By PASCAL KWESIGA
THE Government has approved over sh15b for the second phase of the Northern Uganda Social Action Fund (NUSAF II).
The project director, Dr Robert Lim Lim, said the money will be used to finance community projects aimed at improving household income and increasing coverage of basic services in the greater north.
A few months ago, sh15.8b was disbursed to the beneficiary districts to fund the approved projects.
The five-year project, according to Lim Lim, is funded by a $100m (sh235b) specific investment loan from the World Bank and a grant of over sh79b from the UKâ€™s department for international development.
The multi-sectoral community programme is an ambitious peace recovery and development project aimed at rehabilitating the communities affected by the two-decade Lordâ€™s Resistance Army war.
The Government hopes that over 10,000 projects identified by the communities will be financed by 2014.
Under the programme, community members identify projects that can address their development needs and submit proposals to the office of the Prime Minister for approval.
The project should be viable and all members of the community project management committee must have consented to it by appending their signatures on the proposals on behalf of the entire community.
Lim Lim said the money would be sent to the district accounts by the Bank of Uganda in a few weeksâ€™ time.
â€œWe have approved another sh15b. The first sh15.8b is already finished and project implementation has already started,â€ Lim Lim said.
He added that a team from the World Bank is expected in the county next week to assess the progress of the programme that covers over 55 districts in Acholi, Lango, Bukedi, Teso, Karamoja, Bunyoro and West Nile.
The programme is being implemented under three components; household income support programme, community infrastructure rehabilitation and public works programme. Each component has sub projects that should be identified by community members and approved by prime ministerâ€™s office.
Every district, according to Lim Lim, has two bank accounts; the operations account and sub projects account to check the misuse of funds.
He said the funds are sent directly to the district accounts from the Bank of Uganda to ensure that Government officials donâ€™t access the money.
At the district level, he added, the money is given to the community project management committee by the district chief finance officer.
The utilisation of the funds and project implementation is monitored by a parallel social accountability committee which works with the office of the Inspector General of Government.
â€œThe parallel committee is made up of community members who are assigned the duty of monitoring the community project management committee,â€ Lim Lim said.
Unlike NUSAF I, several Government organs are involved in monitoring NUSAFU II to ensure transparency and accountability.
â€œThe community members signed a memorandum of understanding with the districts and they know the cost of each project,â€ Lim Lim said.
He added that over 1,000 projects were being financed.
Projects that have been identified by the community are piggery, poultry, goat rearing, animal traction, dairy, sheep and cattle rearing.
Others are hair dressing, community roads and drainage, borehole, teacher houses and classroom construction.