Government through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning has adopted an operating tool that will be used to assess its expenditure and service delivery to the people of Uganda.
The tool is called the Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability program which was initiated in 2001 by the World Bank, European Union Commission, IMF, France United Kingdom, Norway and Switzerland as a methodology and reference tool for Public Finance Management (PFM) diagnostic assessment.
This program was launched in Kampala on Tuesday, June 28 under the theme; Depending Accountability & Service Delivery.
Speaking at the launch, Ramathan Ggoobi, the permanent secretary to the treasury said that this tool will ensure that government improves the accountability of those resources that it either gets from the people of Uganda through taxation or by borrowing and entrust them with accounting officers to deliver services to people.
“Since 2006 there has been an effort by government supported by development partners and civil society to enhance accountability and with new development this year we are going to go beyond just accountability, we are to deepen it but also consider delivery of services. So we are going to be accounting but also showing results,”he said.
According to him, this improvement will enable government to move away from hard reforms by dealing with individuals responsible for accountability. These individuals some of whom have been trained to operate this program will further be supported to ensure that they know what they are doing especially in terms of monitoring government projects so as to improve public investment management.
He pointed out that although Covid19 affected some government projects over the past two years, many others have been delayed before which has cost government a lot of money over the years but with the adoption of PEFA, human factors which led to such are going to be dealt with and eliminated.
“This will ensure projects are completed on time and on budget to save money and is the message to all accounting officers across government,” he added.
The ministry also ruled that no project shall go into the budget when it has not been fully studied and this will not matter where the project is coming from. Accounting officers were also advised on costing of projects which government said must accurate to the task going to be done.
“No more varying and postponement of completion dates of projects.” said the permanent secretary.
Relatedly, Civil society organisations applauded the development saying that it will increase value for money for and improve on planning by central government.
“Now that government is assessing itself through an independent body, as civil society organisations we are happy that there is this time where government will stop and assess what it has been doing, where is it and where it should go. We are also happy that this development has been added to others in progress like automation of government system, payment of taxes, automated procurement among others ,” said Julius Mukunda, the executive director of CSBAG.
He however highlighted the critical areas that needs to also be improved such as coordination of all government systems, public investment management among others.
This event involved exhibitions of systems in the ministry of finance, Uganda Revenue Authority and Ministry of Public Service.
It was attended by officials including the Commissioner General of URA, John Musinguzi, Ms. Belinda Kimuntale who represented development partners from KFW, Accountant General among others.