Kyenjojo, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Kyenjojo District local government sent back 1.4 billion shillings to the treasury that was not utilized in the last financial year of 2019/2020.
Addressing the district council that sat on Friday at the district headquarters, Kasiina the LCV Chairperson, William Kaija explained that the COVID-19 outbreak and the closure of schools greatly contributed to the failure to spend the money.
For instance, he said that 86 million shillings had been budgeted for the construction of Mparo Seed Secondary School and 96 million shillings was to be spent by the education sector to cater for different requirements of schools but all could not be possible due to the closure of schools.
However, Kaija failed to explain why some other huge sums of money could not be spent, something that angered the councillors. They cited 379 million that was supposed to be used for the upgrade of Kigoyera Health Centre II to Health Centre III.
Gratuity beneficiaries also did not receive the 64 million shillings that had been budgeted for them. However, Kaija attributed this to the delays in approving their files.
Fred Enock Kaahwa, the District Male Youth Councillor, wondered how the district could fail to recruit teachers and tutors for schools and tertiary institutions that led to the sending back to the treasury 755 million shillings that were supposed to be their salary.
Despite the failure to utilize the funds, Kyenjojo district local government is already facing several challenges when it comes to service delivery and infrastructure development in many sectors including health and education.
For instance, in July last year, several government-aided schools were appalling.
For example, Kyankaramata Primary School in Kihuura Sub County had an enrolment of 314 pupils but only had a single permanent structure, which accommodates the staff room, P.1, and P.2 classes.
The rest of were classes operating in temporary structures built using timber, which was rotting away and the major explanation by the district officials was that there was no money to construct a better school.
The same situation was at Kandama and Mbale Primary Schools in Bufunjo Sub County that were also lacking teachers and other basic scholastic materials like chalk, textbooks among others.
In Tertiary institutions, it was also discovered that most of them lacked tutors, which was hindering them from meeting their intended purpose while in health, Kyenjojo General Hospital is still struggling to manage overwhelming numbers of expectant mothers who cannot be accommodated in the small maternity ward.
The Public Finance Management Act, 2015 provides that all unspent balances should be sent back to the Consolidated Fund as at 30 June.
Local governments attribute non-utilization of funds to the late release of funds, low absorption of funds and also failure to implement planned activities due to revenue shortfalls.