Mityana inter-faith leaders push for allocation of family planning funds

By Alice Lubwama

Senior Inter faith leaders from Mityana have committed to work with the district local government leaders to truck the integrated family planning funds up to the intended user.

They made the commitment during a multi stakeholder’s dialogue organized by faith for family health initiative discussing the expenditure and accountability of the family planning funds.

During the same meeting the district health officer Dr Fred Lwasampijja observed that although Mityana District was the first to develop the family planning costed implementation plan in the country, it has been difficult to determine the amount of funds allocated to family planning provision because the district has no clear family planning budget line.

Lwasampijja is also concerned with the delay and reduced disbursement of funds for health budget from the central government to the district which has led to stock outs resulting to decreased uptake of family planning services.

Reverend Moses Ssemugooma of Mityana diocese says that as religious leaders they will continue engaging the policy makers and donors to ensure prompt and timely disbursement of the health budget.
Ssemugooma also has asked the district leadership to determine the percentage of the health budget which should go to family planning to facilitate transparency and accountability.

“There is need to advocate for better health services because, 17 percent of girls in the district are getting pregnant and the cases of abortion are alarming so we need to do something to save the situation, Ssemugooma noted.

Sheikh Abdalla katongole of the Uganda Muslim supreme council said that the drop in family planning allocation has greatly impacted on the family planning provision, yet the number of teenage pregnancies has highly gone up due to the fact that children are not at school.` `Although we encourage children to abstain from sex but many of them especially those between 12 to 18 years are getting pregnant because they have engaged in different activities while at home, for a long period.

Sheik katogole asks the policy makers to think of ways how children can go back to school because they are more safe there than at home.
katongole add that as religious leaders, they will work with the medical personnel in Mityana district to develop messages for the communities on the advantages and disadvantages of family planning so that they make informed decisions.

UMEME gets funds to increase electricity connectivity around the country

By Gloria Nakiyimba

Electricity distributor UMEME limited has secured 258 billion shillings funding to support its planned investments in the electricity distribution network.

Selestino Babungi the managing director UMEME says the funds from Stanbic Bank, Standard chartered bank, and the Dutch Development Bank allow the company to reinforce the net work over the next two-three years, to expand the system, drive efficiency and increase electricity connectivity . The financing will see Umeme increase grid connection by one million customers; improve reliability of supply across the country.
“Umeme aims to make investments in the network necessary to drive industrialization and to create efficiency throught reducing technical losses on the network” said Babungi.

According to Babungi, they need to get the losses down to 13 percent by 2025, add 2 million households to the national grid, and to improve reliability to ensure provision of safe, reliable and quality power to all households.

Patrick Bitature the chairman of the UMEME Board revealed that the company is in discussions with the government to seek the electricity distribution concession beyond 2025.

This he said “ would allow the company to raise the much needed capital to evacuate and uptake the power from Karuma/ Isimba and increase connections to achieve government of Uganda’s access target of 40% by 2025”.
The company will also use part of the syndicated funding led by International Finance Cooperation –IFC to convert the remaining 250,000 customers onto prepayment billing system.

UMEME has so far rolled out one million prepaid meters and collecting for the sector 99 per cent of the money that is billed used to pay the transmission company and generators.

UGX 152 Bn has been released for road maintenance across the country

The Uganda road fund has released 152 billion shillings for road maintenance across the country, for the quarter two financial years 2018 /2019, though halting funds for two districts including Kole and
Pakwach .

While announcing the funds In Kampala today, the executive director Uganda road fund engineer Michael Odong said that the accounting officers for the two districts had failed to present accountabilities for the previous funds during the financial year 2017/ 2018.

Odong stresses that the road fund committees for those districts should ensure that the accounting officers properly accounts for the funds given to their districts before any fund can be released.

“We cannot eliminate corruption 100%, but there is good utilization of the road fund maintenance by the agencies.” Odong said.

Odong adds that proper utilization of the funds has been their biggest achievement in the last 10 years.

80% of the funds released will focus on the community access roads especially in sub counties , warning road agencies not to deviate from the terms given in the performance agreements as they receive the funds.

He has also blamed members of parliament especially those from Kampala district of not playing their oversight role of monitoring the use of funds.

“Since funds have been released, concerned MPs should meet immediately to make a work plan for the roads to be worked on.

On road safety, he commended drivers and transporters for being vigilant on the roads eventually   reducing on road accidents.

He has also asked    bus owners to employ drivers whose social and economic problems can be managed especially while driving, telling them to ensure that  when they are  employing these people, their eyes
are tested, and  drinking habits  know.

“Even when they have social problems they cannot concentrate on the steering , somebody has been quarreling with the wife the whole night he did not sleep but you’re  telling  him to drive to Lira, of
course he will cause an accident.” he explained.

A member of the road fund Nathan Byanyima warned the road agencies not to exaggerate the cost of road maintenance because a few of them will be worked on and this affects the communities.

92 billion will go to the Uganda National Roads Authority, 6.8 billion or Kampala Capital City Authority,717 billion for districts,9 billion will go to the municipalities, town councils receive 7.7 billion
shillings, community access roads have been given 17 billion shillings  among others.

DPP apologizes over missing funds

By  Edwin Muhumuza

The Directorate of Public Prosecution is on the spot over the alleged cover up of diversion of funds. Over 102million shillings meant to fund entity activities was depleted contrary to section 45 of the Public Finance Management Act(PFMA)2015.

The committee has been meeting the deputy Director of Public Prosecution Amos Ngolobe over audit queries among which were concerns of under-performance, highlighting a number of planned activities not implemented, even when it,(the directorate) received funds on time as budgeted.

Led by the Deputy Director of Public Prosecution, Amos Ngoloobe, flanked by Vincent Wangonja(SA DPP), Odumbi James(principal accountant/PA DPP), Agnes Kainza(DAS), and other senior officials, they appeared before the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee, which grilled them over matters raised by the Auditor General’s Report of 2016/17.

They include failure to open nationwide offices/stations, failure to implement the prosecution case management information system(PROCAMIS),failure to recruit staff, over half-a million case back log, and other irregularities.

The committee chaired by Hon. Gerald Karuhanga expressed disappointment after they could not clearly account for 102million shillings that was diverted for unknown purposes,

‘’Only Four stations have been opened, and 114 still await set up.the four include Buganda Road, Entebbe, Mukono, Kololo and the headquarters, however since 2014,the directorate has been receiving shs.3bn for that activity every year, wondered the committee chair. Hon Karuhanga.’’

Shs.5.1bn was intended for the software, equipment and the installation of the prosecution case management information system(PROCAMIS) but only shs.3.7bn was spent on the software.”

Unfortunately there was no documented proof or official report on how the funds were spent.

”we do not have an official report for that’’, said Odumbi James,the accountant , adding that they lumped up all costs since they were meant for similar activities, a move the committee rejected .

“lumping up is the very reasons we lose money, you cannot account in generality’’ we want an official document showing that you spent 2.6bn on the software. Did you actually pay that money to the IT firm, can you prove it?’’asked Hon. Karuhanga.

Mr.Odumbi also laboriously revealed that shs.333million was spent on network development, Shs 3.7 Bn to suppliers of the system.To support his submission,Mr. Ngoloobe attributed the delay to install ICT systems to the continuous change in technology.

They however lacked statements of account, contracts, work plans and other supportive documents.

The public Accounts Committee is mandated to examine the audited accounts showing the appropriation of the sums granted by Parliament to meet the public expenditure of government.

The Directorate has been given 10 working days to deliver all documentation for purposes of accountability by parliament ,summing up their submissions on expenses as doubt-able expenditure.

Background Facts

The office of the Directorate of Public Prosecution was allocated Shs 28Bn as grants from the central government,97.7% of the approved budget 2016/17.Amidst this funding inefficiencies in administration have emerged according to the auditor General’s report which reveals the following shortcomings; inadequate wages for 2015/16,under funding of shs.585million, out of 18 staff only 2 were recruited, delayed response from neighboring countries during prosecution of cross border cases, 400,377 outstanding cases(30th June 2015),new cases at 130,472,total(convicted,acquitted,dismissed,withdrawn,closed)-134,887 and closing balance of 395,962 cases.

Masaka Hospital bosses arrested for embezzling funds

Two top officials of Masaka Regional Referral Hospital are in trouble for alleged embezzlement of billions of Shillings. They are Dr. Florence Tugumisirize, the Director Masaka Regional Referral Hospital and the Principal Hospital Administrator, Ereazer Mugisha.

The duo was picked up in a night raid by police and officers from the State House Drug monitoring Unit paralyzing health service delivery to patients. Five other officials attached to the finance department whose particulars haven’t been established have also been arrested.

Some of the operatives who conducted the raid told URN on condition of anonymity that the suspects are wanted for the theft of billions of Shillings. According to one of the sources, the officials are implicated in the Auditor General’s and State House Health Monitoring Audit Unit reports for failure to account for over 5billion Shillings.

John Mwaule, the Masaka District Police Commander declined to comment on the arrests, saying investigations are still ongoing. The arrested officials are in custody at Masaka Central Police Station. The suspects have not yet commented on the matter as they couldn’t be reached by our reporter.

Swaibu Sulambaaya, the Chairman of Patients Masaka Regional Referral Hospital, says they are happy with the arrest of the top administrators. Sulambaaya alleges that the hospital suspended patient meals illegally yet government releases money to feed patients without financial support.

Last year, the Auditor General faulted the hospital management for allowing the shoddy construction of the maternity and children wards. Government released Shillings 10 billion for the work.




Electoral Commission funders opt out

Electoral Commission has turned to government for funds to procure the results transmission kit for the February, 18 general elections.
The move follows a decision by the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF) to withdraw from an earlier commitment to co-fund the procurement of the Electronic Results Transmission and Dissemination System.

Information obtained by URN shows that DGF had promised to pay Shillings 4.5 billion of the Shillings 9 billion required for the procurement. However, DGF has withdraw support for the system, leaving the Commission stranded.

Sam Rwakoojo, the Electoral Commission confirmed to URN the cancellation of the funding, saying they are now looking up to government to provide the money.

He says it will be absurd if government doesn’t provide the needed funding.

Mads Mayerhofer, the chairperson of DGF’s Steering Committee told URN in an email, that they withdrew funding in December last year after Electoral Commission canceled the contract of Cytel, to supply the result transmission technology in favour of Avante, under suspicious circumstances.

“After careful consideration, the DGF decided that the last minute decision to change provider raised concern as to the transparency of the procurement process as well as the timely implementation of the ERTDS itself,” says Mayerhofer.

Mads says despite this, DGF will continue to fund other partnerships with EC that seek to provide clear and added value to the integrity of the electoral process through voter education.