26 June 2013

Uganda: Public to Monitor Budget By SMS

THE finance ministry will set up mobile phone alerts for the public, civil society and the media to monitor public expenditure in the next financial year to improve accountability.

Social media and a dedicated website will also be used to monitor budget expenditure alongside an integrated payroll and pension system which automatically matches public sector recruitment to wages and salaries eliminating wastage on ghost workers.

"We are setting up a dedicated website for budget expenditure and we expect feedback from the public, civil society and the media. We are going to use social media and mobile phone alerts," the finance ministry's Kenneth Mugambe said at the Media Centre.

The new measures are aimed at increasing confidence in government processes. Mugambe noted that the public should be vigilant to ensure that disbursed funds accomplish the intended tasks.

He added that the government ministries will be tasked to provide quarterly progress reports before additional funds are disbursed. There are 72 government ministries.

"The issue of late release of funds will be phased out next financial year. Our target is to disburse funds to all ministries by the 15th of the first month of each new quarter," Mugambe said.

"Schools across the country will receive budgeted funds at the same time directly from the finance ministry. Accounting officers must comply with resources that have been budgeted."

The national budget will reach a high of sh13trillion from sh11trillion this financial year. Expenditure on infrastructure and energy will use up more than a third of the national budget.

Mugambe noted that the two sectors will boost private sector activity and margins feeding into higher economic growth next financial year and tax collections.

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