RUGUNDA BLAMES BUREACURATS OVER GOVT FAILURE TO UTILISE LOANS AS TOP OFFICIALS TAKE STOCK OF PERFORMANCE OF DEV’T PROGRAMS
By Mulengera Reporter
Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda has opened the Government Performance Review for FY2019/20, and Annual Budget Conference by voicing his concerns over the procedures involved in government transactions, which he noted were responsible for failure to utilize money Uganda borrows for various projects.
Rugunda rightly admitted that the low absorption of loans and grants was “due to bureaucratic processes that delay the right of way for project execution, procurement delays, and inadequate implementation capacity,” adding that such “inefficiencies pose a big cost to Government through increased commitment fees (penalties charged by creditors for low absorption of loans) and generally wastage of resources.”
In the current Financial Year, Uganda will spend Shs4tn of the Shs45tn budget on payment of interest for various loans, some of which interest accumulates from unutilized loans. This is equivalent to nine per cent of the total budget, and expenditure on this alone is the third biggest after Works and Transport, which will take the lion’s share of Shs5.8tn (13 per cent) and security at Shs4.5tn (10 per cent).
Failure to utilize loans is also partly responsible for the decrease in performance at both outcome and output levels against the annual targets that were set by Sectors, Ministries, Departments, Agencies and Local Governments, according to Rugunda. The 2019/2020 FY performance report shows that performance across the 18 sectors decreased from 55 per cent in FY2018/2019 to 46 per cent in FY2019/2020 at outcome level. A reduction was also registered at output level, from 55 per cent in to 49 per cent over one financial year.
At the two-day retreat being held under the theme “Industrialization for Job Creation and Shared Prosperity,” Rugunda also complained about failure by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to submit timely reports.
With only a few people allowed into the retreat as a measure against the spread of Covid19, government officials will use this meeting to audit government performance regarding the previous financial year’s targets and the second National Development Plan NDP II (FY2015/16-FY2019/20) objectives, and evaluate each sector’s contribution in improving livelihoods and meeting NRM Government Manifesto commitments, among others.
As for the NDP II which ends this year, the Premier highlighted government performance over the years. He listed some of the achievements in this development plan’s targets as: improving Ugandans’ life expectance from 55 in 2011 to 63 years, way above the target of 56 years by 2020; reduction of maternal mortality rate from 438 deaths per 100,000 live births to 336 deaths per 100,000 live births against the 394 target; a decrease in infant mortality rate from 54 per 1000 live births in 2011 to 43, against the NDP II target of 50 deaths per 1000 live births by 2020; and cutting the under-five mortality rate from 90 per 1,000 live births in 2011 to 64, the 2020 target.
Uganda has also achieved the 30 per cent electricity connection rate target, thanks to the Energy Sector’s Electricity Connection Policy; while for the road target, efforts geared towards the rehabilitation and upgrade of national roads to tarmac roads has seen an increase in the number of paved roads from 4,157km in FY 2015/16 to 5,399km in FY 2019/20, an increase of 1,242km over the five-year period, although this means that the country failed to meet the 6,000km target by 10 per cent.
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