WB L. Victoria project fails to take off

By Francis Kagolo

Concerns have erupted over a multimillion dollar World Bank project to save Lake Victoria that has failed to take off in Uganda after three years, even as Kenya and Tanzania are about to complete their part.

The Lake Victoria Environmental Management (LVEMPII) project under the ministry of water and environment which was supposed to kick off in 2010 is yet to start while pollution and environmental degradation continue to impose their toll on the lake.

District officials and community-based organisations (CBOs) earlier registered to implement the project on Tuesday attributed the drop in water levels and fish stocks and the general rampant pollution of the lake to the project’s delay.

Masaka district environment officer Rose Nakyejjwe explained that the district was expecting to restore at least 40 degraded wetlands which serve as catchment areas for the lake, but the project’s delay had affected the plan.

The LVEMPII project aimed at promoting conservation of biodiversity and harmonizing national and regional management programmes in order to achieve the reversal of environmental degradation and stabilize the lake ecosystem.

Ironically, even before the funds could be released, Nakyejjwe reported that officials from the Auditor General’s office had twice last year approached her office for accountability.

“How can you audit a project whose funds have not been released?” Nakyejjwe asked.

“The ministry approved 10 environmental conservation proposals from CBOs in Masaka. We signed financial agreements last year but we are still waiting for the funds.” http://bit.ly/VpdW1X