Amuru Deputy Resident Commissioner (RDC), Osborn Oceng Geoffrey, on Friday rejected a total of 46 out of 71 oxen procured by a supplier under the Third Northern Uganda Social Action Fund (NUSAF 3) program.
NUSAF 3 is a Government of Uganda and World Bank-funded project currently being implemented in 55 districts of Northern and Eastern Uganda, coordinated by the Office of the Prime Minister.
The oxen were meant to benefit community 13 groups through land opening for farming in Amuru district.
However, Oceng says the supplier delivered calves instead of oxen, prompting him to reject them.
“The animals are too young; they cannot pull an ox-plough. Each animal was budgeted for to a tune of Shs 1,000,000, but what they brought costs between Shs 250,000-300,000. They brought calves not oxen,‘’ he said
A tough-talking Oceng said the supplier had one week to deliver mature animals or have their contract terminated.
The beneficiaries were selected through community based procurement processes in the nine parishes in the district.
Amuru district Chairman Michael Lakony said it would have been suicidal to accept the calves delivered as it would encourage other suppliers to supply substandard goods to the district.
“Accepting such animals would have been a gross mistake since they can hardly survive on grass. They are too young, they kept on looking for their mothers,’’ he said
“According to the guidelines we signed with the suppliers, each oxen should be at least two years and above, but in this case the majority are even less than a year old,’’ Lakony explained.
Amuru District Veterinary officer Dr Batulumayo Okwonga said the rejection of the animals was a recommendation from the extension workers on the ground.
“Such young animals are prone to diseases and it would be loss to the beneficiaries, because the animal can die anytime,’’ he said, adding:
“The problem with the suppliers is that they want to benefit unfairly from even the smallest deal. The guidelines are clear, but they worked against it them,” he said.
Lakony explained that the current guidelines stipulate that the supplier must first take oxen to the district for inspection prior to distribution.