Management of pension funds in districts still poor – MPs

Members of Parliament on the Public Service and Local Government Committee have expressed discontent with the mismanagement of funds to cater for pension and gratuity of retired public servants.

Following a field visit to the districts of Yumbe, Apac, Omoro, Otuke and Adjumani, the MPs noted wage shortfalls and bureaucracies in initiating and concluding payment of pensions.

"The Committee was informed that the delayed access to the pension payroll by new retirees was mainly caused by long verification and clearance process of pension files by the Ministry of Public Service," said Hon. Godfrey Onzima, the Committee Chairperson.

The Committee recommends that the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development ensures that funds for the pending items be the first call on the budget.

Mukono South MP, Hon. Johnson Muyanja Ssenyonga noted with discontent the poor performance by accounting officers at districts, which he attributed to slow progress in financing the arrears at hand.

"We found out that some accounting officers do not have the skills to do the work [hence] delaying proper management of funds, and this problem ends up being transferred to Government," said Muyanja Ssenyonga.

Bwamba County MP, Hon. Richard Gafabusa Muhumuza noted that the delay in the wage bill and delays by Ministry of Finance to disburse money to cater for pensions and gratuity caused many arrears in the visited districts.

“We need to engage the Finance Ministry and get information from them that can in turn inform our report, as we visit other districts to study this matter,” said Gafabusa.

In another development, Hon. Onzima said money to operationalize all town councils across the country is a lot and that the process should be done in a phased manner.

"We will invite the Ministry of Finance and that of Local Government as well other stakeholders to give us clarity on how the different town councils will be phased into the budget," Onzima said.

The Committee is slated to visit, consult on pension and payroll management in 18 other regions of the country including Ankole, Kigezi, Buganda, Busoga, Teso, West Nile and Karamoja among others.

"If we are to present a good report to Parliament, we should have expedited meetings in other regions of the country to capture their input," said Hon. Raphael Magyezi.

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