Minister Blames Parliament for Delay of UPE Funds

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In short
While delivering the ministry’s statement on the matter to parliament, Kasaija said that there was need for pre-financing as the ministry had undertaken reforms to improve the timeliness of the disbursements.

State minister for Finance (planning) Matia Kasaija has attributed the delay to disburse capitation grants for Universal Primary Education schools on Parliament’s failure to approve the supplementary budget for the funds.

While delivering the ministry’s statement on the matter to parliament, Kasaija said that there was need for pre-financing as the ministry had undertaken reforms to improve the timeliness of the disbursements.
 
He told parliament that the ministry decided to change the modality of disbursing the funds through the local government general accounts as it had been established that the modality caused delays from the accounts to the end user. As a result, Kasaija said, government piloted a straight-through processing mode of disbursement where funds would be directly transferred to schools from Bank of Uganda.
 
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Kasaija added that even after the change of modality, there were concerns from schools that the funds were reaching schools very late. He added that after the complaints from schools, President Yoweri Museveni directed that these funds should be disbursed and received by schools 15 days before the opening of the term.
 
He said that to actualise this, the ministry needed money for the ongoing term before the execution of the budget and therefore required pre-financing. He said that a supplementary request was brought to parliament for the funds but the request wasn’t approved.
 
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But the MPs rejected Kasaija’s statement saying it was contradicting what he told parliament yesterday and adding that there is no supplementary budget that parliament refused to approve.
 
Bukoto MP Mathias Nsubuga said that it is not proper for the minister to first tell parliament that the money is available but the ministry is carrying out investigations and later say that the money isn’t available because parliament didn’t approve the supplementary budget.
 
Kasaija on Wednesday told parliament that the ministry was still investigating the irregularities in the system which included delays and unclear enrolment numbers in schools.
 
Kyamuswa county MP Tim Lwanga asked the minister to explain where the shortages came from saying that the budget committee had actually budgeted more than the minister says was required.
 
Kalungu West MP Joseph Sewungu said that the reason there was inconsistent information was because the full minister sits down and lets the juniors handle matters even when she is present.
 
Maria Kiwanuka rose and asked parliament to give her time to address the matter.
 
The legislators rejected her suggestion and some suggested that the speaker institutes a select committee to probe the matter.
 
Most of the members rejected the suggestion of a select committee saying that there was no time to waste when the children are languishing in schools with no food and no scholastic materials.
 
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga ruled that the ministry comes back with an acceptable statement on Tuesday adding that if they fail she will set up a committee to probe the matter.