The Ministry of Health failed to absorb Shs 99.4 billion last financial year despite a number of unfunded priorities in the health sector that need to be addressed, a Value-for-Money Audit by the Auditor General has revealed.
According to the report, unutilized funds were mainly funds earmarked for construction projects, procurement of specialised medical equipment, pension, gratuity and social contribution, among others.
"Failure to absorb funds was attributed to Procurement delays, and delayed verification of decentralised
pensioners in Regional Referral Hospitals," notes part of the report.
Ministry officials told the Auditor General, that "long procurement processes and delays in obtaining necessary approvals from development partners including release of funds remain critical challenges to the absorption of externally financed projects."
According to the same report, the ministry diverted Shs 28.7 billion from planned outputs to other activities without the authority of the accounting officer.
Mulago hospital complex had been allocated Shs 22 billion but more than half of that (Shs 14 billion) was diverted to other activities.
More than 90% of funds allocated Uganda Blood Transfusion Services (UBTS) were diverted to other uses. UBTS was allocated Shs 87 million but only received Shs 7 million.
"The analysis showed that on average over 50% of the funds released for the above Sub-Programs were not spent on the planned outputs. This impacted on the achievement of the planned outputs. For example Motor vehicles for support supervisions and districts, under the Uganda Reproductive Maternal and Child Health services Improvement Project, construction of the Regional hospital for paediatrics surgery all under MoH, Monitoring, supervision & Appraisal of capital works at Fort Portal RRH, Renovation of maternity and Surgical wards to improve on the labour suite and all other service areas on the two wards, and Purchase of assorted medical equipment including monitors for high dependency units (Sterilizers and laundry machines) in Mbarara RRH among others were affected by the diversions above," the report notes