Budaka district has returned Shs2b to the national treasury after failing to utilize the funds at the close of the last Financial Year 2019/2021.
The Chief Administrative Officer Mr. Elly Piwang confirmed this to the Nile post at his office.
According to Mr. Piwang, the money returned was earmarked under the Uganda Intergovernmental fiscal transfer (UGIFTs) project for the construction of three Seed secondary schools and upgrade of Namusita health center to health center three.
The schools are Kamonkoli seed Secondary in Kamonkoli sub-county, Mugiti seed secondary in Mugity sub-county, and Nansanga Seed Secondary in Nansanga sub-county and Namusita health center.
‘’Yes, it’s true as a district at the close of the financial year we were unable to absorb approximately 2 billion shilling which we received under UGIFTs project due to quite a number of challenges we as a district experienced’’ he said
He added that the district was also unable to spend Shs600m of the Shs1.6b received from the central government, which Mr. Piwang attributed to delay in procurement and making bills of quantities by the central government.
He explained that for Kamonkoli seed which the district had received the budget of 1.6 billion, they could not spend the money because the project was challenged with a court injunction arising from the case where a donor who had willingly donated the land to the district changed his mind and instead dragged the district to court demanding for Shs500m compensation.
The land donor accused the district of illegally encroaching on his piece of land without his knowledge.
‘’AS a result, the contractor couldn’t proceed with his work and the money has been held at the district project accounts pending clearance from court’’ he said
For Nansanga and Mugiti the CAO blamed it to the delay by the central government in procurement and making bills of quantities under the high breed procurement system.
The Chief Accounting Officer was optimistic that when the processes are finalized the district will be in a position to requisition for the monies for works to commence adding that the district has worked with the communities and secured the land titles for the two schools.
Another project of Namusita health center upgrade which initially they had challenges with the capacity of the contractor is almost concluded.
While citing education as the most affected department the CAO said the ramification has led to delay in service delivery, failure in the recruitment of teachers, pupils, and provision of employment opportunities among others.
‘’I call upon communities to come strongly and support government projects and always endeavor to come to an amicable consensus whenever conflicts arise for the benefit of their communities’’ he said
Mr. Paul Higenyi the District Education Officer called for calm among members of the public saying works for Nansanga and Mugiti will soon commence immediately when the government returns the money in quarters of this financial year.
For Kamonkoli seed Higenyi said the matter has turned political as their invisible hands exploiting the situation with intent to siphon money from the district coffers in form of compensation after peddling lies to the land donor that Shs500m was got from the government for buying the land.
Hon. Davis Gole former member of parliament Budaka county and Kakule sub-county councilor said the government should relax on the conditions regarding access to these funds saying local governments have limited power over the funds which cripple service delivery.
Budaka district has a population of 253,000 with 20 Administrative units (14 sub-counties and 6 town councils) and 323 villages.