Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Central Government has recommended a forensic audit into the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) over release of excess funds to health facilities.
This was contained in the committee’s report in the report of the Auditor General of the health sector for Financial Year 2020/2021 that was presented during plenary sitting on Tuesday, 20 September 2022.
Committee chairperson, Hon. Medard Sseggona, cited the case of Lira Regional Referral Hospital in which he said that the hospital submitted gratuity estimates of Shs138, 204,004 but MoFPED sent Shs638, 938,448.
“Similarly, Mubende hospital reported an unspent balance of Shs2.15 billion, attributing it to the allocation of pension and gratuity funds by MoFPED over and above the requirements of the vote,” said Sseggona.
He said that remittance of funds over and above what is required by the health facilities is to blame for under absorption by majority of the health facilities.
“The committee observes that remittance of more funds than are required by the entity does not only distort budgetary planning, but also starves other deserving entities which fail to implement their plans as a result of inadequate financing,” said Sseggona.
The committee also faulted MoFPED for delaying release of funds for construction of 150 staff housing units for Mulago Hospital.
“This forced beneficiaries to alternative accommodation at commercial market rates, which is expensive and inconvenient, thereby affecting service delivery,” the report read.
According to the Auditor General, the construction of the housing units was expected to commence in June 2020 and end in June 2023, at a cost of Shs30 billion.
“The Accounting Officer informed the committee that the delay was a result of the inability of government to provide funding for the project within the contractual time and that funds have since been provided,” Sseggona said.
The committee recommended that management should follow up with the contractor to ensure that the works are expedited since the funds have been provided for in the budget.
The committee further called for expansion of Kawempe National Referral Hospital, to address the challenge of congestion.
“Government should find money to acquire land next to Kawempe National Referral Hospital by way of compulsory acquisition for expansion of the facility as a way of combating congestion which has the risk of spreading communicable diseases and also affects service delivery,” said Sseggona.
The Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa, who deferred debate on the report to Tuesday, 27 September 2022, urged the Committee on Health to scrutinise the report as it focused on the health sector.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Parliament of the Republic of Uganda.