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Dambisa Moyo on democracy, China’s economic model and foreign aid (03.08.2018)

On reforming democracy, the international economist argued that citizens should have to take a test in order to vote.

DOHA, QATAR, August 3, 2018 – The bestselling author goes Head to Head with Mehdi Hasan at the Oxford Union:

  • Argues that it is “mad, it’s crazy” not to see major problems in Western democracy today, asserting that today’s rise in populism; “has its roots in economics.”
  • Says short-sighted policies coming from the West have created “more impoverished people” around the world and “fed into issues of political instability.”
  • Asked if Goldman Sachs had a role for the 2008 financial crisis, asserts that her former employer had “no special responsibility” for what took place.
  • On reforming democracy, proposes that all citizens should take a test to ensure a “good knowledge of what exactly they are voting on.”
  • Whilst discussing aid in Africa, Moyo asserts that aid is a “corrosive force” to African democracy because countries cannot hold their governments accountable “if actually Oxfam is going to solve the healthcare problem,” or “somebody else is going to solve education.”

In a far-reaching interview with Al Jazeera (AlJazeera.com) English’s Head to Head, Dambisa Moyo argued that there are major problems with Western democracy today.

“The notion that democracy is not a problem is mad, it’s crazy,” Moyo said.

Discussing why she believed liberal democracy was “under siege,” Moyo asserted that today’s populism “has its roots in economics”, describing how “real wages have come down…over the past 30 years, social mobility has declined” and “income inequality has widened.”

She blamed short-termist Western policies, such as farm subsidies in the US and Europe’s Common Agricultural Policy, for locking “out the goods that are produced in places like Africa and South America” which has led to “more impoverished people” and “fed into issues of political instability.”

A former Goldman Sachs banker, Moyo was asked whether the company had a particular role for the 2008 financial crisis, she said that it had “no special responsibility” for what took place and that “we all have to take responsibility”.

Goldman Sachs agreed to pay $5.1bn in fines in January 2016, following an investigation by the US Department of Justice for its role in the crisis.

On reforming democracy, the international economist argued that citizens should have to take a test in order to vote and that people must have a “good knowledge of what exactly we’re voting on” before being allowed to vote.

When she remarked how voter participation was at all-time low, presenter Mehdi Hasan responded by asking “so the idea is then you make it harder for them to vote by putting a test in front of them?”

In her new book; Edge of Chaos, Why Democracy is Failing to Deliver Economic Growth – and how to fix it, Dr Moyo proposes a system of weighted voting where some individuals have more voting power than others.

When defending her proposal, which presenter Mehdi Hasan suggested was elitist and would actually “help populism”, Moyo asserted that her idea was “based on participation, not on education” and that a degree of weighted voting already existed around the world.

Speaking about China and its economic model, Moyo commented how “over 300 million people have been moved out of poverty in 30 years” and that the West should be careful not to “point fingers” when commenting on the country’s democratic record which was on its own particular “path”.

Addressing a question on the benefits of China’s economic model, Moyo noted how Chinese politicians “don’t need to seduce today’s voter in order to remain in political office” in comparison to the US, where there is a “mismatch between long-term economic challenges and short-termism in the political system.”

Economist Dambisa Moyo first made waves with her book Dead Aid, which argued that rather than alleviating poverty in Africa, aid was actually preserving it. Asked whether she believed aid had had any beneficial effects, the economist described its “corrosive nature” on “democracy on the African continent.”

“We do want to be able to hold our governments accountable but we can’t do that if actually Oxfam is going to solve the health care problem, somebody else is going to solve education, how are we able to hold our governments accountable from a public policy stance if they are not the ones who are delivering these outcomes?”

The best-selling author argued that whilst she accepted that there have been “significant wins” across Africa, “the notion that those are because of aid…is wrong.”

Moyo pointed out that China has played a hugely significant role on the continent: “We’ve had China come in, there’s been significant investment…we’re able to trade with the Chinese, for better or for worse.”

Mehdi Hasan was joined in the discussion by a panel of experts: Ann Pettifor, economist and Author of The Production of Money; Jason Hickel, anthropologist at the University of London and author of The Divide: A brief Guide to global inequality and its solutions; and Jamie Whyte, research director at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA).

The interview is part of a brand new series of Head to Head, Mehdi Hasan’s hard-hitting discussion show on Al Jazeera English. Other guests were former Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, former Trump campaign National Security Director J.D. Gordon, and feminist Germaine Greer.

Is it time to rethink Democracy? with Dambisa Moyo will be broadcast on Friday August 3rd at 20:00 GMT, and will be repeated on August 4th at 12.00 GMT, August 5th at 01.00 GMT and August 6th at 06.00 GMT.

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The Auditor General Muwanga really told stories on mismanagement and maladministration of the NRM government (Quotes from the End of the Year AG Report 30th June 2015)

Ugandan shillings

As of yesterday there we’re the reported 111 cars that vanished and weren’t procured by a Ministry in Uganda. Because of that I had to look more through the report of the Auditor General John Muwanga. There are many stories; some of the ones in this Report have already been discussed on my page.

