Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda’s international obligations are expected to accumulate to 46.28 billion Shillings this financial year, if no funding is availed to clear arrears, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Annually, the Ministry is expected to meet subscription fees to different International Organizations, among them the African Union, the United Nations General Assembly, the Commonwealth, the UN Human Rights Council, and International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), among others.
But over the years, Uganda has failed to meet its obligation, yet there is no clear plan of clearing the arrears. Ambassador Patrick Mugoya, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says that they needed 51.88 billion Shillings to clear all outstanding arrears.
However, the government provided an allocation of 6.35 billion Shillings in the current financial year 2020/2021 to offset part of the arrears. Mugoya told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament on Monday that arrears will accumulate to 46.28 billion Shillings by the end of this financial year, if no additional funds are provided.
“These contributions have a direct bearing on a country’s image, placement of candidates in international organizations as well as attracting conferences into the country,” Mugoya said.
Mugoya had appeared before the Committee to respond to audit queries raised in the financial year 2018/2019 auditor general’s report. In the report, the Auditor General noted that despite the failure by the Ministry to allocate funds in the budget, 16.3 billion Shillings had been used to settle arrears far above the budgetary provision of 6.75 billion Shillings.
Committee Chairman Nathan Nandala Mafabi tasked Mugoya to explain where the additional funds came from. Mugoya explained that they had received a supplementary budget of 9 billion Shillings to clear arrears with the African Union (AU) in order to avoid stringent sanctions for non-contributing members.
The Ministry receives an annual budget of 9.5 billion Shillings out of the required 26 billion Shillings per financial year making obligations to international organizations a recurring problem.
PAC Chairperson Nathan Nandala Mafabi said that payments to the organizations are a contractual obligation and that the Ministry cannot opt-out of them. He directed that the Ministry compiles all outstanding arrears and writes to Finance seeking funding.