Stop Unnecessary Borrowing, Museveni Tells Finance Minister

President Museveni has in a strongly worded letter, warned his Finance Minister, Matia Kasaija, against committing the government to loans, some of which he termed as unserious.

Museveni on April 4, 2020, wrote to Kasaija, rejecting a $400 million (Shs 1.4 trillion) loan which was meant for the forest and resilience landscape project plus offering additional financing for intergovernmental fiscal transfers.

The loan was part of the Shs 3.5 trillion loan request that the Kasaija sought in January.

Of this, Shs 596 billion was to support irrigation and drainage infrastructure in Kabuyanda, Isingiro district and in Matanda, Kanungu district while Shs 447 billion was for the construction of roads and bridges for refugee-hosting districts plus another Shs 427 billion for additional financing for competitiveness and enterprise development projects.

In his letter, Museveni blamed the Finance Ministry for the “lack of seriousness and failure to use clear language” when seeking for the loan.

“I cannot understand No.3 (559 billion for the forest and resilience landscape project) unless it focuses on building an electric fence on the boundaries of the National parks. I will not approve unless it concentrates on that,” Museveni wrote.

The President also wondered how approved loan applications grew in number from four to six loans. The four approved loan applications included money for irrigation and drainage, roads and bridges projects, funding for the competitiveness and enterprise development project, and the secondary schools expansion projects.

Museveni questioned the requirement for taking a Shs 932 billion loan for additional financing for intergovernmental fiscal transfers which to Museveni is only intended to increase the country’s indebtedness “ just to buy computers to trace the money moving from one ministry to another.”

“Intergovernmental fiscal transfers, what is that? If that money is there, let us then use it to handle the issue of institutional houses for teachers in government schools and health workers in government hospitals,” Museveni wrote.

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