By Ephraim G. Biraaro
For some time now President Yoweri Museveni has been complaining about the inefficiencies in NAADS.
It must be noted that behind the president there have been very many lamenting voices but for lack of louder microphones like the President!
While it would be right to instantly bury NAADS for its inefficiencies and betrayal of the citizens and the economy, there are certain observations to be made while at the vigil (before burial).
i. NAADS has been being managed by individuals in their professional capacity; can’t they answer their crimes committed mainly by commission, not omission?
ii. The methods that NAADS was using like paying for meetings and many times using fraudulent names to cause massive expenditure; can’t this evil be curtailed?
iii. The corruption that has been in NAADS procurement systems is equally affecting all agencies in Uganda. The moment the proposed anti-corruption bill (amendment) is done and Ugandans get tired of corruption and begin to fight it normalicy will prevail.
iv. Some intended beneficiaries have been colluding with NAADS officials to accept receipt of “air” inputs and share money.
The Government can put in place stringent audit, monitoring and evaluation methods to even capture corrupt farmers.
Some of us can foresee a number of dangers in scraping NAADS and replacing it with another technical body.
One, the same people (technocrats) will bounce back as qualified and moreover experienced since they will have money and papers to show.
Two, they will transfer their previous tactics into the new body and the government will face more frustration and attacks from its critics.
Three, these “New’’ recruits will be more threatened and the squander will be horrible. The threats are inexhaustible!
I want to suggest the following:
a) The President gives another chance to NAADS but seriously cracks a whip on culpable officials.
b) New guidelines be instituted to transform NAADS from a charity to a commercial-oriented entity.
c) The ministry of Agriculture takes up a serious supervisory role of NAADS and stop being observers and lamenters like all of us.
d) All political leaders in NAADS operational areas be involved in all planning, enterprise selection and their monitoring for accountability.
e) The issues of allowances for both staff leaders and farmers be minimised and scrutinised to reduce wastage.
f) Reporting of all activities and expenditures be given short time frames to reduce time for manipulation.
Otherwise, burying NAADS today and fronting its ghost will be a deadly blunder!
The writer is the MP for Buhweju and chairman of the physical infrastructure committee