It’s amazing how reading the book ‘Dead Aid’ by Dambisa Moyo has suddenly made me very aware of how the misuse of development aid is destined to keep us poor and dependent. I have not had to wait more than two weeks before the the personification of this fact appeared in the form of the hideous deputy prime minister Gen. Moses Ali.
The issue at hand was the revolt by young members of parliament who would simply not approve a world bank loan because they felt that the reason it was being sought was did not seem to be for the benefit of Ugandans. In short they were saying that we do not need to borrow money if we do not need it.
Common sense, one would think. That was until the honorable retired general Moses Ali stood up and told the rebellious members of parliament to just approve the loan and leave the discussion of the details to another time as the World Bank wanted the agreement signed within the next two days!
When the MPs jeered and booed, he responded by saying he could not understand how Uganda could refuse money when it is being freely offered, other countries might get the money instead. The fact that generations of citizens will be committed to paying off the ‘free’ loan was clearly lost on him, or was it? I guess that fact that the fat political classes have been feeding off the carcass of tax payers for years has insulated from the realities of life, or worse they are far too thick to grasp the basics of economics.
The scenario deteriorated even further today. Apparently the Uganda government Spends close to $150million a year on the treatment abroad for Ugandans. Why this is shocking is that this figure is equivalent to the amount that multilateral donors loan to Uganda to support her health services. And therefore as we get more indebted the same money is used to send people abroad for treatment rather than improve health facilities in the country.
But the real devil is in the detail: Who exactly is being treated abroad and for what ailments? The answer is simple, only the well connected senior government officials and their close relatives have a chance of getting approvals from the medical council and the treasury to access this funding. It’s very telling that the permanent secretary for ministry of Health says ‘ you cannot tell people where they should be treated’!!!! With public funding??? I was speechless.
One can only imagine how much would be needed to put Mulago Hospital back on her feet, how much would it take to provide maternity kits in every district hospital, ow much would it cost to provide an ambulance at every health centre. The truth is the people who can bring about change don’t really care, they borrow money in our names and then use it to send their daughters to Germany to have their babies. Dead AID indeed.