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Shs350bn Unspent Funds In 2018/19 Returned To Treasury

Ministries, Departments, and local governments failed to spend 349.7 billion shillings out of the 33.3 trillion by 30 June in the 2018/19 Financial Year.

The Public Finance Management Act, 2015 provides that all unspent balances are sent back to the Consolidated Fund as at 30 June.    

The ministries, departments, and agencies failed to spend 210 billion shillings while local government failed to absorb 139.5 billion shillings.

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

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

Others that failed to spend between shillings one billion to three billion 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 shillings 2.2 billion, Wakiso district 6.2 billion, Gulu district 4.5 billion and Kabale district 3.6 billion.

Others are Mbarara 3.1 billion, Tororo 3.7 billion, Kagadi 2.6 billion and Kitgum municipal council 1.2 billion and Nebbi municipal council 2.2 billion.
Ssemakula 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.   

In 2017/2018, shillings 22.4 billion was unspent out of the approved budget of 29 trillion shillings. Ssemakula says that the unspent funds do not result necessarily to physical cash, that is, it does not mean that that cash is actually in the Consolidated Fund.

Rather, if the request to release the shillings 350 billion was made before end of the financial year, finance ministry would have to borrow domestically, from foreign sources or seek for grants from development partners.  

He says that the unspent funds cannot easily be proposed for allocation in the budget for the next financial year, something MPs and civil society groups have demanded on several occasions.

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.

In his Report for 2017/2018, the Auditor General noted flaws in the IFMS, saying that some accounting officers had paid shillings 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.   


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