search http://consolibyte.com/wp-content/plugins/contact-form-7/modules/file.php geneva; font-size: small;”>Beneficiaries to this frozen aid are now pondering other alternative sources of funding to keep their businesses afloat and once such program is the Peace Restoration and Development Program (PRDP).
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website like this geneva; font-size: small;”>The program was launched in 2007 to bring stability in the war torn northern Uganda and help bridge the gap between the region and the rest of the country. It was anticipated to run up to 2015.
However, alleged embezzlement of billions of shillings meant for the project from the OPM has since led to the Aid being unplugged on top of compelling government to refund up to Shs 38bn back to the donor countries.
Civil society organizations that have been pivotal in peace and development restoration in the region for the last two decades have now expressed pessimism over ‘lack of government’s ability and incentive to run the PRDP or any other development programs’ and are thus asking that it hands over to management to ‘other alternatives.’
Addressing reporters on the matter in Kampala on Tuesday, Action Aid Uganda’s Arthur Larok said government had confirmed its inability to recover stolen money from its corrupt officials implying that anything to be refunded to the donors will have to be obtained from tax payers’ money.
He thus asked central government to have some sense of guilt and excuse itself from running these donor funded programs and hand them over to civil society organizations, religious institutions or even local governments.
“We have seen in Uganda very strong and steady institutions like schools and health facilities being run solely by churches. Their activities are almost flawless and it’s no wonder many missionary founded enterprises are still in existence,” he said.
He added that CSO’s have proven their abilities in service delivery in the region and that if entrusted with such mandate they would not be scandals to the OPM magnitude.
“The private sector and local governments are other fine options to replace central government because they are more transparent and closer to the people,” he said.
Northern Uganda was engulfed in LRA rebel insurgencies for the last 2 decades which destroyed the socio-economic and political fiber, of society claiming lives of tens of thousands and displacing hundreds of thousands.
In spite of various programs tailored to bring the region back on truck, studies continue to point to deficiencies in socio economic transformation. Infrastructure like roads are still in poor state, the region is lagging behind in education while health services and poverty eradication programs are the most wanting in the country.
NGO Forum’s Eric Odong told reporters that people in Gulu are still detached from such development programs and thus created a gap for thieves to run away with program funds due to lack of follow up.
“We are now grappling with a simmering tension between locals and leaders over government investment interests in the region such as the proposed Madivhani foundation sugar plant as well as preliminary oil explorations,” he said.
“The trust we hoped for after the juba peace talks does not seem to breed results so far,” added Odong.