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Ministries fail to spend Shs 350bn, return it to Treasury

Finance minister Matia Kasaija

Finance minister Matia Kasaija

Ministries, departments, agencies and local governments failed to spend Shs 349.7 billion out of the Shs 33.3 trillion in the 2018/19 financial year. 

The Public Finance Management Act, 2015 provides that all unspent balances be sent back to the Consolidated Fund as at 30 June. The ministries, departments, and agencies failed to spend Shs 210 billion while local government failed to absorb Shs 139.5 billion. 

National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) secretariat failed to spend Shs 39.7 billion, Parliamentary Commission Shs 27 billion, Petroleum Authority of Uganda Shs 16.5 billion and ministry of Energy and Minerals Shs 9 billion.  

Police failed to spend Shs 5.7 billion, Mulago hospital Shs 5.5 billion, National Citizenship and Immigration Control Shs 4.3 billion and Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) Shs 3.4 billion.

Others that failed to spend Shs 1-3bn include Uganda Bureau of Statistics, Office of the Auditor General, and hospitals of Kabarole, Hoima, Jinja, Mbale, Makerere University Business School and Soroti University. 

The Local Governments include Kitgum which returned Shs 2.2 billion, Wakiso district Shs 6.2 billion, Gulu district Shs 4.5 billion and Kabale district Shs 3.6 billion. Others are Mbarara Shs 3.1 billion, Tororo Shs 3.7 billion, Kagadi Shs 2.6 billion and Kitgum municipal council Shs 1.2 billion and Nebbi municipal council Shs 2.2 billion.

Lawrence Ssemakula, the accountant general explains that most of the entities failed to absorb funds due to failure to verify pension claimants and also pay wages for positions that had not been filled by end of the financial year.    

"For example, we can say is that the Office of the Prime Minister could not absorb Shs 1.4bn but this is related to gratuity, to pension…You could have wage at the beginning of the financial year and then you have not recruited. And If you have not recruited, you can’t pay, so that has to come back. The only issue are those who have big ones like NAADS, why do you return all that money and yet it was given to you. You see NAADS has like Shs 39bn and with agricultural input of about Shs 37bn. So if you couldn’t absorb that...those are the ones you should ask issues." said Ssemakula. 

In FY 2017/2018, Shs 22.4 billion was unspent out of the approved budget of Shs 29 trillion. Ssemakula says that the unspent funds cannot easily be proposed for allocation in the budget for the next financial year, a proposal MPs and civil society organizations have demanded several times. 

Though the ministries, departments and local governments attribute late release of funds to low absorption of funds and also failure to implement planned activities due to revenue shortfalls, Ssemakula says some delays are related to the approval and payment process, mostly at local government level. 

He explains that some districts, mostly new districts lack capacity and infrastructure to accommodate the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) which is automated.

"The first and foremost [problem] is capacity because there are districts where the capacity is really wanting - right people in the right places and the staffing levels in those local governments is an issue. The other issue are infrastructural, the infrastructural is that to operate this system you must have an automated system…This applies to the new districts. They have to take time to understand the processes and this causes a bit go delay. The alternative would be for us to do those operations for them but then we don’t want a vote to say treasury has paid people who are not mine. They must own the processes." Ssemakula added. 

In his report for 2017/2018, the auditor general noted flaws in the IFMS, saying that some accounting officers had paid Shs 180 million to one beneficiary on the same day while some sent money to their personal accounts, not third parties as expected. Therefore, there is need to roll out IFMS to also local governments.

The accountant general records all government expenses and at the end of the financial year, he or she must specify amount of funds spent, unspent and the closing balance or actual cash in the Treasury.


0 #1 Ngalabi silas 2019-07-15 10:50
That's amazing that money thieves have not seen it!!!
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0 #2 Mr X 2019-07-15 14:06
"failed to spend Shs 349.7 billion"

Corruption at best.....Thats what happens when ministry of finance allocates this money only ONE week before closure of the financial year and the following week starts do demanding the "failed spent money".... Try to allocate this money at the begining of every the financial year and see if local goverment will fail to spend it.
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+2 #3 rubangakene 2019-07-15 19:04
Really, how many years do farmers need advice ?

What these farmers need now are physical inputs like tractors, more water boreholes and irrigation equipment, adequate seedlings and equipment for constructing their produce storage.

You see, a bit of common sense is what these "inept" government pen pushers need!
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0 #4 kabayekka 2019-07-16 12:35
If it was one trillion shillings not spent and returned from a total of 33.3 trillion that was easily spent for the whole year of 2018/19, then one would start to wonder. It would not look right if no money was returned at all by these agencies. Because the Minister of Finance has cried out that he always signs government cheques knowing very well that lots of government funds will be squandered in this country without any efforts to recover it.
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0 #5 Lakwena 2019-07-16 14:30
With such a revelation, you would think Uganda is operating on a balanced or surplus budget.

That is what happens when there is an absentee Head of state, who is busy day in and day out, fighting only for himself and family survival.

As a result the bureaucrats and political officialdom, using public offices and resources also, "fata nyayo" (follow the footsteps of Mr. M7) in fighting for themselves and families only.

In other words, considering the surplus poverty and unemployment in this country (87%); having Shs.350 billion idle not utilized indeed qualifies Uganda as an idiotic Shauriyako (to whom it may concern) Republic!
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0 #6 Mubiru 2019-07-16 16:53
Uganda must be a rich country though the indigenous people are in biting poverty.

I call it "rich" because after untouchable hacks and flunkies have stolen billions there is still a balance to return to the treasury.

It defeats any logic when hospitals appear like abandoned rotten structures empty of medicine to treat the down trodden such amount can be returned to the treasury as in "excess" of expenditure.

This is a country supposedly run by "experts" in finance, economics, health care etc. Delusional qualifications to state the obvious.
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0 #7 Mubiru 2019-07-16 19:42
speaking as the chief mourner, the deputy Attorney General who is also the Rushenyi county Member of Parliament Mr Mwesigwa Rukutana blamed poverty on the increasing anger and hopelessness in the country arguing for prayer.

The poverty expressed in my earlier views was even highlighted by the chief mourner at the funeral of Anold Ainebyona Mugisha a young man unfortunately killed by the so called (out of control )guard. Rukutana Mwesigwa reportedly said:

“ Tribalism comes in but the most important is poverty, a person sleeps on an angry stomach. When you give him a gun, his level of reasoning even if he is trained would be at the lowest."
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