Should Accounting Officers be blamed for dropping alignment of Budget Framework Papers?

Should Accounting Officers be blamed for dropping alignment of Budget Framework Papers?
Finance Planning and Economic Development PS Keith Muhakazi launching the Public Finance Management Act Performance for the Financial Year 2016/2017

KAMPALA- The alignment of the approved sector Budget Framework Papers (BFPs) to the National Development Plan II declined from 68.2% to 58.5% in the FY 2016/17, a report by Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) has revealed.

This was during the launch of Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) 2015 Performance for FY 2016/17,  that took at Ministry of Finance offices in Kampala, early this week.

The launch was presided over by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development and Secretary to Treasury Keith Muhakanizi. 

According to the Policy Advisor at the Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG), Walakira Nyanzi, there was the issue of compliance of institutional performance to the national planning frameworks, then it was the NDP II and the challenge of having the assets very well managed as opposed to buying and dumping to rot, and the main culprit in this has been the Ministry of Health.

However, he said there was a moderate satisfactory compliance of the annual budget with the NDP II targets and results provides room for improvement.  

‘Enact a law that sanctions MDAs to address compliance recommendations.

Walakira therefore said that there’s a need to enact a law that sanctions MDAs to address the NPA’s certificate of compliance recommendations as a condition before their respective budget approvals.

 “This will address a number of service delivery constraints, hence calling for the review of the PFMA 2015 to increase the vetting period of sector budget proposals to provide MDAs adequate time to address issues raised in the national budget” He said. 

Some of the report recommendations include urging the Government to fully operationalize the Contingencies Fund to safeguard the fiscal state of the country in case of natural disasters, prioritise off-setting domestic arrears to safeguard private sector businesses among others. 

The Ministry of  Finance  Accountant General Lawrence Ssemakula said that although there was a drop in alignment of NBFPs to NDP II in the FY 2016/17, as reported, there has since then been tremendous improvements by a number of Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies. 

“Between 2016/17 and now, we have done several other improvements in compliance. NDPII is coming to an end and we are going to NDPIII and the budget is definitely aligned to NDPIII and that’s what we are trying to do. We expect that the compliance will be much higher than what we had in 2016/17,” Ssemakula explained. 

The Ministry of Finance Permanent Secretary Keith Muhakanizi in his remarks said that Government has concentrated in other areas in public finance management and accountability, but there are challenges in asset management and procurement. 

On the drop in alignment of NBFPs to NDP, Muhakanizi said said that they are tri as much as possible to amalgamate these two because they are all in the constitution.

“When people are criticizing us that we have not very much implemented the things which to alignment of National Planning Authority plan, they must also go and assess us what we have done on presidential manifesto which is a constitutional requirement.” Muhakanizi said.

According to Walakira, this is an annual event.