“Bank of Uganda has assured law makers that the country’s economy remains financial shallow, to accommodate structures such as capping of interest. A dialogue here in Kampala between Members of Parliament, and the financial sector regulator also heard that current loan defaults at 8.3%, makes lending risky. In Kenya, legislators successfully passed a motion that was signed into law by President Uhuru Kenyatta, capping interest rates at 14%, aimed at shielding borrowers from spikes” (NTV Uganda, 2016)
This blog here will be focused on the ‘Office of the Auditor General’ who released ‘Annual report of the Auditor General for the Financial Year ended 30th June 2014 – Volume 5 Value for Money Audit’. What you will read is actual quotes from the paper or report. Here you get a vivid picture of how the financial year (FY 2013-2014) was in reality.
I haven’t taken everything from the piece. It would be too long and you might end up bored. Here is what should get your mind boggling and wonder. How could this be this way? Why is it like this? How did it end up like this? What does this tell me about the economic practices in Uganda? And so on. If you start to think like that, then it was worth using my time. Enjoy the quotes from the report. Hope you catch some wisdom.
When it comes to managing Public Debt:
“Public debt is incurred primarily for financing budget deficits, development of domestic financial markets, supporting the country’s Balance of Payment (BOP) position/foreign reserves and monetary policy objectives. In Uganda, public debt is managed by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) in liaison with Bank of Uganda (BoU). Government borrows internally from domestic markets through issuance of Treasury bills and Bonds by the BoU and externally through Bilateral and multilateral borrowings. Currently, over 60% of the public debt is external debt and 40% is domestic debt. GoU borrowing has been rising over the years from USD 5.7 billion in Financial Year (FY) 2011/12 to USD 7 billion in FY 2013/14. The growing National debt, if not properly managed, could revert to unsustainable levels as was the case in the past”.
“Interest rates on domestic debt have overall stabilised in recent years relative to their peak in 2011/12. However, they remain a cause for concern due to their high contribution to overall debt service costs and the relatively high yields which they attract stand in stark contrast to those achieved by comparator nations with similar credit ratings”.
When it comes to roads:
“The Uganda Road Fund invested a total of UGX 914 billion in road maintenance activities during the three years under review (2011/2012, 2012/2013 and 2013/2014),4 with a total of 4,565km of roads maintained. Despite the increasing investment, there are reports and persistent public outcry about the poor state of roads and the deteriorating quality of works being executed. The physical and financial performance reports of designated agencies in FY 2011/12 revealed the following issues: budget indiscipline, poor absorption of road maintenance funds, inaccuracies in reporting, lethargy of Designated Agencies (DAs) in complying with reporting requirements, widely varying unit costs, risk of loss of funds through end of year procedures, and grave underperformance of periodic maintenance works” (…) ”The road maintenance needs in Uganda cannot be met due to limited resources, for example for FY 2011/2012, the total maintenance needs from the agencies was UGX 413.95bn, and the budget provided by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) was UGX 280.95bn, indicating a 32% deficit” (…) “The road maintenance equipment inventory maintained by the URF is incomplete; the inventory is only for 12 (55%) of the municipalities and it is outdated as it was submitted in January 2011”.
When it comes to Gas and Oil:
“Through a review of reports on procurement submitted by the oil companies to PEPD, it was noted that from 2010-2013, the oil companies spent a total of USD 1,171.8 million on purchase of goods and services. Of this, USD 329.9 million was paid to Ugandan service providers, representing 28% of the total spend for all the companies in the period under review” (…) “The Ugandan service providers comprised about 73% of the approved suppliers which implies that the total value of the procurements from them was less than their relative number” (…) “Ugandans employed in the oil and gas sector by the oil companies overall rose from 69% in 2012 to 80% in 2014, absolute numbers of employees decreased from 546 to 432 between 2013 and 2014; in particular, the nationals dropped from 370 to 347 over the same period” (…) “For all the 27 jobs advertised in the newspapers, attracting over 700 local applicants, none was appointed, citing lack of experience in the oil and gas sector. Instead, the recruitment report submitted by the CNOOC to PEPD recommended recruitment of expatriates” (…) “According to the Industrial baseline survey done by the Joint Venture partners (CNOOC, TEP and TUOP), 60% of the workforce required for the next phases will be technicians and craftsmen, which translates to a demand of 7,800 and 1,800 technicians and craftsmen at the peak and plateau phases, respectively, of development and production. With the current total of only 86 UPIK graduates, there is doubt that the projected demand will be met by the time production starts (2018)” (…) “There are still several areas with clear potential for enhancing national content, such as: establishment of a clear regulatory framework, performance targets and indicators for national content; determining the level of state participation; local supplier development; employment and training of Nationals by the oil companies and government; ensuring gender parity and involving host communities”.
