All government accounting officers must ensure they pay wages, salaries, pension and gratuity by the 28th day of the month.
This is the order of the Finance Ministry Permanent Secretary and Secretary to the Treasury (PSST), Keith Muhakanizi, because the government is delivering on its role of timely release of funds for budgetary expenditures.
Addressing the media in Kampala on the release of 6.69 trillion shillings for the first half of 2017/18 financial year, Muhakanizi said the government has made good on its target of releasing funds in time, adding that any recipient who has not received any payment should hold the accounting officer responsible.
The press conference is part of the effort to enhance efficiency, transparency and accountability in public finance management.
For avoidance of doubt, Muhakanizi said quarterly monies to ministries, departments, agencies and local governments are released before the 10th day of the July, October, January and April each financial year, adding that the second quarter monies have already been released.
Muhakanizi said there is no excuse for any accounting officer not to pay wages, salaries, pensions and gratuity of public servants on time, adding that they should display the payrolls for salaries and monthly pensions on notice boards every month.
He said all accounting officers must prioritise payment of service providers on time and avoid accumulation of arrears, adding that efficiency and accountability in public finance management should be by all. He said clearance of domestic arrears must be prioritised in Quarter Two.
Muhakanizi warned that any accounting officer who would not ensure timely submission of performance reports and accountability will have him or herself to blame for any delays in release of funds.
He said in an attempt to streamline the system, national identification numbers will be used in the confirmation of payment of wages, pensions and gratuity.
On payment of utilities, Muhakanizi said all government institutions should ensure pre-payment of utilities like water and electricity, failure of which the service providers should turn off non-compliant vote.
According to the Quarter One and Quarter Two figures, the finance ministry has released 6.69 trillion shillings, constituting 53.2 percent of approved national budget, excluding debt repayment, external financing and appropriation in aid.
Acting Director of Economic Affairs, Moses Kaggwa, explained that what this means is that although the national budget is 29 trillion shillings, real government expenditure is 12 trillion with the balance of 17 trillion shillings going for servicing debt, appropriation in aid and others.
Part of the 6.69 trillion shillings released so far has gone for wages, verified domestic arrears, capitation grants to schools, NAADS, Coffee Development Authority, Uganda National Roads Authority, thermal energy, water projects, rehabilitation of Mulago Hospital and Uganda Cancer Institute, among others.
Releases to local governments total 638 billion shillings catering for wages, non-wage items and development and this accounts for 58.3 percent of local government releases.
Transfers to educational institutions, health units and all lower local governments are transmitted directly to their institutional bank accounts.
Commenting on the expenditure releases, the Coordinator of Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group, Julius Mukunda, said there is a relative improvement in display of budget information especially for schools now at 92 percent in contrast to health centres at 62 percent.
Mukunda said a big challenge is the quality of members of the management committees, most of who cannot read and write making them fail in their oversight roles.
The General Secretary of Uganda National Teachers’ Union, James Tweheho, said he is happy the reforms are working.
Tweheyo said a challenge to deal with is the delay in transferring teachers from old districts to newly created ones, citing districts like Pakwach, Rukiga and Namisindwa where the teachers are still paid by the mother districts.