Officials from the Ministry of Trade led by the Permanent Secretary, Grace Adong have been questioned over the delayed verification and compensation of claims by Cooperative Unions.
The officials had appeared before the Parliament Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to respond to a number of audit queries that were highlighted by the Auditor General in the 2017/2018 financial year audit report.
According to the Auditor General, the Ministerial Policy Statements for financial years 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18 has on several occasions indicated that compensation claims for cooperative unions would be verified, consolidated and a payments plan rolled accordingly but this has never taken place to date.
The report added that a review of the available field visit reports specifically indicated that revitalization of the Cooperative Societies was hindered by lack of capitalization and access to commodity and agricultural credit.
It added that the Ministry has not prioritized the compensation of the Cooperative Unions that were affected by the war yet the payment would have helped inject finances into the Cooperative Unions.
According to the Ministerial Policy Statement for the year 2017/2018, government planned to compensate cooperatives unions for the losses incurred on war debts to the tune of Shs 2bn, however no payment has been made to date.
In her response, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade noted that they had paid all the money released under compensations to some of the cooperatives that have had their arrears verified.
“A total of 22 cooperative unions are still under verification by the inter-ministerial verification committee. The reports of 7 cooperative unions are ready and working on verifying the remaining 15 cooperative unions is in progress,” Adong said.
The legislators on the committee asked Adong to offer a list of the cooperative Unions that have been verified and those that are due for verification.
Adong listed the unions that have since been verified which include; Bunyoro Growers with verified claim of Shs 4.9bn, Masaka Cooperative Union with Shs 17.4bn, Teso Cooperative Union Shs 15.18bn, North Bukedi Cooperative Union with Shs 11.4bn, Masaaba Cooperative Union Shs 818m, Busoga Growers Cooperative Union Shs 6.52bn, Lango Cooperative Union with Shs 5.7bn.
She said that a total of Shs 3bn has been availed for compensation of the claimants in the financial year 2019/2020 an will be moving to compensate some cooperatives.