When it comes to the Healthcare:
“The Uganda Health Systems Strengthening Project (UHSSP) is a project administered under the Ministry of Health (MoH)” (…) “UHSSP, is a five year project, which was established in 2010, commenced operations in February 2011 and is due to end on 31st July 2015. The UHSSP project is jointly funded by the Government of Uganda (GoU) and the World Bank to a tune of USD 14.31 million and USD 130 million, respectively” (…) “UHSSP was set up to bridge the existing gap of supply and maintenance of medical equipment in 46 selected health facilities in order to improve the quality of health care delivered to patients. The project has spent USD 24 million (UGX 60.480 billion) on procurement and supply of these medical equipment, yet some of the equipment remains unused in the facilities where it was supplied” (…) “For instance, at the time of audit field visit in September 2014, the project had supplied anesthetics machines to 165 HCIVs at a cost of USD 2,063,085.75, however, all the HCIVs visited were not utilising this equipment because they lacked the technical expertise to effectively utilise the equipment. In a related instance, 2 auto strainers valued at USD 25,345.68, which were issued to Mubende and Moroto Regional Referral Hospitals, are not operational because of lack of qualified staff” (…) “observations conducted during field visits to the seventeen selected beneficiary health facilities, it was noted that some of the equipment supplied, worth Euros 3,954.67 and USD 1,209,879.09, was not being used at all while other equipment was not optimally utilized” (…) “Through field inspections, it was observed that health facilities namely Mwizi had no power supply while others such as: Moyo, Aduku, Aboke Pakwach had unreliable solar power supply, and therefore, were not providing emergency obstetric care services when needed” (…) “that various equipment supplied by the project, worth USD 319,676.35 and Euros 347.24, required additional logistical supplies to be effectively put to use. Such equipment included anesthesia units which required regulators, oxygen cylinders and other reagents while incubator cultures, incubator baby, defribrators, counting chamber, colorimeter required Medias, distilled water, thermometers, tubes and batteries”.
When it comes to handling Public Debt Part 2:
“Uganda benefited from the various Debt relief initiatives like the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) Initiative in 1998, the Enhanced HIPC in 2000 and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI) in 2006. Despite these initiatives, GoU borrowing has been rising over the years from USD 5.7 billion in Financial Year (FY) 2011/12 to USD 7 billion in FY 2013/14. The growing National debt, if not properly managed, could revert to unsustainable levels as was the case in the past” (…) “In the FY 2013/14 Public debt increased to USD 7 billion up from USD 6.4 billion in F/Y 2012/13, reflecting a 9.38% increment in one year alone, the increment was way above the GDP growth of 6.2% in the FY 2013/14. Domestic debt accounted for 9.55% (UGX 1,437 billion) of the National budget, 2014/15 an increase of 1.65% (UGX 397 billion) from 7.9% (UGX 1,040 billion) in financialyear 2013/14. External financing on the other hand increased from UGX 2,660 billion in F/Y 2013/14 to UGX 2,733 billion of the National budget, 2014/15 an increase of UGX 73 billion. As non-concessional borrowing increases, the need for proper debt management becomes even much greater” (…) “On average, 60% of public debt is external loans of which Multilateral loans constitute over 80%. The domestic debt is largely derived from the sale of bonds which constituted an average of about 60% over the period FY2011/12 – 2013/14 “ (…) “In evaluating whether the debt, acquisition process facilitates debt sustainability, the audit mainly focussed on the acquisition of external debt since it constitutes over 60% of the National debt portfolio” (…) “The 2012 corruption scandal involving the Prime Minister’s office resulted in a changed relationship between multilateral lenders to the Ugandan government and a consequent reduction in the amount of aid in the form of direct budget support. Budget support in 2011/12 amounted to 168m USD, but reduced to 24.1m USD in 2013/14. The shortfall has in part been filled through domestic financing” (…) “The lack of coordination between debt and cash management functions contributed to inaccurate forecasting of cash needs. This exacerbated the problem of unplanned cuts to government programmes and led to the needless issuance of short-term debt, with the associated debt service costs” (…) “it was noted that local government authorities still held significant cash balances accrued from non-tax revenues and unutilised balances which were not remitted to the Consolidated Fund regularly, and that some accounts containing cash lay dormant, risking embezzlement” (…) “the current economic conditions characterised by reduced exports and a depreciating Ugandan Shilling against the dollar (30% for the last 4 months) there is a risk of stress which can affect future sustainability. Interest rates on domestic debt remain a cause for concern due to their high contribution to overall debt service costs (78%)”
