In a bid to rectify the recurrent challenges in remittances of pensions, gratuity and salaries of public servants, the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) has instituted an audit into the payroll.
This revelation was made by the Permanent Secretary and Secretary to the Treasury (PSST), Ramathan Ggoobi while appearing before the Committee on Budget on Monday, 30 January 2023.
“The issues surrounding the payroll are not those you can be proud of. There are gaps which will be fixed based on the scientific audit that is currently being done by the Auditor General,” said Ggoobi.
Ggoobi who was responding to the annual budget performance for Financial Year 2021/2022 and the half year budget performance for Financial Year 2022/2023, pledged that the payroll system will be cleaned up.
His response followed a concern raised by Committee Deputy Chairperson, Hon. Ignatius Wamakuyu Mudimi, who said that many retired public servants still find challenges in accessing their pension and gratuity, despite assurances from the Ministry of Finance that releases are made.
“The public has issues with salary payments. We passed a Shs48 trillion budget and yet releases are not made timely,” Wamakuyu added.
Hon. Moses Aleper (NRM, Chekwii County) however, questioned the PSST’s commitment towards addressing challenges in the payroll, saying that the ministry should utilise internal audit systems instead of waiting for an external audit.
“The payroll irregularities are happening under the watch of the Ministry of Finance. Why should you wait for external auditors who will take long,” Aleper asked.
Hon. Herbert Ariko (NRM, Soroti East Division) emphasised the urgency of addressing the allegations of ghost workers and exaggerated payrolls.
The MPs also expressed dissatisfaction with the PSST’s failure to present the half year budget performance for 2022/2023.
During the plenary sitting on 25 January 2023, Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa directed the Committee on Budget to present a report on the half year budget performance.
Ggoobi however, told the committee that the report is still being complied and will be presented by 15 February as stipulated in regulation 38(6) of the Public Finance Management Act.
“We sent reminders to the ministries, departments and agencies on 27 January and they should submit their reports by 31 January. Let us wait for these reports such that the ministry can submit a consolidated report. We commit to submit before the deadline,” he said.
Hon. Paul Omara (Indep., Otuke County) said that the PSST’s response should indicate reasons why some budget outlines of several government entities have not yet been funded, five months to the end of the financial year.
“Ministry of Health said they cannot proceed with upgrade of health centres on account of no funds. If we are left with only five months to the end of the financial year, when will we procure these services,” said Omara.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Parliament of the Republic of Uganda.