The minister for Finance Matia Kasaija has responded to public outcry on the 40 million US dollars (about Shs148 billion) that government of Uganda is planning to secure from the World Bank.
Kasaija said that the loan was suggested by the World Bank as a requirement for Uganda to continue receiving support from the World Bank and other donors.
According to him, the World Bank had raised concern about the ability of Uganda to fight sexual violence related cases following gender based and sexual violence incidents that happened 2 years back at the Kamwenge-Fort Portal road that saw World Bank cancel the loan for that road and also suspend grants on other roads like Tororo, Mbale and Soroti roads.
“Social and environmental concerns are high on the agenda for the World Bank. It was actually the World Bank that suggested the $40m loan to sensitize people about gender based violence, put in place prevention measures, create a justice system to help with the victims but also put aside money for rehabilitation of victims,” Kasaija said.
He added that as a person, he too had reservations about taking such a big loan for that issue and they there were measures in place to curb gender based violence in Uganda and that he voiced these concerns to the World Bank officials in Uganda but was told that refusing the loan will hinder the relationship Uganda has with the World Bank.
“I was told that if we don’t take the loan, the World Bank will not offer any more assistance or campaign for Uganda to get loan assistances from donors. We had no choice but to agree to the loan but on conditions,” Kasaija said.
He added that instead of using the money for sensitisation, the cabinet agreed that the loan be diverted to education because sexual violence is mainly caused by lack of education and poverty.
Cabinet ministers on Tuesday (this week) approved a proposal to borrow US$40.0 million (about Shs148 billion) from the International Development Association of the World Bank Group to projects related to gender-based violence.
The loan, according to an official statement will be channelled to strengthening Social Risk Management and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) prevention and response projects through “increasing participation” in associated programs.
The loan is also required to increase utilization of multi-sectoral services for survivors of Gender-Based Violence in targeted districts, according to the statement.
Kasaija was speaking at the ministry of finance head offices in Kampala where he had a meeting with a delegation from Japan.