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Govt warns districts on accountability as another phase of USMID project kicks off

The Minister of State in charge of Housing Dr Chris Baryomunsi (COURTESY PHOTO)

JINJA – Government has kicked off the implementation of additional financing for Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development Programme.

The World Bank has extended extra support of $360m (about Shs1.34 trillion) towards government under the Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development Programme-Additional Financing (USMID-AF) in order to improve infrastructure and land tenure security in refugee-hosting districts.

The Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Lands, Housing And Urban Development, Ms Dorcas Okalany, while meeting leaders of beneficiary districts in Jinja Town on Wednesday, called for maximum accountability for the success of the programme.

“I have been informed about some confusion within some local governments regarding annual performance assessments. The project support team under the leadership of Eng Isaac Mutenyo should ensure that participants go back to their stations with clear messages regarding annual assessments,” she said.

The programme will cover eight refugee hosting districts and 22 municipalities across the country. While the programme under the municipalities will majorly focus on infrastructure development, in the refugee-hosting districts, the focus will be on supporting physical development planning and land tenure security for host communities and refugees. The Lands ministry shall carry out systematic land demarcation and titling for host communities and refugees.

The third component under support to refugee-hosting districts is small scale infrastructural investments in the host communities.

For the 22 municipalities, the focus will be on enhanced capacity in generating own revenue, urban planning, providing a conducive environment for private sector investment and job creation. A total of $10m will be disbursed under municipal institutional support grants and $245m will be given for performance-based municipal development grants

A total of $60m will go to refugee-hosting districts to improve planning, land tenure security and small scale infrastructure investments while $45m will remain with the Lands ministry to administer and coordinate the programme.

Dr Chris Baryomunsi, the Minister of State – Housing, said the USMID programme is responding to the development challenges associated with urbanisation such as slums, poor sanitation, land degradation and poor infrastructure which Uganda is now facing.

“Local governments of every continent are at the forefront of managing the impact of migration as well as the promotion of inclusive, safe and sustainable societies. While local governments have no decision making power in relation to who comes to national territory or the conditions of their stay, it’s in local governments that a majority of migrants and refugees settle, with local administration as front-line service providers,” he observed.

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