The Office of the Prime Minister- OPM failed to spend 1.4 billion shillings in the 2018/2019 financial year. The funds were meant for pension, gratuity and purchase of agricultural supplies.
OPM was among the entities that contributed to the total of shillings 350 billion that was spent by both central and local government.
According to the report by the Accountant General, OPM had an approved budget of 131 billion shillings but received 123 billion. Therefore, the Vote recorded a budget shortfall of shillings 11.5 billion.
The Accounting Officer, Joel Wanjala explains that OPM could not pay shillings 385 million earmarked for pension and shillings 446 million for gratuity because verification process for had not been completed by the end of the financial year.
Last financial year, OPM paid shillings 2.4 billion for its list of filled positions with 240 staff.
According to Wanjala, OPM by the end of the 2018/2019 financial year paid 87 pensioners who had been verified and approved.
In relation to the failure to spend shillings 628 million for agricultural supplies, Wanjala explained that the payment process was incomplete because there was need to re-approve the payment request specifically to procure 698 short horn zebu cows.
He says that the cows were supposed to be supplied to beneficiaries in Amuria district. However, by close of the financial year, the Local Purchase Order-LPO for the said procurement had not been approved.
According to the OPM accounts system, on 11 February 2019, the LPO to purchase 698 zebu cows at shillings 628 million required re-approval, which remained pending re-approval by the close of the financial year.
He explains that the LPO for the 698 zebu cows was rejected probably due to missing documents or incomplete details to facilitate payment.
Procuring and distributing agricultural supplies is one of the components of affirmative action budgeted under post-war recovery and presidential pledges for Northern Uganda.
The supplies include hand hoes, restocking cattle for the four sub-regions of Acholi, West Nile, Lango and Teso that were affected by civil conflict in the past.
In the 2019/2020 financial year, OPM plans to procure 18,600 cattle, 27,000 hand hoes, 8,750 iron sheets, 25 maize milling machines, 20 cassava chippers and 10 sunflower oil extraction and groundnuts/simsim grinding machines.
Wanjala says that the report of the Accountant General on spent and unspent funds is important in enforcing accountability and transparency among accounting officers. It also encourages officers involved in the payment and approval process to conform to the demands of the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS).