The deputy chief coordinator Operation Wealth Creation Lt. Gen. Charles Angina has said they don’t handle any procurement and money. Below is the full statement from the general.
“Our attention has been drawn to a story published in the Daily Monitor of Monday, March 25th 2019 under the title “Army Mess in OWC Caused government huge losses – official.” Given the misrepresentation and falsehoods conveyed in the story, this is to clarify as follows;
When the government launched the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) in 2001, the aim was to provide farmer education through provision of advisory services in order to improve farming practices in rural Uganda. Following its dismissal and failure, Government directed that NAADS, under the general supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) be disbanded. However, it remained a Mini secretariat that is responsible for procurement of production inputs and contracts with MAAIF’s Directorate of Extension responsible for provision of extension services to farmer’s country wide.
In 2014, His excellency, the President of the Republic of Uganda Gen Yoweri Museveni disbanded the NAADS citing corruption and appointed UPDF Officers to implement the program. The following year, OWC which was piloted in 37 Constituencies in central Uganda was rolled out to the whole Country. NAADS was tasked to act as a Mini secretariat in support of OWC Presidential Initiative. Also to play a role like any of the MAAIF Agencies in ensuring Policies, Planning and extension services are done in support of OWC activities. As well to do Monitoring and Evaluation to ensure sustainability of this program with OWC whose specific role was to distribute whatever NAADS procured.
Significant to note, OWC intervention in agricultural sector brought about growth from -0.4% to 6.1% between 2013 and 2017, and this partly contributed to the raise of GDP growth to 6.8%. Also OWC efforts brought about an increase in the coffee export value from USD 407,000,000 to USD 555,000,000, Maize export value from USD 79,000,000 to USD 130,000,000, Cotton export value from USD 31,000,000 to USD 51,000,000 all between 2013 to 2017 among other export values.
2.Objectives of OWC
The overall objective of OWC is to ensure mindset change and positive attitude of the 68% of the masses outside money Economy and to create a system that facilitates effective national socio-economic transformation with focus on raising house hold incomes for poverty eradication and sustainable wealth creation.
OWC has specific objectives; of mobilizing the Masses to engage in commercial agricultural activities in order to boast house hold incomes, distribute production inputs timely in order to increase production and productivity at household level, facilitate rural technological upgrading to allow small farmers transform into small scale Industrialists, stimulate local and community enterprise development across the country and facilitate Infrastructure development particularly in rural areas.
OWC has greatly achieved in creating debate in agricultural sector, the arguments are constructive and better results are expected in the near future. We continue to identify the existing gaps in the sector which will help to provide targeted intervention in the sector and we connected the Government to the people.
Millions of Ugandans have responded to the Operation and are eager to participate, especially by receiving inputs and value addition equipment. Mobilization of stakeholders in agricultural sector, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Makerere University, Grain council, Banks and their warehousing system, Microfinance Institutions are beginning to position themselves.
3.Challenges faced by OWC
However, there is Lack of coordination by mandated agencies, Lack of structured marketing system, Low level of financing and failure to work out a partnership between the public and private sectors.
OWC still encounters Quality issues for both planting and breeding inputs also late procurement of the required inputs and post-harvest losses. This is an area which we have focused on for urgent attention. Some farmers also lack integrity coupled with high inflating of what is allegedly issued by the seeds/nursery operators.
The Namukekera Rural Industrial Centre model provides a good starting point and need to be considered to avoid losing more time. Similarly, unclear standard Operation Procedure for the government actors on deployment of military Officers in various constituencies and their roles despite the intervention by H.E the President.
Therefore, the story in which Ms Beatrice Byarugaba, the Director of extension services in the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries is quoted alleging that the Army’s Operation Wealth Creation Intervention made the government suffer huge losses in the initial stages because the program was messed up by Soldiers is unfortunate, unfounded and lack ingredients of basic facts of reality. This allegation again contradicts the truth of what caused government to roll out the pilot effort (Initial stages) to the entire country, which was as a result of great success. We shall definitely assume the could have been misquoted because this is not true and OWC’s roles had nothing to do with extension services.
It is categorically clear that OWC plays an oversight role through monitoring and Evaluation and effective coordination of service delivery of both inputs and their progressive growth as NAADS drives the procurement process. There is no truth in comments attributed to Ms Beatrice Byarugaba as OWC does not handle the procurement system which involves huge sums of money.
Otherwise OWC will continue to play a coordination role with all government agencies and stakeholders, play an oversight role to ensure that farmers get right quality inputs and coordinate full value chain of production including post-harvest handling and agro-processing.
The country should be aware that OWC is entering its second phase which is AGRI-LED that is already approved by the Cabinet and the PIMA which will be presented by the Ministry of Finance.
This Initiative will run as long as the AGRILED awaits the budget to roll it out to the entire country”.
CHARLES ANGINA cgsc(USA),ndu (China)
Deputy Chief Coordinator