Parliamentary Orientation Workshop in Uganda: A new PN leadership inaugurated

April 4, 2013

The Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda, Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga has inaugurated the new leadership of the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank and IMF (PN) Uganda Chapter(*).

Kadaga presided over the inauguration ceremony during the first in a series of portfolio orientation dialogues between the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Government of Uganda and Members of the 9th Parliament who assumed office in May 2011. Delivering a keynote address on “The Role of Parliament in Promoting Development Effectiveness”, Kadaga underscored the importance of development partners working more closely with Parliament to deliver on the post- Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agenda. “A few days ago at the Inter-Parliamentary Union meeting in Quinto, Ecuador, we discussed the role of Parliaments in designing the post 2015 sustainable development goals. It is very important for donors to realize that parliament is a key stakeholder in the development process", said Kadaga. The Speaker decried the practice several years ago when development partners and Government only involved Parliament at approval stage in the loan ratification process. “Loans used to be rushed through Parliament at the last minute with the Executive arguing that the facility would expire if not approved immediately. This greatly affected effectiveness of parliament scrutiny and it was quite frustrating that one could not contribute to the programs during their incubation.” While inaugurating the new PN leadership, Kadaga said she expected the forum to “be a tool of knowledge, information and dialogue on critical development issues.” The new PN Uganda Chapter leadership comprises, Hon Geofrey Ekanya, MP (Chairman), Hon. Theodore Ssekikubo, MP (Vice Chairman), Hon. Margaret Kiboijana, MP (Secretary), Hon Rosemary Seninde (Treasurer) and Hon. Haruna Kyeyune (Member - Publicity). Delivering a paper on aid effectiveness, the Minister for Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Hon. Maria Kiwanuka, emphasized the need for strengthening partnerships with the development partners using the partnership principles jointly adopted in 2003.

" Government is now able to track and account for externally funded projects. Development partners have been responsive for to the Government’s push for better coordination to increase efficiency of aid "

Maria Kiwanuka

Minister for Finance, Planning and Economic Development

While discussing the role of the World Bank in Uganda, the Country Manager, Moustapha Ndiaye reiterated the importance of country ownership in driving the development agenda. “Our country Assistance Strategy is a direct response to Uganda’s national development plan. We support the Government to attain its development objectives –we don’t dictate at all. We let them take the driver’s seat”, he said.

Speaking on the role of the IMF and its activities in Uganda, the Senior Resident Representative, Ana Lucia Coronel described the institution as an “economic doctor, global fire fighter, and coach” that assesses economic health, manages and prevents crises, and provides technical assistance to its clients. The new PN Chairman, Hon. Geofrey Ekanya, in his opening remarks thanked the WB and IMF for the great collaboration emphasizing that the PN was not restricted to the two institutions but engages all development partners. He welcomed the World Bank’s open development process which he encouraged his colleagues to take advantage of.“The level of transparency in the World Bank and IMF is so high so Members of Parliament today have an opportunity to influence WB projects in their early stages because of the Access to information policy”, he said. The outgoing chairman of the PN, Hon. Banyenzaki said the PNoWB had birthed the Parliamentary Forum on Oil and Gas and the Parliamentary Forum on MDGs. “These initiatives were meant to promoter good governance and transparency in the management of development”, he said. Banyenzaki ceased being a PN executive when he was appointed Minister of State for Economic Monitoring last year. “The oversight role you members of Parliament play is so crucial. We should not be mere fans of the World Bank –where necessary we are critical and where necessary we applaud what they do,” Banyezaki counseled while also emphasizing the need to garner support in the fight against corruption, which he said was the key to successful development.

(*) The PN Uganda Chapter was launched in the 8th Parliament in 2007 as an independent and non-partisan forum that strives to increase transparency and accountability in the development cooperation process by fostering the oversight role of parliaments and civil society. The Network was formed to provide a platform for MPs and civil society to hold to account their own governments, as well as International Financial Institutions (IFIs), for development outcomes.

(Contributed by the Uganda Country Office, April 2013)