Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) recommends a Department of Finance audit of health funds

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The central government’s Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has recommended a forensic audit of the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) regarding the release of surplus funds to health facilities.

This was included in the report of the committee in the report of the Auditor General of the health sector for the financial year 2020/2021 which was presented during the plenary session on Tuesday September 20, 2022.

Chairman of the committee, the Hon. Medard Sseggona, cited the case of Lira Regional Referral Hospital in which he said the hospital submitted gratuity estimates of Shs 138,204,004 but MoFPED sent Shs 638,938,448.

“Similarly, Mubende Hospital reported an unspent balance of 2.15 billion shillings, attributing it to pension and gratuity fund allocation by MoFPED beyond the requirements of the ballot,” said said Sseggona.

He said the remittance of funds in excess of what is required by health facilities is to blame for the under-absorption by the majority of health facilities.

“The committee observes that the disbursement of more funds than necessary by the entity not only distorts budget planning, but also starves other deserving entities that fail to implement their plans due to inadequate funding. “, said Sseggona.

The committee also blamed the MoFPED for delaying the release of funds for the construction of 150 staff houses at Mulago hospital.

“This has forced beneficiaries to find alternative accommodation at market rates, which is costly and inconvenient, thus affecting service delivery,” reads the report.

According to the Auditor General, the construction of the houses was to start in June 2020 and end in June 2023, at a cost of 30 billion shillings.

“The accountant informed the committee that the delay was due to the government’s inability to provide funding for the project within the contractual time frame and funds have since been provided,” Sseggona said.

The committee recommended that management follow up with the contractor to ensure that the work is expedited since the funds have been budgeted.

The committee further called for the expansion of the Kawempe National Referral Hospital, to address the challenge of congestion.

“Government should find money to acquire land next to Kawempe National Referral Hospital by way of compulsory acquisition for the expansion of the facility to tackle congestion which risks spreading disease communicable diseases and also affects service delivery,” Sseggona said.

Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa, who postponed debate on the report to Tuesday, September 27, 2022, urged the health committee to consider the report as it focused on the health sector.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the Parliament of the Republic of Uganda.

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