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Uganda’s Museveni halts approval of loans worth $1bn

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Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has written to parliament rejecting 11 loans, amounting to $1 billion that are not targeting infrastructural development.In a letter read by parliament speaker on Tuesday Museveni said that all future loan requests to Parliament will require his personal endorsement.

The Speaker said that Museveni agreed with Parliament’s position to “avoid over burdening the state of Uganda with debts that do not add value to the GDP of the country.”

Museveni also rejected a US$ 60 million loan intended for farming on computers (ICT) describing it as fancy.
“This is too much maridadi (fancy). The farmers need good farming practices, fertilizers, irrigation, bush clearing, ploughing etc and not computers because, even without computers, we know how much we produce,” he said.

He added that loans should be infrastructural based and meant for roads, electricity, railways, water transport, Information and Communication Technology, piped water and irrigation systems.

Museveni said human capital like education, skills and health, which are required continuously should be funded by the government of Uganda.

“The President underscores the need for efficiency of the public service sector and agrees that this should be funded by our own resources,” said the Speaker, who was quoting the President’s letter in her communication.

Uganda’s speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga said that moving forward, loan requests will tabled on the floor of parliament by the Finance Minister accompanied by a letter of approval from the President.

Prior to the new development, the finance minister would table any loan request and justify the request.

According to Kadaga, it’s only when the minister presents an acceptance letter from the president that the loan request will be forwarded to the appropriate Committee for consideration.

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