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Gov’t spent UGX 1.15 trillion without Parliament approval

Rebecca Kadaga

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT  | The government spent 1.15 trillion Shillings without parliament approval during the Financial Year 2018/2019.  This is carried in a report of the Auditor-General for the year ended December 2019 presented to Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga.

Government-approved a budget of 32 trillion Shillings for the financial year 2018/2019 which was later revised to 35.03 trillion Shillings through supplementary allocations.

But a review undertaken by the Auditor General’s office on the performance and implementation of the approved budget uncovered that during the financial year, the Minister of Finance Matia Kasaija approved a supplementary budget of 1.772 trillion Shillings but upon tabling the expenditure before parliament, only 615.7 billion Shillings was approved leaving 1.156 trillion unapproved.

Section 25 (1) of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) 2015 provides that the Minister may approve a supplementary budget of up to 3 percent of the appropriated budget but is required to seek retrospective approval from parliament within 4 months.

The Auditor-General John Muwanga noted that the government needs to streamline the process of approval of supplementary funding to avoid re-occurrence of such instances.

Meanwhile, the Auditor General also noted that government entities failed to spend 548 billion Shillings in the financial year.

“Out of a total budget of 35.03 trillion Shillings, 31.19 trillion Shillings was released leaving a balance of 3.84 trillion Shillings translating in a performance of 89.03 per cent. Out of the released 31.19 trillion Shillings, 30.64 trillion Shillings was spent leaving an unspent balance of 548 billion Shillings representing absorption of 98.2 per cent,” said Muwanga.

On implementation of government projects, he observed that 43 government projects had funds available of Shillings 2.31 trillion to implement project activities but only 1.5 trillion was spent resulting in the underutilized balance of 736 billion which represents a low absorption capacity of 68 per cent.

He explained that this was majorly attributed to delayed approval of work plans, long procurement processes, delays in the signing of contracts and slow execution of works among others.

“As a result, there were partial or non-implemented planned activities, interest charges on withdrawn funds of Shillings 90.6 billion, an extension of projects increased project administration costs as a result of the project extensions and delayed service delivery to the beneficiary communities,” he said.

Muwanga said that the government should work closely with the relevant stakeholders to fast track implementation of project activities and ensure project milestones are achieved.

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