Keith Muhakanizi, the Secretary to the Treasury in the Ministry of Finance has cautioned Accounting Officers in government institutions to ensure transparency on their budget and how tax payers’ money is being spent.
He said this on Thursday while addressing the press on the release of funds for the First Quarter for the current 2018/19 financial year. The Ministry of Finance has released Shs 4.3 trillion to this effect.
Muhakanizi stressed that there should be a display of payrolls for salaries and monthly pensions on government institutions’ noticeboards every month, on top of performance reports and accountability.
“I have heard from some journalists that Accounting Officers are complaining that I am forcing them on transparency for the money they get from Central government,” Muhakanizi said.
“If I was doing that and we are not transparent, that’s a different matter. If I am sending you the money transparently, why don’t you want to display it to anybody publicly? What are you hiding?” Muhakanizi who is also Permanent Secretary in the Ministry wondered.
He said that if the Finance Ministry has undertaken what he called major budget reforms in terms of public access to financial expenditure, the same should be done at the sub-county and district level.
“Anybody who wants that information must be given. I don’t think there is anybody who turns up here seeking information and it is not given to you. We reformed and everybody else must reform,” he said.
But commenting on the issue of transparency, Julius Mukunda, the Executive Director for Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) asked that the Ministry of Finance puts in place sanctions that will help in enforcing transparency within government agencies.
“What we are lacking is enforcement. I think these MDAs (Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government) are still taking it for granted that there are no sanctions if they don’t follow instructions that you have given them,” Mukunda told Muhakanizi.
He added; “We are looking forward to your guidance and commitment and enforce for those who are not doing it”.
Muhakanizi also commented on the issue of appointment or sacking of Accounting Officers who comply/fail in accounting for public resources. While some critics say some Accounting Officers have been reappointed yet they have inefficiencies, Muhakanizi said that for whoever that was reappointed, the Ministry was satisfied with their responses to given queries.
“Our objective is not to hang wrongly. I want to give you enough time to ensure that by the time I have decided that you are not being reappointed and recommend to DPP, IGG or Police to take action, I have satisfied myself that you have failed to answer those questions”.
“Those whom we have reappointed have answered the queries, until someone gives us information that such and such was not done. We are ready to deal with that,” he said.