Finance Summons Meeting Over Owc Queries On Budgets – New Vision

The finance ministry has summoned a meeting of all permanent secretaries and technical staff of ministries to answer queries that the Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) raised on the sh45.5 trillion budget, especially projects that are not aligned to the country’s priorities.

The finance ministry has summoned a meeting of all permanent secretaries and technical staff of ministries to answer queries that the Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) raised on the sh45.5 trillion budget, especially projects that are not aligned to the country’s priorities.

By David Lumu

The finance ministry has summoned a meeting of all permanent secretaries and technical staff of ministries to answer queries that the Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) raised on the sh45.5 trillion budget, especially projects that are not aligned to the country’s priorities.

According to the permanent secretary of the finance ministry, Keith Muhakanizi, the technical teams will meet the joint task force from OWC and the National Planning Authority (NPA) that was set up to review the 2020/2021 budget.

“During analysis of projects by OWC, it was noted that there are projects for which resources had already been borrowed, but were poorly performing.

“In addition, some of the project activities are not aligned to the national priority area of the Government as highlighted by the President,” Muhakanizi said in his July 7 letter, to all permanent secretaries.

The permanent secretaries are expected to provide work plans, appropriated budgets, budget corrigenda, detailed breakdown of all debts that are serviced through projects, revenue projects and budget estimates for semi-autonomous agencies and parastatals.

Sources have told New Vision that on July 3, OWC officials also met the finance minister, Matia Kasaija and asked that as part of the preparation for the reviews, the finance ministry should provide debtrelated information and profile of all the loans, especially those under the World Bank and the African Development Bank.

The first review meeting will take place today, at the conference hall of the finance ministry with OWC managers reviewing the ministries of energy, works, information and communications technology PARLIAMENT and the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA).

The ministries of education, gender, health, public service, internal affairs, foreign affairs and East Africa Community (EAC) affairs will defend their projects on Thursday while technocrats from agriculture and fisheries, lands, trade plus tourism will be audited on Friday.

During the national budget day, the President said he had asked the chief coordinator of OWC, Gen. Caleb Akandwanaho alias Salim Saleh, to review the budget in order to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and support food security, as well as job and wealth creation.

In a brief to the President, which New Vision has seen, OWC officials said the sh45.5 trillion budget is “heavy on consumptive and other individual expenses” and needs urgent reform for the COVID-19 shocks to be cured.

“When we looked at the draft budget estimates for the financial year 2020/2021, we identified 42 items out of a total of 143 items that could be reviewed to raise resources for the stated priorities.

“This is how we came up with the sh5.3 trillion proposal. However, the Ministry of Finance disagreed with our assumptions and a joint review was authorised by Cabinet,” OWC officials noted in their brief.

“A quick joint review realised sh400b by cutting only a few selected consumptive items. Our realistic, reasonable and rational analysis shows there is more money that can be found, over and above the sh440b so far realised,” OWC officials added.

The OWC officials added that the COVID-19 pressure on the economy has provided an opportunity for the country to reflect on “fault lines” in resource mobilisation and utilisation.

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