The Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah has held talks with USAID Country Director, Richard Nelson over the need to come up with programs aimed at strengthening Parliament’s oversight and accountability roles.
The speaker was accompanied to the meeting by the Chief Opposition Whip, Hon John Baptiste Nambeshe and Clerk to Parliament, Hon Adolf Mwesige Kasaija.
High on the agenda was the need to revive mutual cooperation between the two institutions with the aim of offering better services to Ugandans.
In the meeting, Oulanyah asked the USAID to remodel the nature of training they give to legislators to be of specific relevance to the tasks they handle.
He told them that some trainings like, Human rights and good governance, which have been of concern to donors and international partners may not be of direct relevance to how MPs will pass the budget, how to efficiently and thoroughly process accountability.
The speaker further noted that the most important area that will aid in the realisation of the agenda to replace empty rhetoric’s with policies that benefit Ugandans, is strengthening oversight, and raising the bar of its nature, to include value for money and impact audits that examine the extent to which real lives got transformed as a result of policies implemented.
“If we strengthen oversight and accountability, this will bring clarity in accountability, and a strong signal will be sent to the people who actually engage in corruption,” he said.
The speaker added that, “When we audit, we also want to say yes, this is the receipt for the procurements to do such and such an activity, but we must find out how ordinary lives changed as a result of that.”
On his part, the USAID Uganda Mission, Nelson said the international development agency is keen on renewing partnerships with Parliament to engender better health, education and security.
“Uganda is the 10th largest USAID mission in the world with a budget of over US$450 million; we fund a lot on health, education and the civil society,” he said
Nelson added that the Parliament political processes, is a program the agency is keen to partner with Parliament on.
“Currently, there is already an ongoing training of women Parliamentarians,” he said.
The Opposition Chief Whip, Nambeshe rooted for the training of opposition legislators who are charged with the responsibility of running oversight committees of Parliament arguing that many are new to Parliament and will need some grounding on the work of the legislature.
The Clerk to Parliament Adolf Mwesige welcomed the partnership, saying Parliament is ready and will commit to strengthening it.
“We are going to identify what we have discussed and condense them into action points; it can’t be business as usual; accountability must go beyond papers, to value for money and actual impact,” he said.