MP Isingoma Faults Finance Ministry for Nakasongola Surplus Funds

Hoima City East Division Member of Parliament, Dr Patrick Isingoma. PHOTO/COURTESY

Dr. Patrick Isingoma, the Member of Parliament for Hoima City East Division, has pointed the finger at the Ministry of Finance for distributing funds inaccurately to Nakasongola District Local Government.

This arose during a hearing before the Public Accounts Committee on local government, where Nakasongola district leaders addressed the Auditor General’s report for the 2021/2022 financial year.

The report revealed that out of a budget of Shs20 billion, Shs114 million was returned to the Consolidated Fund.

Dr. Isingoma laid blame on the Finance Ministry, emphasizing that the ministry holds the responsibility for ensuring precise fund allocations. He commented during this week’s Committee session, “The problem is with the ministry [of Finance] and not districts. We just need evidence that this money was sent back to the Consolidated Fund.”

The Auditor’s Report prompted Ms. Betty Naluyima, the Shadow Minister of Local Government, to question why funds were being returned to the Consolidated Fund. She voiced, “Explain to this committee because the majority of the local governments are crying that they do not have money and yet others are returning money to the Consolidated Fund.”

Ms. Edith Kirega, Nakasongola’s Principal Accountant, clarified that the Shs114 million was an excess amount. She referred to a case where the district initially requested Shs49 million for the first quarter, but the Finance Ministry disbursed Shs89.4 million.

“During the indexation, our calculation was Shs49 million but the Ministry of Finance sent us more money,” Ms. Kirega explained.

Mr. Ibanda Rwemulikya, the Ntoroko County Member of Parliament, questioned the district’s failure to disclose the receipt of excess funds. He commented, “Your explanation does not add up. Money was sent, you kept quiet. It was excess, it is because you knew this money was for eating.”

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Mr. Noah Mutebi, the Nakasongola County Member of Parliament, inquired about an inquiry into the excess funds. “When did you realize that you received excess money? Did you notify the Ministry of Finance that you received excess?” he asked.

Ms. Kirega responded, stating that no inquiry was made and the excess funds were only identified at the end of the financial year.

Committee Chairperson Mr. Gilbert Olanya announced that the matter will be presented to the Finance Ministry. He expressed his bewilderment over how funds could be returned to the Consolidated Fund through budget inflation. “If there is connivance, it starts with the Finance Ministry. But the local governments should also be able to ask finance about excess funds,” he said.

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