When it comes to Health Care Part 2:
“Over the past three financial years 2011/12, 2012/13 and 2013/14, there has been an 18% increment in the funding of RRHs from UGX 53.86 billion to UGX 63.56 billion” (…) “Jinja nd Lira RRHs revealed that Jinja RRH which ran a 13-bed Intensive Care unit only used 6 of the beds, leaving 7 beds idle in the unit while Lira RRH had not utilized its 16-bed ICU since FY 2012/13. The Hospital Directors of Jinja and Lira RRHs explained that more nurses wouldhave to be deployed as each bed required at least 2 full time nurses to the unit to ensure full utilisation of the unit without compromising the quality of care. The unit would also require full time doctors and an anaesthesiologist. In Lira RRH, management explained that the ICU had not been commissioned and that its underutilisation was also due to the absence of an oxygen plant” (…) “With the current ICU bed capacity in Uganda of 61 in all public and private hospitals, 23 unutilized ICU beds in Jinja and Lira represents a wasted resource. It is estimated that about 10 critically ill patients were deprived of ICU admission daily and as a result succumbed to their illnesses” (…) “Hospital managers in response attributed this to the lack of bio medical engineers and high costs of repairing the equipment, for instance, according to Jinja RRH, the maintenance of the En-Visor ultra sound machine and the repairs of the Duo-Diagnostic big x-ray machine requires not less than UGX 15 million, and without a medical equipment maintenance fund, it is a challenge to maintain and repair the radiology and imaging machines. Management of Fort Portal RRH attributed the low usage of the x-ray and ultrasound machines to stock-outs of the supplies, such as reagents and films required for the operation of this diagnostic equipment” (…) “The average doctor-patient ratio per year in RRHs was 12440:1 implying one doctor for 34 patients per day while clinician- patient ratio was 10652:1 annually implying one clinician for 29 patients” (…) “For example; Kabale, Fort Portal, Masaka and Mbale Regional Hospitals referred some special cases to Mbarara RRH for services like CT scan, renal dialysis, neurosurgeon, paediatric surgery. In addition, lack of adequate staff has led to referrals to the National Referral Hospital and this has further resulted in the congestion and handling of cases at National Referral Hospital which cases could be handled by the RRHs. The process of referrals is costly and in some cases patients lose their lives in the process of reaching the health facility to which they have been referred”.
When it comes to Management of Sewage in Urban areas:
“Poor sanitation costs Uganda 389 billion shillings annually, equivalent to 1.1% of the national GDP” (…) “Fifty six percent (56%) of the pipes in Kampala were built in the 1940s and 86% of these have been operational for 35 years or more” (…) “National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC)” (…) “NWSC had spent UGX 10.9billion towards sewage management activities in the areas under its jurisdiction over the last three years” (…) “the volume of sewage generated in the different towns and the volume of sewage collected and treated by NWSC, a study conducted by Mott Macdonald on behalf of NWSC in December 2012 estimated that by 2014, a total of 238.9 ML of wastewater would be generated of which, only 8.38ML would be collected and treated. This leaves approximately 230.52 ML of generated sewage uncollected and therefore not treated”.
I hope this was worth your time and also giving you an indication on the matters on the ground. This is just a fragment on the matters and what got told in the report. This just comes as gift to you. Especially to all of you who don’t use time reading the report on your free will or are lucky enough to get the report in your mailbox. Never the less, hope you got enlighten and also got a picture on how the monies is spent in last FY. Peace.