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Finance Committee to scrutinize utilisation of budgets

Finance Committee to scrutinize utilisation of budgets

The Committee of Finance is to study and reconcile financial statements of the Consolidated Fund account for the year ending 30 June 2023 and report to Parliament.

While chairing the House on Thursday, 20 July 2023, the Speaker Anita Among said failure by some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to effectively utilise their budgets is an indictment on the planning function at various levels.
“If you have budgeted for Shs1 billion and have not been able to consume all the money and return it to the Consolidated Fund, then you are affecting the budgeting process. You must budget for what you know you will consume,” Among said.

She noted that National Development Plan (NDPIII) is in its fourth year of implementation and as such, resource mobilisation should match the aspirations of national developments.
“I call upon leaders and technocrats to ensure that efficient, effective and economic utilisation of the approved funds is being done,” Among added.
Hon. Fredrick Angura (NRM, Tororo South County) attributed the return of unused money to the Consolidated Fund on late releases of the funds by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.
“As Parliament, we do appropriation and pass the budget before we know how much is going back to the Treasury. We need to develop a good understanding on how we shall handle these funds,” said Angura.

Hon. Solomon Silwany (NRM, Bukooli County Central) alluded to resolutions by Parliament to take action on some under-performing accounting officers saying government has made much progress on it.

Bugiri Municipality MP, Hon. Asuman Basalirwa noted that some MDAs receive more funds than they are entitled to in the budget of a given financial year.
“An entity budgets for Shs15 billion but they receive Shs17 billion; we are asking how this comes about. To address this, we should seriously look into reforming the Public Finance Management Act,” said Basalirwa.

The Prime Minister, Robinah Nabanjja said the President issued a directive that the money returned to the Consolidated Fund should be returned to the respective entries in the first quarter of the next financial year.

Usuk County MP, Hon. Bosco Okiror welcomed this development saying the funds can be used to to complete the intended projects.

Ibanda County North MP, Hon. Xavier Kyooma, however, said the statutes in place do not allow for disbursement of money returned to the Consolidated Fund, to the same entity.
“An entity whose funds have been swept back cannot have these funds given to it at the start of a new financial year, until invoices are raised. They must be raised according to the appropriated funds of the previous budget,” Kyooma said.

The Speaker also directed that the utilisation of the Shs1 billion disbursed to districts for maintenance of roads outside the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) jurisdiction should be stopped.
“Before we get a report from the Committee of Physical Infrastructure on the guidelines for the use of this money, it should not be used. The House must first approve those guidelines,” Among said.

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