National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) is on the spot over expending Shs7 billion without a budget.
The discovery was made when the NAADS Secretariat headed by the Executive Director (ED), Samuel Mugasi appeared before the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) on Tuesday, 08 August 2023.
The Auditor General’s report for the 2021/2022 financial year indicated that NAADS spent the said funds on domestic arrears and these had not been budgeted for.
“What do you say about this expenditure? You did not budget for it. Where did the money come from?” Hon. Ronald Ndyomugenyi (Indep. Rukiga County) asked.
The NAADS Manager for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Godfrey Masereka Mugisa explained that previously, Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development communicated figures for domestic arrears but during the 2021/2022 financial year, it was not done.
This prompted Ndyomugenyi to ask the NAADS Acting Head of Finance and Administration, Geoffrey Malongo to provide an explanation, but he fell short of answering the question.
It was further discovered that Shs172 million was diverted towards procurement of farm inputs without approval.
Committee Chairperson, Hon. Joel Ssenyonyi tasked the ED to justify his decision to divert funds in total disregard of the Public Finance Management Act.
“As we are getting this information, it is not the first time that you people divert money. In the previous year, Shs2.1 billion was diverted and again you did not seek approval. You know the law and yet you do not act within the law,” he said.
Mugasi said that consideration was made because money was spent in a more useful area, since farmers were in need of inputs.
“We have farmers demanding for inputs and we thought that money would be utilised to support these farmers.
He justified that the decision was premised on the shortfall on the budget but quickly added that no more diversions will be made without approvals.
The committee directed the NAADS officials to provide the documents from the meeting where the decision was made to have the funds internally diverted.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Parliament of the Republic of Uganda.