projects to reach 100 million by 2050.
“We are also looking at creating more economic opportunities for young people because it has a positive effect on the demographics,” said Maessick.
The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga asked the US government to consider supporting mineral exploration activities. She said that the mineral sector is shrouded in mystery.
“Mineral exploration is going on but the locals in these areas are not involved. If you want to support us, we want you to teach the local people about mineral exploration,” said Kadaga
She also said that Uganda needs advice on how to handle the issue of human and wildlife relations. She said that the current law seems to favour the wildlife, and this has fuelled conflicts and tensions amongst communities living in areas around game parks.
“There is a bill in Parliament and we hope that USAID can offer advice on how we can work on the migratory corridor. We need the animals but we also need the population,” said Kadaga.