The Permanent Secretary and Secretary to the Treasury in the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Ramadhan Ggoobi has challenged the three arms of Government to brainstorm practical ways to save the country from the ever-growing domestic debt to the detriment of the already fragile economy.
Ggoobi said the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary should come together and find a lasting solution to domestic arrears because they crowd the private sector players out of the financial market which cripples business.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Ramadhan Ggoobi has challenged the Executive, the Judiciary and the legislature to find practical ways of stopping the domestic arrears.
This follows concerns raised by MPs sitting on the Parliament budget committee over the increasing domestic arrears amounting to Shs4.1 trillion.
The MPs raised the concerns while meeting finance ministry officials led by the state minister for planning, Amos Lugoloobi to discuss the charter of fiscal responsibility for the financial year 2021/22.
Lugoloobi attributed the increasing domestic arrears to some accounting officers who he said are responsible for non-remittance of tax deductions on salaries and development projects.
He also noted that the domestic arrears equally result from court awards because of the inadequate management of construction contracts, unpaid land compensation or not resolving disputes prior to judicial involvement, and frequent issuance of orders of mandamus against the Government.
He said Government had adopted a two-pronged strategy to clear the outstanding domestic arrears.
Lugoloobi said they are going to first focus on the phased clearance of the existing stock arrears in the medium term and management control measures to stop the accumulation.
The Charter for Fiscal Responsibility is a Government strategy whose objective is to provide the Government’s fiscal policy objectives in the next five years that will ensure sustainable delivery of the country’s goal of socioeconomic transformation resulting in increased household incomes and improved quality of life of Ugandans.
Amolatar District Woman MP, Hon Agnes Atim was suspicious that the domestic arrears were a symptom of a bigger problem in Government.
She said the arrears were proof that there is a gap in financial management and a weakness in leadership by the ministry.
Sheema Municipality MP, Dickson Kateshumbwa attributed the recurring domestic arrears to diversion of funds and inadequate management of contracts which he said are a result of inefficiency in Government.
He challenged the Government to take action by ensuring that contracts are managed well and that diversion of funds is immediately addressed.
Mawogola County South MP, Gorreth Namugga called for action against accounting officers responsible for diverting funds, mismanaging contracts and contributing to the growth of domestic arrears.
Ggoobi assured the Committee that they would try as much as possible to see that they pay the arrears beginning with the ones they owe less.
He added that they have since agreed with the Attorney General on a payment schedule.