Investigate mega scandals, Oulanyah asks Committees

Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah wants accountability Committees to focus their efforts on queries involving huge sums of money.

Oulanyah, who opened the annual Accountability Sector Review in Munyonyo, said it is unnecessary to pursue minor inquiries.

“The problem is that the Committees want to interrogate every query, yet you have the query of billions of shillings,” said Oulanyah.

“Is it possible for Parliament Committees to set the threshold of the queries they want to deal with? If you want to shake everybody, you shake nobody,” he added.

Oulanyah said this will be the new magic wand to fight corruption and empty the shelves of backlog that trouble accountability Committees.

Parliament’s Accountability Committees include the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE), and Public Accounts Committee Local Government (PAC-LG).

The other is the Committee on Government Assurances, all of whose leadership by law is reserved for MPs belonging to the opposition.

Finance State Minister (Planning) David Bahati said corruption continues to be a major hindrance to economic growth, but emphasised government efforts on ending it.

Bahati said Uganda rests on a corruption perception index of 26 per cent, but vowed to have a complete end to the vice, which he blamed for “problems in public service delivery.”

The Minister said whereas the economy is growing, tax compliance is still low, causing revenue shortfalls and affecting public investment.

He said the tax to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio, which is the equation for assessing the rate of tax compliance, remains at 13.8 per cent, below the Ministry’s target of 13.9 per cent.

Revenue shortfalls resulting from low tax collections have since forced government to adopt vigorous tax measures, resulting into the controversial Mobile Money and Over The Top (OTT) tax levied on social media platforms like WhatsApp.

The meeting drew numerous Accounting Officers and Permanent Secretaries across government agencies and Ministries.

Also in attendance was Deputy Inspector General of Government George Bamugemereire, Uganda Revenue Authority Commissioner General Doris Akol and Accountant General Lawrence Semakula among others.

The retreat is to last two days.

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