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Volume 448: debated on Monday 3 July 2006

Following my visit to Uganda in May I wish to inform the House of the decision I have taken about the future level of UK poverty reduction budget support (PRBS) to Uganda.

When the current PRBS arrangement was signed in December 2004 we indicated that up to £55 million in PRBS would be available in the Ugandan 2006-07 financial year. Instead I have decided to keep our PRBS to Uganda in 2006-07 at £35 million. I have taken this decision because I have concerns about governance, public administration expenditure, and some of the Government’s new budget plans. The decision also takes into account continuing major humanitarian needs in northern Uganda, which the funds reallocated from PRBS will help to address.

Looking forward, I have decided to limit our core budget support allocation to £35 million in both 2007-08 and 2008-09. The balance of the Uganda programme will be used for project support, or for continuing humanitarian relief in the north. Should this humanitarian relief not be needed, I will give further consideration to the allocation of this money in the light of circumstances at the time.

Following my decision in December 2005 to cut £15 million of PRBS, I have decided not to make any further cut in the Ugandan 2005-06 financial year. This means that I am releasing now the £5 million that was withheld in December until after the elections. International observers, including those from the EU and Commonwealth, have concluded that, notwithstanding shortcomings, the elections passed generally peacefully, there was a high voter turnout and voting was generally well administered, transparent and competitive.