This blog is about social networking about UNASO activities. UNASO was established in 1996 in order to provide a platform for coordination, networking resource mobilization and information sharing among civil society AIDS service organizations so as to improve on the effectiveness, efficiency and quality of their contribution to the national response to the HIV and AIDS epidemic.
Thursday, 8 June 2017
Civil Society Organisations National AIDS Trust Fund recommendations
Civil society organisations (CSOs) have recommended
amendments to the National AIDS Trust Fund Statutory Instruments.
According to a joint CSOs statement, CSOs are
strongly supportive of the establishment of the AIDS Trust Fund, “It represents
an important opportunity to generate additional revenue for high impact efforts
to end the AIDS crisis in Uganda. However, there are several areas of major
concern regarding the draft Statutory Instruments that need to be addressed
before these Instruments are passed by Parliament,” the statement reads in part
and the recommendations are highlighted below:
Appointment of a representative of civil society and of people living with HIV
and AIDS: We request that these two critical representatives
only be selected by their respective constituencies. Donor governments have
indicated the same standard for their representative.
amend 10 (2) (4) The members of the Board, except for a representative of the
donors, a representative of people living with HIV and AIDS, and a
representative of the civil society organisations; shall be appointed by
the Minister, in consultation with the Minister responsible for finance.
The amount of funding that would be
raised by the currently proposed tax is too small to make an impact: Uganda’s
unmet need for life saving HIV services is substantial. The National AIDS Trust
Fund must include sources of revenue beyond 2% of the existing beverage tax
described in the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Act. Sources of
additional taxation that would generate substantial additional resources should
be prioritized of extractive industries such as oil and natural gas, payroll
tax and/or simply collecting a proportion of overall national revenue.
Action: HIV Committee of
Parliament must as a matter of urgency work with the Ministry of Finance to
identify additional sources of revenue so that the AIDS Trust Fund makes a
strong impact in closing Uganda’s HIV funding gap.
High impact interventions and additionality of
revenue: The NATF must be additional rather than
deducted from existing sources of HIV funding or displacing existing funding
sources. Additionality must be monitored and tracked externally and a ‘maintenance
of effort’ clause could be required to ensure the NATF is not deducted from
In practice, the only way to truly ensure additionality
is through using NATF funds to invest in inputs for which there is a clear
baseline—in particular HIV treatment and other highest impact commodities. Monitoring
additionality for other interventions such as trainings would be almost
impossible. Revenue raised by the Fund should be ‘ring fenced,’ meaning that
it cannot be directed for any other purpose—even if that means that revenue
raised by the Fund sits idle.
7 (a) (i) and 7 (a) (ii) are too broad, and not
consistent with the spirit of the mother law, which rightly focuses on
commodities rather than soft inputs such as trainings or workshops. They are
too vague and should be removed.
4. Transparency, meeting
structure, and decisions of the Fund: In principle, meetings of the Board should be as
transparent, open and democratic as possible. In practice that means observers
should be welcome to attend meetings, minutes of meetings should be published rapidly,
and all decisions made by the Trustees should be communicated to the public.
Amend 17. Transactions of the Board to state: “17.
(3) Board meetings shall be open to any observer and Board minutes and Board
decisions shall be widely published (eg on a website and in print media),
including decisions regarding how monies raised by the Fund will be spent,
transactions of the Fund, and the results of all audits of financial accounts.”
Further Amend “Schedule, Meetings of the Board” to reflect this approach to
Board governance, eg “Meetings of the Board (5): The Chairperson shall
permit observers to attend all meetings and the decisions of all meetings shall
be widely and publicly transmitted, such as transactions of the Fund, and the
results of all audits of financial accounts.”
5. Independence of
the Fund: The Fund should be established as an independent body, housed
separately from possible beneficiaries including the Uganda AIDS Commission and
the Ministry of Health. The governance structure should be transparently and
independently managed by a multi stakeholder group that has no fiduciary
interest. In addition, the accounting books associated with the Fund must be
available at all times for scrutiny by any party. Revenue raised by the Fund
should be ‘ring fenced,’ meaning that it cannot be directed for any other
purpose—even if that means that revenue raised by the Fund sits idle.