Former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi has lauded United Kingdom for partnering with Uganda in the fight against corruption.
Mbabazi made the remarks after British Envoy Alison Blackburne unveiled a 130 billion shillings UK donation to Uganda to fight corruption under a new programme codenamed “Strengthening Uganda’s Anti-Corruption and Accountability Regime (SUGAR).”
The former prime minister said the programme would boost government efforts to stamp out corruption which is said to be systemic, institutionalised and a major obstacle to good governance and accountability.
The five year project funded by UK’ s Department for International Development (DFID) will be launched on Monday September 22 at Sheraton Hotel, Kampala.
Blackburne said SUGAR will focus on tackling corruption in the public sector, aiming to raise the risks for those engaged in corrupt behaviour, and ensuring they are administratively and criminally sanctioned and their assets confiscated.
She explained that the bulk of the DFID funding under the two-component SUGAR programme would be channeled to the national anti-corruption chain, for priorities identified by the accountability institutions.
The Office of the Auditor General, Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee, Public Service Commission and the Police Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Department will be among the beneficiaries of the programmes.
Others are the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, the newly created Financial Intelligence Authority and the High Court’s Anti-Corruption Division.
The second component, she explained, would focus on local government accountability. She said the US government had also offered to support the initiatives but did not specify the nature of support.
The High Commissioner commended the government for containing inflation and ensuring macro-economic stability, saying as a result several British companies want to invest in Uganda. She noted, however, that the economy was not resilient enough to competitiveness.
While the Government has implemented reforms on many fronts, including efforts to attack corruption in the public sector, the country is still categorised by the international business community as one of the most corrupt.
DFID has been assisting the Government to address the vice in the public sector, such as helping to stop payments to at least 9,000 ghost workers, which have led to savings of up to 26 billion shillings.
In most programmes of DFID’s 28 partner countries, a significant contribution is made to supporting reform of public financial management. Currently DFID directly supports strengthening national audit offices in Vietnam, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda.