“Uganda is your country. When you’re writing a story, ask yourself if it is going to build or destroy Uganda. Is it going to bring peace or anarchy?” (…) “I’m advising my good friends of New Vision that for the good of your country, do not publish stories that are not true. My telephone number is known by everyone, call me. If I can’t respond then wait, because I’m also a busy man but I’ll respond. Let me repeat, for the good of your country, please don’t publish false stories” – Matia Kasaija, Minster of Finance.
I know, some people get touchy when stories comes out. Out of the woodworks suddenly the questions arise and people are thinking? Why? Why does the state borrow even more funds, is it needed even? How come the State, who is already borrowing heavy sums of money from all sort of bilateral, multi-national banking institutions suddenly need to borrow money from domestic sources. That question should be asked and need to questioned. Since the reality of the matter, isn’t what it is used to, since this government cannot even explain where the PTA Loans went. It is amazing how things are going, that the State can take up loans like this after already no accountability on the previous ones. The same minister is already questioned for the loans done with PTA loans, who knows what else that has gone missing, as the GAVI and CHOGM Funds of the past suddenly vanished into thin air, hard not imagine that this could happen again.
“Yesterday, Monday 19th February 2018 the New Vision Newspaper front page lead headline stated that Government is borrowing UShs. 700 Billion to pay salaries for public servants. I would like to inform the General Public that this story was an exaggeration of the proposed borrowing that I laid before Parliament. We borrow to a large extent to finance capital development and production. In my letter dated 9th February 2018; I submitted a proposal to Parliament seeking authority from the House, in accordance with the requirements of Article 159 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, to borrow additional Ushs 736 Billion from the domestic financial market to finance the Budget for FY 2017/18” (Uganda Media Centre, 2018).
This money will go to “development and production”. We can wonder where that is, if it is the bills of Gen. Salim Selah hotels as the seedlings delivered by, Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) is lack-lustre at best. Who knows where all the pooled monies for NAADS are going, but clearly not all of it is not going to micro-economic benefits for the society.
Shortfall is clearly there and the weak economy, that has been juiced up and run like a drunk seaman. That is why as the last end of bottle of beer is there and the need to go down to the bar and buy more brew on credit. That is the ordeal of the day. It is not a narration by Morgan Freeman and a beautiful tale of forgiveness and hope. No, it is a tragic day of even more debt, this time internally and used by the state. Since they are embezzling and taking away funds from the public. This will create more pressure for liquidity in the banks who borrows to the state, as this is taking from their own reserves to bailout the state. Eventually, the state has to find other funds to pay back the banks.
It doesn’t take a wise to understand, that adding more debt, while growing debt and also paying interests is a vicious cycle. They are recycling loans and adding more interests and more debt to be repaid in due time. We can just pound on that and wonder why the state hasn’t made a budget that is within the reach of the economy, but the government isn’t like that. They are spending money like there are no tomorrow. Having one beer, another one and another one. Now it’s drunk and don’t want to lose the edge, the steam and the good feeling of tipsy. The state doesn’t want to get the hangover and deal with the cure. They just want to shug more bottles and hope no one notice. Peace.
Uganda Media Centre – ‘Statement on the proposed government borrowing of UGX 700 billion #UGCabinetResolutions’ (20.02.2018) link: https://ugandamediacentreblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/20/statement-on-the-proposed-government-borrowing-of-ugx-700-billion-ugcabinetresolutions/
“The government has announced plans to borrow US$200m from the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (known as the PTA Bank)” (…) “It will, however, do little to ease the near-term pressures. The weak currency is pushing up the cost of external debt (the new PTA Bank loan will add to the burden of US dollar-denominated debt), while high interest rates are driving up yields on domestic securities. The government originally budgeted USh172bn to service external debt in the current 2015/16 fiscal year and USh4.8trn for domestic debt, but the actual outlays will exceed this” (The Economist, 2015).
In today’s exchange rate the loaned planned would be 727,749,571,653.20 Uganda Shillings, or UGX 727bn. So that means that the Minister of Finance Matia Kasaija cannot find the documentation for a huge amount of money. This isn’t a lost pocket or recite, this is like loosing bank. However, we know the context, the loans that came from PTA came within months of the General Election and the Campaigns. Therefore, we can imagine where the money has gone. That is just speculation, but National Medical Stores (NMS) has given some signs, that the PTA Loans was not for them.
In June 2017, the Public Notice of NMS said this:
“This funding facility was the PTA Bank loan, which was later approved by Parliament on 26th April 2016. The record on the Hansard clearly indicates ugx. 68billion required to avert an impending crisis at NMS as one of the primary reasons why the loan “should be urgently” approved. If NMS was therefore not meant to get the ugx. 68billion as additional funds, then the Ministry of Finance, Planning
and Economic Development misled Parliament” (…) “NMS provided the contracts by a letter
dated 13th September 2016, and waited for disbursement of the money from PTA Bank. However the said funds have to-date not been provided. This fact was brought to the Ministry of Health and the Permanent Secretary/ Secretary to the Treasury on 27th March 2017. It is important to note that the PTA Bank Loan, was approved by Parliament on the understanding that part of the Proceeds would go to NMS to cover the sh.68billion deficit” (…) “We wish to restate that if this money is not provided, over and above the Budget for FY 2017/18, all Health Centre IIs, IIIs and IVs, including those of UPDF, Uganda Police and Uganda Prisons, shall not receive Medicines in the FY 17/18 except ARVs, Vaccines, ACTs and TB medicines” (NMS, 2017).
“Although documents indicate that PTA Bank released the loan basing on documents submitted by the agencies, it was never remitted to them accordance with the agreed terms of the funding. Last week while requesting for a supplementary budget for NMS, Finance State Minister David Bahati was put to task to explain why NMS lacks funds to procure medicines yet the funders released the money in November last year. MP Cecilia Ogwal (Dokolo) wondered why NMS was going through a financial crisis when Parliament approved a loan request of $200m. During the meeting yesterday, members put Bank of Uganda officials led by the Governor Tumusiime Mutebile to task to explain whether the loan was released from the funders to the respective recipients. Mutebile told the committee that between October20th 2016 and May 23, 2017; BOU received $97.9m from PTA bank and transferred all the money to the Ministry of Finance Consolidated Account as instructed by the Ministry of Finance. “How it was used, is the ministry of finance to explain,” he said” (Karugaba, 2017).
So just part of the loans that trusted to NMS never came and never was delivered. The amount of funds needed the crisis in the NMS was not given. Therefore, the lack of oversight of the funds and the loans was evident even last year. Still, PTA Loan of 2016 has not been honored. The BoU will explain what happen after the money was released. So, it means that the documentation of receiving it is there, but what happen after is now gone. The NMS are clear, the BoU, but not the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED).
Just to put the loan in more perspective, even the World Bank described there in January 2017:
“Uncertainties related to both local and external events, including the freezing of new loans by the World Bank and the impact of the results of the Brexit referendum and the US presidential election being the most significant causes of this uncertainty. This is notwithstanding the fact that the Government has contracted balance of payments support credit from PTA Bank to provide the BoU with sufficient resources to prevent spikes in the foreign exchange market when the need arises” (World Bank, P: 11, 2017).
However something that is striking is the Letter of intent written by BoU Governor Tumusiime Mutebile and Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development Kasaija. Who both prepared a statement, to build trust in the economy and the loans made by the government.
Who wrote this this to IMF on 18th May 2016:
“Government requested a line of credit of USD 200 million from the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (PTA Bank). The three year revolving facility has terms that are deemed more beneficial than those prevailing in the domestic markets at the current juncture and near future, so we plan to use these resources in FY2016/17 and FY 2017/18 to finance our deficits. Therefore, these resources will replace existing, more costly domestic financing, rather than expanding the available envelope. We will not use the loan in FY2015/16” (Kasaija & Tumusiime Mutebile, P: 6-7, 2016).
While this story started after Public Accounts Committee in the Daily Monitor this:
“Two of the most prominent Banyakigezi – Bank of Uganda Governor Tumusiime Mutebile, secretary to the Treasury Keith Muhakanizi and other top officials in the Finance hierarchy are set to answer questions over how Shs340 billion of Shs720b ($200m) loan meant for medicines and rural electrification was used. They are going to be quizzed by Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) with the vice chairman Gerald Karuhanga saying that Muhakanizi, Mutebile, Auditor General John Muwanga and Mr. Lawrence Semakula, the acting Accountant General have been summoned to appear before MPs on Wednesdays to “explain the whereabouts of the money because no agency has received anything.” Mr. Muhakanizi called the probe ‘misdirected’ because ‘everything was done properly and I will prove that with documents.’ He said the money was pooled into the consolidated Fund and spent on approved expenditures” (Daily Monitor, 05.07.2017).
On the 13th June 2017, Treasury Secretary Keith Muhakanizi tried to explain where the money went:
“As explained above, all the funds disbursed from the PTA Bank Loan have been fully accounted for. ii No funds has been lost as the Monitor Newspaper has alleged. iii I thank the PTA Bank for quickly providing the funds to the Uganda government when needed. iv It is, therefore, professionally unacceptable for Monitor Newspaper which has represented at the meeting of PAC in Parliament on Wednesday 7th June 2017, to have published an incorrect story in its editorial of 11th June 2017” (New Vision, 2017).
However, the story is not ended in last year. The PTA Loan continue to haunt the MoFPED and the BoU. They both have answers to give. Now a few months later. The answer from MoFPED are differently. Because the Treasury suddenly promised documents in June 2017. However, we are in February 2018 and still not there. Even his own defense that was a notice in the New Vision. Now a half year later, we see the same story and the same issue in the Parliament. That the same amount of monies are not accounted for. The same actors are trying to defend it. The whole affair smells not like Teen-Spirit, but more of State House affair. Since, they are trying to defend the misuse of funds and loans in the timeline of Campaigning. That is what it seems. Since suddenly during campaigns and such the needs for funds is there. Paying off political parties and loyal commissioners. There are so many things to buy and needs. So much material, buses, t-shirts and bribes. You have to print massive amounts of money. In a way where the State House also always needs bigger Supplementary Budgets after the General Election of 2016.
Here is the movement today:
“Mr Kasaija yesterday failed to present a personal statement detailing what went wrong with the loan but maintained that no money was “stolen” as he fought to save his job.“I request that we should give an opportunity to a government authority to find out where this money went. But I want to give assurances to this House that no money was diverted or stolen,” Mr Kasaija said. With the loan approved only after the Finance ministry changed its labelling, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga last evening ruled that she will today make a decision regarding the fate of the report, with the duos fate set to be decided today. “I may not talk much but I had engagements with Ministry of Finance over that money. I had engagements to remind the ministry that that money was partially borrowed for NMS. I had meetings in my office over that money,” Ms Kadaga ruled. The loan put the Executive and Parliament at loggerheads with the Speaker at some point ordering the Rules Committee to investigate Mr Kasaija over contempt of Parliament as the fallout escalated” (Arinaitwe, 2018).
So still to this day there is no proof of where it went. Even if the trail leads to two familiar faces, the MoFPED Kasaija and Treasury Muhakanizi, who both trying to save faces. This all seems like misused funds from the Consolidated Funds for Campaigning. Since it was not used for the Rural Electrification Funds or the NMS. Who was both in dire needs, but not important enough. The NMS has lacked it anyways, and not gotten the needed medicine.
Therefore, the two financial heavy-weights has to either forge the paper-trial, since the NMS and the other agencies hasn’t received the funds. They have been spent elsewhere. Suddenly missing and that Muhakanizi uses so long time, that from June 2017 to February 2018 is unbelievable. If you use that long time proving parliament where the funds went. You know there are some shady misuse of it. It has gone to all sorts of activity, to tear-gas, paying police officers to keep Besigye under house arrest and whatnot. Because it didn’t go the place where the MoFPED and BoU promised.
This the GAVI Funds and CHOGM scandal all over again. This isn’t new, it is just PTA Bank loan gone missing. You miss a shilling, you miss a book or even some keys. But you do not loose this amount of money. They have gone to a growing patronage and securing the President’s Private Plane or something. Peace.
Arinaitwe, Solomon – ‘MPs plot to censure Kasaija over Shs700b’ (07.02.2018) link: http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/MPs-plot-censure-Kasaija-over-Shs700b-/688334-4294524-r1k3ls/index.html
The Economist – Intelligence Unit – ‘ Loan secured from regional bank’ (11.12.2015) link: http://country.eiu.com/article.aspx?articleid=63762990&Country=Uganda&topic=Economy&subtopic=Forecast&subsubtopic=Fiscal+policy+outlook&u=1&pid=923837876&oid=923837876&uid=1
Karubaga, Mary – ‘Finance makes U-turn on sh150b NMS loan’ (08.07.2017) link: https://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1455202/finance-makes-sh150b-nms-loan
Kasaija, Matia & Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile – ‘Uganda: Letter of Intent, Memorandum of Economic Financial Policies, and Technical Memorandum of Understanding’ (18.05.2016) link:
NMS – ‘CLARIFICATION ON FUNDS RELEASED TO NATIONAL MEDICAL STORES (NMS) FOR PROCUREMENT, STORAGE AND DISTRIBUTION OF ESSENTIAL MEDICINES AND HEALTH SUPPLIES (EMHS)’ (16.07.2017) link: https://www.nms.go.ug/jdownloads/Press/NMS%20Full%20pg%202017.pdf
New Vision – ‘Clarification on Allegations that US$200 million meant to procure medicines for health centres and implement Rural Electrification Projects Went Missing’ (17.07.2017) link: https://www.newvision.co.ug/digital_assets/fa485f48-5a96-4b7b-be1a-3969e7a45cc3/9-Min-of-finance.pdf
World Bank – ‘Uganda Economic Update 8th Edition, january 2017 – Step by step Let’s solve the finance puzzle to accelerate growth and shared prosperity’ (January 2017) link: http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/662191486394023103/pdf/112621-WP-P161699-PUBLIC-UEU-8TH-edition-final-for-web.pdf
As of yesterday there we’re the reported 111 cars that vanished and weren’t procured by a Ministry in Uganda. Because of that I had to look more through the report of the Auditor General John Muwanga. There are many stories; some of the ones in this Report have already been discussed on my page.
There so many stories to pick, but here is some of my favourites that shows all from a goats, expressways to other where money have disappeared, over-compensated or not allocated needed funds for the planned procurement and projects that the Government we’re supposed to do. Take a look!
Indebted to International Organizations:
“I noted that a number of Government entities are indebted to International Organizations such as PTA Bank, ADB, EADB, WTO, UNIDO, COMESA and Shelter Afrique. A sample of five entities revealed indebtedness of UGX.77,724,089,603 and US$.4,968,950” (OAG, P: 36, 2015).
Overpay on construction of Kampala-Entebbe Expressway:
“An analysis was done and adjustments for the different features of the two expressways were made. It was observed that the unit cost for the Kampala-Entebbe expressway was US$ 2.315 million per lane kilometre while the similar expressway was US$ 1.204 million per lane kilometer” (OAG, P: 38, 2015).
NAO Project going nowhere:
“The protocol agreement between Government of Uganda (GoU) and Democratic People’s Republic of China (DPRC) was signed on the 27th June 2008. It involved establishment of a demonstration centre under the National Agricultural Organisation. However, it was observed that after hand-over of the site by Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries to the DPRC, there was no proper follow up by Government on the project as such it was difficult to establish whether the anticipated funding of RMB YUAN 50,000,000 equivalent to UGX.26 bn was received and how it was applied to the project” (OAG, P: 42, 2015).
NCIP disbursed funds:
“Government signed fourteen (14) protocols under the Northern Corridor Integration Projects where substantial amounts of funds have been invested and implementation is on-going. For example amounts totalling to UGX4.2bn was disbursed to fund the power interconnection and the Hoima-Lokichar-Lamu oil pipeline. However, the protocols do not provide for regional coordination and monitoring as well as the audit framework to provide an independent assurance on the utilization of joint funds. This renders it difficult to track the progress of the projects and follow up the accountability for the funds disbursed” (OAG, P: 43, 2015).
Advances Unaccounted for:
“Uganda National Roads Authority: 47,738,040,619 UGX” (…) “Ministry of Local Government: 3,827,011,454 UGX” (OAG, P:87, 2015).
Bidco has avoided VAT:
“It was noted that as of November, 2014, the outstanding VAT obligations for BIDCO stood at UGX.744,420,170, included in this figure was late payment interest charge of UGX.168,747,557. Accordingly, a sum of UGX.700,000,000 was paid to URA towards settlement of the tax arrears” (OAG, P: 93, 2015). “After the eleven (11) years, BIDCO would start paying VAT directly on its own and from the 12th year start refunding to Government the VAT plus 5% interest for the first eleven (11) years in (8) equal installments over a period of (8) years. This condition was subject to fulfillment of article 4(3) of the agreement which requires Government to have handed fully to BIDCO all the agreed 26,500 hectares of land” (OAG, P: 94, 2015).
“In August, 2010, the Governing Council of the African Development Bank (AfDB) under the sixth general capital increase of the bank allocated Uganda shares worth USD.19,759,798 payable over a 12 years period in annual instalments of USD.1,646,649. It was noted that the payment of Uganda’s 4th instalment of UDS.1,293,299 which became due on 16th March, 2015 had not been made. As a result, the callable shares related to the missed instalment had been suspended in line with the Board of Governors resolution on the sixth general capital increase of the bank meeting” (OAG, P:95, 2016).
“The banana project owns land in Bushenyi together with other movable properties. However, it was noted that the land title is still in the names of the project without the legal mandate to continue owning this land of behalf on government unless the expired legal status is resolved following the legal opinion of the Attorney General to transfer the project under Agriculture sector” (…) “During the financial year 2014/2015, the PIBID project had a budget provision of UGX.9bn out of which only UGX.2.7bn was released as vote on account and as a result, activities worth UGX.6,682,145,000 were not under taken. The affected activities include: purchase and installation of machinery and equipment (UGX.2.5bn), Construction materials (UGX.1.457bn.), marketing of the tooke products (UGX.777,665,000) and procurement of transport equipment (UGX.780,000000)” (OAG, P: 102-103, 2015).
Delayed Construction of Katuna OSBP and swamp reclamation works:
“The construction of Katuna OSBP is undertaken at a contract sum of UGX.8,951,277,750 and Swamp reclamation for access road works estimated at UGX.12,000,000,000. The commencement date for the construction was 13th June 2014 and the estimated completion date was set for 13th June 2015. This was later revised to 30th December 2015. Inspection of construction works showed the following” (…) “The EU Confirmed funding on the 12th May 2014 and all the conditions set by World Bank were met including NEMA’s clearance that was received on the 30th April 2014. I noted that GOU was required to finance the building works for Katuna OSBP since IDA credit funding had been exhausted. The contract for construction of OSBP was finally awarded at a sum of UGX.8,951,277,750 on the 5th June 2014. The EU delayed to operationalize her support and the contractor could not commence on the major building works due to delayed reclamation of the wetland where the buildings were to be constructed” (…) “Management explained that heavy rains, poor terrain and lack of material sources in Katuna such as sand are the biggest challenges. The would be material sources such as hard core are not readily accessible due to the hilly terrain of the area and the contractor can only make a few trips only on a sunny day. For materials like sand, the source is Mbarara (about 150km) and the contractor can only make a few trips given that the road (Mbarara-Ntungamo and Kabale-Katuna) is under construction” (OAG, P: 137-139, 2015).
Uganda Police Force:
“A review of the statement of financial position revealed outstanding payables of UGX.16,454,307,782. Payables worth UGX.10,500,682,162 were incurred during the year which implies that management continued to incur arrears without establishing sufficient mechanisms to monitor and control them” (OAG, P: 183, 2015).
Ministry of Local Government:
“A review of the Ministry of Local Government’s expenditure revealed that the entity charged wrong expenditure codes to a tune of UGX.12,086,792,676. This constituted 40% of total actual expenditure for the Ministry of Local Government. Whereas the funds were spent on items for which they were not originally budgeted for, the accounts have been presented in a way that reflects that the amounts were spent on the earlier budgeted items” (OAG, 2015).
M/S Faw Limited:
“A local company was contracted by the Ministry to provide storage space for the various roads, sanitary and fire-fighting equipment procured under a Chinese loan in 2011/2012 financial year from their parent company. The providers were paid UGX.1,416,000,000 during the year 2014/15 for 20 months storage of the equipment delivered. A review of the procurement file revealed the following” (…) “It was noted that only the Contracts Committee decision on a submission (PP Form 209) approving the evaluation report and contract award at a monthly fee of UGX.70,800,000 were available on file. However, the Solicitor General’s approval and contract agreement were on the procurement file. No initiation of procurement, invitation of potential bidders, record of receipt of bidders, evaluation report and PDU submission of Evaluation Committee report to Contracts Committee were on file to support the award” (…) “A review of the availed documentation revealed that two conflicting pro-forma invoices were submitted by the firm with one quoting a monthly fee of US$.14,160 VAT inclusive for ten months, that is; from 1st June 2012 to 31st March 2013 totaling US$.141,600 and dated 17/5/2012 and another one dated 2/1/2012 quoting a monthly fee of UGX.70,800,000 VAT inclusive for twenty months without clarifying the particular months” (…) “The final batch which arrived in August 2013, was commissioned by the president in October 2013 and handed over to police on 19th December 2013 implying storage of at most five (5) months. This makes fourteen (14) total months of storage as opposed to the 20 months billed resulting into a loss of UGX.424,800,000” (OAG, P: 237-239).
Ministry of Defence:
“During the year the Ministry’s total expenditure on land acquired amounted to UGX.1,119,388,145. However, it was noted that the government policy of capitalising the acquired land from the financial year 2011/2012 did not give guidance on what to include as cost of land acquired. As such, this amount could not be verified due to lack of guidelines on treatment of land costs in the financial statements” (…) “It was observed that a sum of UGX.1,000,000,000 was paid to an individual as part payment on a claim of UGX.2,958,668,733 for the compensation of 683 cattle and 119 goats which were handed over to 4th Division for safe custody during the insurgency period in 1986” (…) “It was not possible to confirm whether this claim had not been paid before since it is now 28 years since the purported supply of the animals” (…) “It also appears that these animals were for various people but instead the compensation was made to one individual” (OAG, P: 285-288, 2015).
State House Entebbe – Okello House:
“State House has been occupying Okello House for many years with a tenancy agreement that expired in 2013. However, it was observed that State House has not renewed the tenancy agreement and no rent payments have been made to the landlord despite continued occupancy. At the close of the financial year, a sum of UGX.1.272,363,507 was outstanding in rental arrears” (…) “National Housing and Construction Corporation owns properties on Plot 1 Kyagwe Road–Nakasero which is currently occupied by State House. Documents indicate that National Housing has been demanding arrears of UGX.201,100,000 from State House. These arrears have not been reflected in the financial statements” (OAG, P: 294-295, 2015).
If you don’t find this interesting that the Government of Uganda is misspending funds in this way and that this is just a figment of imagination as this is pieces of a giant report. The most interesting is that one man got the whole piece of the pie of what happen in 1986 and secondly that the State House doesn’t even have an agreement with the tenant who owns Okello House where the President has gallant dignitaries. That shows the state of affairs, brothers, time for a change and also better procedures and practices! Peace.
OAG – ANNUAL REPORT OF THE AUDITOR GENERAL FOR THE YEAR ENDED 30TH JUNE 2015