Uganda has been considered one of the countries where public investment is characterised by poor planning, etc.
By Irene Achola
Over the past years, we have seen an increase in financial allocations to infrastructure development projects, with the works and transport sector receiving sh4.6 trillion in the current budget.
It becomes imperative to have such investments closely monitored to spur economic development.
It has been argued that most of the investments made in the infrastructure development projects over the last decade have not benefited the average Ugandan.
It is not surprising that the World Bank observed that there hasn't been sufficient value for money for public projects over the past 10 years. In the recent report by PwC, 2017 they mention that, to yield results on such huge investments in infrastructure development projects, the design and implementation of these works has to be closely monitored and evaluated to get value for money.
Uganda has been considered one of the countries where public investment is characterised by poor planning, delays in procurement processes and under execution of works (IMF Report, 2013).
Therefore, to fully realise the actual social and economic benefits, there must be better management of the public resources. According to a study carried out by the Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment in Assessing Public Expenditure Governance in Uganda's Road Sector, it was discovered that poor road construction was mainly attributed to the absence of sufficient monitoring and evaluation.
The study by the Office of the Auditor General in 2009 also indicated that all the districts that were covered by the engineering audit did not have work plans scheduled with monitoring and evaluation visits.
Furthermore, the Engineering Audit report also indicated that Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) also had weakness in supervision and monitoring of works contracts. In addition to this, UNRA also lacked the adequate capacity to undertake effective monitoring of multiple projects being implemented concurrently. It is important that the Government addresses the issue of whether the infrastructure development projects are achieving what they were meant to achieve. Supervision and monitoring will help in addressing some of these concerns as it helps to hold leaders accountable.
The huge investments in the infrastructure development projects should be able to benefit the people of Uganda but good public expenditure governance has to be emphasised so that Ugandans can fully enjoy the economic benefits.
The writer research officer with the Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment