Auditor General’s Report: Government Grapples With Domestic Arrears
A report by the Auditor General has placed the total amount of domestic arrears and commitments accrued over the last three years at over Ugx 2 trillion. The Auditor General’s report ending December 2016 shows that government’s total outstanding commitments stand at 2.25 trillion shillings.
Of this, Ugx 561 billion arises from pension arrears, an issue that has for years dogged government, while other domestic arrears stand at Ugx 1.6 trillion.
This is an increment from 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 financial years in which outstanding commitments stood at Ugx 1.38 trillion and Ugx 1.32 trillion respectively.
The Auditor General’s office conducted a total of 1,417 audits, of which 3 specialized audits, 8 value-for-money audits, 83 forensic investigations and 1,323 were financial audits.
The Auditor General, John Muwanga presented the report to the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga at Parliament on January 4, 2017, expressing his dissatisfaction with government over delays in clearing the arrears, as well as authenticity of the lists.
“The concern here is mostly are we certain that all these pension arrears are genuine? Again there are questions there that are being asked. The other domestic arrears also have issues on lack of implementation of the commitment control systems. Before expenditures are incurred, you have to ensure that you have funds available. You don’t commit government and afterwards ask what I could do. In other words, you are working outside the budget which can create problems,” Muwanga said.
The report places the total amount of un-disbursed debt at Ugx. 18.1 trillion, with Ugx 8.6 trillion under multilateral while Ugx 9.5 trillion is under bilateral.
“Such low levels of performance undermine the attainment of planned development targets and render commitment charges of Ugx 20 billion paid in respect of un-disbursed funds nugatory,” Muwanga said in the report.
The report further highlighted an accumulation of government contingent liabilities over the last four years, indicating that the figure has increased from Ugx 2.27 trillion in the 2012/2013 financial year to Ugx 6.5 trillion in the year under review.
Muwanga said the bulk of the amount, about 90%, are as a result of court awards from legal proceedings lodged against the government .
Also noted is Ugx 2.3 billion which was advanced to personal accounts of government officials, which Muwanga said is not only contrary to accounting regulations, but also exposes government funds to risk of loss since staff may be tempted to divert the funds.