PARLIAMENT – A section of MPs are calling for a forensic audit to be conducted into the Consolidated Fund after questions were raised on where unspent funds public institutions have been returning to the consolidated fund.
The call was made by Muwanga Kivumbi (Butambala County) who presented the minority report on budget estimates for 2019/2020 financial year on behalf of Cecilia Ogwal and Joy Atim who also appended their signatures to the report.
Muwanga told the Committee that over the years, there has been lack of clarity on how unspent balances remitted back to the Treasury are treated and whether they form part of the resource envelope of the following financial year.
He argued that as a result of this, there could be some underestimations on the available resource envelope and given the fact that Uganda operates a cash budget, it may be operationally difficult to anticipate how much will be remaining in the consolidated fund of the close of the financial year for inclusion in the coming budget.
The authors of the Minority report cautioned that there is need to develop a mechanism of ascertaining remaining balances so that they can be appropriated, otherwise there is a possibility that what is reported as additional revenue during consideration of supplementary expenditures that do not require prior Parliamentary approval may actually be unspent balances.
“A special audit on the Consolidated Fund should be undertaken with the purpose of ascertaining unspent balances and how they are utilized, said Kivumbi.
The same issue was highlighted in the main report with the report noting that the coming Budget does not capture previous FY unspent balances and this is underestimating the available resource envelope.
Amos Luboloobi, Chairperson Budget Committee while presenting the main report argued that while annually there are unspent balances, the budget does not include them in the resource envelope.
The report pointed out that in 2017/2028 31 central government votes and 10 local governments were not able to spend the resources allocated to them with these funds totalling to Shs289.4Bn of which Shs277.6Bn (96%) was from central government votes and Shs11.77Bn 47% was from local government votes.
In their recommendation to Parliament, the Committee called for the unspent balances of the previous year budget to be included in the resource envelope of the new budget so that they finance NDP objectives.