Uganda’s ICT Ministry Fails to Utilise Sh5b budget money

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

The information and technology ministry (ICT) used only 19.4% of the money allocated to it during the 2007/08 financial year.

The MPs on the ICT committee yesterday expressed surprise on learning that out of sh6.5b allocated to the ministry, only sh1.5b was spent. The finance ministry rated this performance as "below expectation".

"The ministry has generally under-performed. It raises question on underutilisation of resources and understaffing in the sector," said committee chairman Edward Baliddawa.

The MPs also demanded to know why the ministry had not recruited workers given that the Cabinet had approved the staffing structure in 2007.

Undersecretary Albert Mugumya said of the 10 vacancies, 37 had been filled and interviews were ongoing under the Public Service Commission.

"We expect the commission to have filled up the posts by the end of June. The vacant positions that may not be filled this year will be filled in the next financial year."

But Baliddawa was not convinced. "How do you talk of recruitment now when the ministry started in 2006? You keep saying you are thin on the ground, when will you be thick?"

Grace Tubwita (NRM) and Baliddawa also demanded to know who would take responsibility for the unspent funds.

Baliddawa directed that the unspent money be taken to the Consolidated Fund as required by the law.

The MP also noted that $60m the ministry was seeking from the Chinese Exim Bank for the national backbone infrastructure project was not reflected in the finance ministry's estimates.

Baliddawa said all donor funds were supposed to be noted by the finance ministry.

He added that the finace ministry, which was supposed to co-fund the project would not do so if the Chinese contribution was not reflected in the Budget.

New Vision