By Vision Reporter
Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi has launched the Action for Transparency (A4T) awareness campaign and website to fight corruption and mismanagement of public funds meant for schools and health centres in Wakiso district.
The project, funded by the Swedish Government, will empower the public with access to budget allocation data on schools and health centres to enable the public monitor the flow and utilization of public finances.
Over 2,000 journalists and civil society activists, among others, have already been trained in Wakiso district to ensure that taxpayers’ money reaches the intended beneficiaries. It will be rolled out to Kampala and Mukono.
Under the project, using a mobile phone or computer with Internet access via the A4T website, any individual is able to check the amount of public funds allocated to each primary school or health facility and the actual expenditure, before whistleblowing.
“Corruption and maladministration are inconsistent with the rule of law for which we fought,” Mbabazi noted while launching the project at Wakiso District Headquarters on Friday.
He warned that if corruption was allowed to go unpunished, it would undermine the NRM government’s constitutional commitment to human dignity, achievement of equality and advancement of human rights and freedoms.
He said the government welcomed all efforts to ensure meaningful accountability and effective service delivery, such as those of A4T. The project is implemented by Uganda Media Development Foundation (UMDF), a Non-Governmental Organisation.
“In pursuit of the fundamental transformation of Uganda to a modern society and with its commitment to promoting zero tolerance to corruption, the NRM government has established strong institutional and legal frameworks, prioritising resources to confront this vice that pervades our society,” Mbabazi explained.
He outlined major anti-corruption initiatives as establishment and strengthening of institutions, such as the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Criminal Investigations and the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority.
Others include development of specialized legislative instruments focusing on combating corruption, and the Directorate of Ethics and Integrity to coordinate anti-corruption policies and provide political leadership.
“As a result of the NRM’s pursuit for accountability, Uganda is now one of the leading countries in open governance, especially when it comes to the budget,” Mbabazi said, quoting the internationally renowned Open Budget Index Survey which revealed that Uganda was second only to South Africa in Budget transparency within Africa.
However, he noted that despite the efforts to improve accountability in government, there were still challenges in funds that do not reach their intended destination or that are not properly utilised. He asked the people to embrace the project, and thanked the Swedish government for the support.
Anders Urban Anderson, the ambassador of Sweden to Uganda, commended the government for its anti-corruption efforts and called on the public to support the initiatives. He said the mobile application would increase transparency.
The Resident District Commissioner, Eng. Ian Kyeyune decried unplanned developments in Wakiso, calling for operationalisation of the proposed Kampala Metropolitan Physical Planning Authority to guide sustainable development in the region.
The District LC5 Chairman, Matia Lwanga Bwanika appealed to the government to seriously address the causes of corruption among civil servants, such as low salaries that demotivate them. He decried “huge monetary allocations” to politicians.
James Kigozi, the UMDF executive director, said his organisation spearheaded the project because the media could play such important roles as fighting corruption. He said the project would be rolled out to Mukono and Kampala.
Project partners include the Swedish Fojo Media Institute, Kampala-based African Media Centre for Excellence, Transparency International Uganda and the Ministries of Finance, that of Health and Wakiso District Local Government.
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