Tororo, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Tororo District Local Government has returned sh5.1 billion to the national treasury as unspent funds for the 2019/2020 financial year.
The Public Finance Management Act 2015 section 17 (2) stipulates that a local government that does not spend money that was appropriated to a particular vote for the financial year shall at the close of the financial year, return the money to the Consolidated Fund.
Tororo district Chief Administrative Officer Dunstan Balaba says that out of the sh5.1 billion shillings, sh4.8 billion was meant for recruitment of 155 members of staff who include teachers and other district staff, 367 million shillings for construction of Kamuli Health Center III in the newly created Akadoit Sub County.
According to Balaba, the district failed to recruit staff due to the absence of a district service commission while the delayed procurement process hindered the construction of the health centre.
“This is a very big challenge, we have brought it to the attention of council and we appeal that the political leadership can look into this,” Balaba said.
Tororo district currently has two members on the service commission who do not makeup quorum, rendering the commission non-functional.
Attempts to constitute a fully functional service commission have been hindered by the lack of the District Executive Committee supposed to propose the names.
Two district secretaries including secretary for health and education Samuel Odongo and secretary for works Jacob Opio resigned in 2017.
The district tried to hire the services of Butaleja district service commission who even shortlisted the names but the process was frustrated by leaders in the district.
This is not the first time the district has failed to utilize funds. In the 2018/2019 financial year, the district returned 3.9 billion shillings meant for construction of a secondary school in Malaba town council and a health centre III in West Budama North.
According to the office of the Accountant General, 350 billion shillings was returned to the treasury in the 2018/2019 financial year. Ministries, departments, and agencies failed to spend 210 billion shillings while the local government failed to absorb 139.5 billion shillings.
Districts have in the past blamed the late release of funds, and the long procurement processes for the return of funds, while treasury blames poor planning by the district.