There so many stories to pick, but here is some of my favourites that shows all from a goats, expressways to other where money have disappeared, over-compensated or not allocated needed funds for the planned procurement and projects that the Government we’re supposed to do. Take a look!

Indebted to International Organizations:

I noted that a number of Government entities are indebted to International Organizations such as PTA Bank, ADB, EADB, WTO, UNIDO, COMESA and Shelter Afrique. A sample of five entities revealed indebtedness of UGX.77,724,089,603 and US$.4,968,950” (OAG, P: 36, 2015).

Overpay on construction of Kampala-Entebbe Expressway:

“An analysis was done and adjustments for the different features of the two expressways were made. It was observed that the unit cost for the Kampala-Entebbe expressway was US$ 2.315 million per lane kilometre while the similar expressway was US$ 1.204 million per lane kilometer” (OAG, P: 38, 2015).

NAO Project going nowhere:

“The protocol agreement between Government of Uganda (GoU) and Democratic People’s Republic of China (DPRC) was signed on the 27th June 2008. It involved establishment of a demonstration centre under the National Agricultural Organisation. However, it was observed that after hand-over of the site by Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries to the DPRC, there was no proper follow up by Government on the project as such it was difficult to establish whether the anticipated funding of RMB YUAN 50,000,000 equivalent to UGX.26 bn was received and how it was applied to the project” (OAG, P: 42, 2015).

NCIP disbursed funds:

“Government signed fourteen (14) protocols under the Northern Corridor Integration Projects where substantial amounts of funds have been invested and implementation is on-going. For example amounts totalling to UGX4.2bn was disbursed to fund the power interconnection and the Hoima-Lokichar-Lamu oil pipeline. However, the protocols do not provide for regional coordination and monitoring as well as the audit framework to provide an independent assurance on the utilization of joint funds. This renders it difficult to track the progress of the projects and follow up the accountability for the funds disbursed” (OAG, P: 43, 2015).

Advances Unaccounted for:

Uganda National Roads Authority: 47,738,040,619 UGX” (…) “Ministry of Local Government:  3,827,011,454 UGX” (OAG, P:87, 2015).

bidco-uganda

Bidco has avoided VAT:

It was noted that as of November, 2014, the outstanding VAT obligations for BIDCO stood at UGX.744,420,170, included in this figure was late payment interest charge of UGX.168,747,557. Accordingly, a sum of UGX.700,000,000 was paid to URA towards settlement of the tax arrears” (OAG, P: 93, 2015). “After the eleven (11) years, BIDCO would start paying VAT directly on its own and from the 12th year start refunding to Government the VAT plus 5% interest for the first eleven (11) years in (8) equal installments over a period of (8) years. This condition was subject to fulfillment of article 4(3) of the agreement which requires Government to have handed fully to BIDCO all the agreed 26,500 hectares of land” (OAG, P: 94, 2015).

ADB Susbscription:

“In August, 2010, the Governing Council of the African Development Bank (AfDB) under the sixth general capital increase of the bank allocated Uganda shares worth USD.19,759,798 payable over a 12 years period in annual instalments of USD.1,646,649. It was noted that the payment of Uganda’s 4th instalment of UDS.1,293,299 which became due on 16th March, 2015 had not been made. As a result, the callable shares related to the missed instalment had been suspended in line with the Board of Governors resolution on the sixth general capital increase of the bank meeting” (OAG, P:95, 2016).

Banana Project:

“The banana project owns land in Bushenyi together with other movable properties. However, it was noted that the land title is still in the names of the project without the legal mandate to continue owning this land of behalf on government unless the expired legal status is resolved following the legal opinion of the Attorney General to transfer the project under Agriculture sector” (…) “During the financial year 2014/2015, the PIBID project had a budget provision of UGX.9bn out of which only UGX.2.7bn was released as vote on account and as a result, activities worth UGX.6,682,145,000 were not under taken. The affected activities include: purchase and installation of machinery and equipment (UGX.2.5bn), Construction materials (UGX.1.457bn.), marketing of the tooke products (UGX.777,665,000) and procurement of transport equipment (UGX.780,000000)” (OAG, P: 102-103, 2015).

Delayed Construction of Katuna OSBP and swamp reclamation works:

“The construction of Katuna OSBP is undertaken at a contract sum of UGX.8,951,277,750 and Swamp reclamation for access road works estimated at UGX.12,000,000,000. The commencement date for the construction was 13th June 2014 and the estimated completion date was set for 13th June 2015. This was later revised to 30th December 2015. Inspection of construction works showed the following” (…) “The EU Confirmed funding on the 12th May 2014 and all the conditions set by World Bank were met including NEMA’s clearance that was received on the 30th April 2014. I noted that GOU was required to finance the building works for Katuna OSBP since IDA credit funding had been exhausted. The contract for construction of OSBP was finally awarded at a sum of UGX.8,951,277,750 on the 5th June 2014. The EU delayed to operationalize her support and the contractor could not commence on the major building works due to delayed reclamation of the wetland where the buildings were to be constructed” (…) “Management explained that heavy rains, poor terrain and lack of material sources in Katuna such as sand are the biggest challenges. The would be material sources such as hard core are not readily accessible due to the hilly terrain of the area and the contractor can only make a few trips only on a sunny day. For materials like sand, the source is Mbarara (about 150km) and the contractor can only make a few trips given that the road (Mbarara-Ntungamo and Kabale-Katuna) is under construction” (OAG, P: 137-139, 2015).

Uganda Police Force:

“A review of the statement of financial position revealed outstanding payables of UGX.16,454,307,782. Payables worth UGX.10,500,682,162 were incurred during the year which implies that management continued to incur arrears without establishing sufficient mechanisms to monitor and control them” (OAG, P: 183, 2015).

Ministry of Local Government:

“A review of the Ministry of Local Government’s expenditure revealed that the entity charged wrong expenditure codes to a tune of UGX.12,086,792,676. This constituted 40% of total actual expenditure for the Ministry of Local Government. Whereas the funds were spent on items for which they were not originally budgeted for, the accounts have been presented in a way that reflects that the amounts were spent on the earlier budgeted items” (OAG, 2015).

M/S Faw Limited:

“A local company was contracted by the Ministry to provide storage space for the various roads, sanitary and fire-fighting equipment procured under a Chinese loan in 2011/2012 financial year from their parent company. The providers were paid UGX.1,416,000,000 during the year 2014/15 for 20 months storage of the equipment delivered. A review of the procurement file revealed the following” (…) “It was noted that only the Contracts Committee decision on a submission (PP Form 209) approving the evaluation report and contract award at a monthly fee of UGX.70,800,000 were available on file. However, the Solicitor General’s approval and contract agreement were on the procurement file. No initiation of procurement, invitation of potential bidders, record of receipt of bidders, evaluation report and PDU submission of Evaluation Committee report to Contracts Committee were on file to support the award” (…) “A review of the availed documentation revealed that two conflicting pro-forma invoices were submitted by the firm with one quoting a monthly fee of US$.14,160 VAT inclusive for ten months, that is; from 1st June 2012 to 31st March 2013 totaling US$.141,600 and dated 17/5/2012 and another one dated 2/1/2012 quoting a monthly fee of UGX.70,800,000 VAT inclusive for twenty months without clarifying the particular months” (…) “The final batch which arrived in August 2013, was commissioned by the president in October 2013 and handed over to police on 19th December 2013 implying storage of at most five (5) months. This makes fourteen (14) total months of storage as opposed to the 20 months billed resulting into a loss of UGX.424,800,000” (OAG, P: 237-239).

updf-south-sudan

Ministry of Defence:

“During the year the Ministry’s total expenditure on land acquired amounted to UGX.1,119,388,145. However, it was noted that the government policy of capitalising the acquired land from the financial year 2011/2012 did not give guidance on what to include as cost of land acquired. As such, this amount could not be verified due to lack of guidelines on treatment of land costs in the financial statements” (…) “It was observed that a sum of UGX.1,000,000,000 was paid to an individual as part payment on a claim of UGX.2,958,668,733 for the compensation of 683 cattle and 119 goats which were handed over to 4th Division for safe custody during the insurgency period in 1986” (…) “It was not possible to confirm whether this claim had not been paid before since it is now 28 years since the purported supply of the animals” (…) “It also appears that these animals were for various people but instead the compensation was made to one individual” (OAG, P: 285-288, 2015).

State House Entebbe – Okello House:

“State House has been occupying Okello House for many years with a tenancy agreement that expired in 2013. However, it was observed that State House has not renewed the tenancy agreement and no rent payments have been made to the landlord despite continued occupancy. At the close of the financial year, a sum of UGX.1.272,363,507 was outstanding in rental arrears” (…) “National Housing and Construction Corporation owns properties on Plot 1 Kyagwe Road–Nakasero which is currently occupied by State House. Documents indicate that National Housing has been demanding arrears of UGX.201,100,000 from State House. These arrears have not been reflected in the financial statements”  (OAG, P: 294-295, 2015).

If you don’t find this interesting that the Government of Uganda is misspending funds in this way and that this is just a figment of imagination as this is pieces of a giant report. The most interesting is that one man got the whole piece of the pie of what happen in 1986 and secondly that the State House doesn’t even have an agreement with the tenant who owns Okello House where the President has gallant dignitaries. That shows the state of affairs, brothers, time for a change and also better procedures and practices! Peace.

Reference:

OAG – ANNUAL REPORT OF THE AUDITOR GENERAL FOR THE YEAR ENDED 30TH JUNE 2015

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