Fewer Projects at Risk in Uganda Portfolio, Yet Challenges Remain
The Uganda Country Portfolio Performance Review (CPPR) process culminated on August 14 with a workshop undertaken jointly by the Government of the Republic of Uganda (GoU) and the African Development Bank’s Uganda Field Office (UGFO). The CPPR which is now an annual exercise brought over 50 participants and was chaired by Mr. Gabriel Negatu, Director, East Africa Regional Resource Centre (EARC), and Mr. Lawrence Kiiza, Director of Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance. The review, which covered the period from August 1, 2011 to July 31, 2012, examined pertinent issues affecting the performance of the portfolio with the aim of finding long-term solutions.
Although Uganda’s portfolio showed significant improvement from the previous year’s review such as the decline in the number of Projects at Risk and increased disbursement rate, there are still numerous nagging challenges. Some of these challenges include delays in effectiveness, weak project designs, a lack of advance procurement as well as poor procurement planning and low quality of bidding documents and evaluation reports, delays in payment of compensation and acquiring Right of Way in infrastructure projects, and inadequate counterpart funds.
Several recommendations were made which are expected to form part of the 2012 Country Portfolio Improvement Plan (CPIP). In an effort to improve the portfolio, AfDB and GoU jointly agreed to undertake key activities such as securing Right of Way and payment of Resettlement Plans (RAP) prior to Board approval in order to avoid effectiveness delays; proactively applying the cancellation policy for non-performing projects; and engaging parliamentary committees during project preparation and appraisal as a means of expediting the ratification process as well as providing training in procurement and project management. It is also hoped that the presence of EARC will have a significant impact on portfolio performance as there is a ready pool of experts based in Nairobi to attend to burning issues such as portfolio management challenges and donor coordination activities.