MPs query Shs520 billion World Bank schools loan

Thursday September 16 2021
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Minister John Chrysestom Muyingoappears before the Education committee at Parliament yesterday. PHOTO / DAVID LUBOWA

By Arthur Arnold Wadero

The Education Committee of Parliament yesterday questioned Ministry of Education officials over the planned expenditure of Shs317b to oversee implementation of a Shs520b loan project. 

The government had planned to construct 116 secondary schools across the country to absorb the growing number of learners.

However, the lawmakers learnt, in the written submission made by the State Minister for Higher Education, Mr John Chyrsostom  Muyingo, that 60 per cent of the said money would be spent  on administrative roles.

Mr Muyingo had appeared before the Committee to explain how his ministry plans to use $150m (about Shs529.1b) secured from the World Bank.

“It is with no doubt that this rapid growth in the school aged population, coupled with the new demands posed by Covid-19 outbreak and the huge influx of refugees into the country, have put further strain on the education delivery system,” Mr Muyingo said.

He added: “This implies that the education system will have to significantly increase its current intake capacity if the country is to achieve the national universal primary and secondary school education by 2025.”

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But the Kassanda North legislator, Mr Patrick Nsamba, noted that for each school, it would cost government between Shs1.7b and Shs2.5b.

This implies that the construction of schools would only take 40 per cent of the entire project.

“I have concluded that the range of constructing these schools is Shs2b. With 116 schools, we need about Shs232b. If we are having a loan and grant of Shs540b, the rest of the money, about Shs300b, is going into management. This is highly questionable, how can other costs take 60 per cent?” Mr Nsamba asked. 

To the dismay of the MPs, government had committed Shs42b  to training of teachers and development of secondary school improvement strategies.

The Committee was also irked by the procedure the ministry had used to inform the final list of districts that would benefit from the said project.

“How is this target going to be achieved, which is this sub-county, what is so special about this sub-county in Isingiro?” Mr Jonathan Ebwalu, the Soroti West MP, asked.

He added: “Kashumba alone has benefitted from three projects but then we are talking about the gap of 116 sub-counties. How are we going to cover the other sub-counties? Who comes with this criterion of selection of schools?” 

Earlier on Tuesday, the same committee threw out Mr Muyingo for failure to come with requisite documentation on the same project.

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