Business News of Wednesday, 19 December 2018
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Bolga Central, Mr Isaac Adongo, has accused the Ministry of Finance (MoF) of flouting the Public Financial Management Act (PFMA) 2016 (ACT 921) by failing to submit to Parliament the performance report on budget implementation for two years.
He also accused the ministry of failing to provide Parliament with a consolidated expenditure commitment report to cover all the reports submitted.
Mr Adongo made the accusation when he was contributing to a debate in Parliament on the budget estimates for the MoF for the financial year ending December, 31 2019.
Section 27 of the PFMA states that each principal account holder shall within the first quarter of the ensuing year, after the minister submits the annual budget to Parliament, submit to Parliament a performance report on budget implementation for the preceding financial year.
Mr Adongo said the purpose of that provision was to ensure that Parliament had oversight over the entire financial performance of the previous year.
“You will recall that anytime the budget is presented to us, we are given data and information up to September so the minister is entreated to come back to this house in the first quarter of the following year to report the entire financial year. In 2017, the finance minister did not report and in 2018 too he has still not reported,” he explained.
He said that was a key provision that underpinned fiscal responsibility and allowed Parliament to have oversight over the conduct of the ministry and, therefore, urged the MoF to comply.
“This is worrying because this is the ministry that must be leading and setting the example for other ministries to follow ,but here it is breaching a law it initiated,” he stated.
The MP also pointed out that the ministry was also breaching Section 30 of the PFMA.
Section 30 (3) of the PFMA indicates that a principal spending officer shall, not later than the 1st day of the months of April, July, September, and December of each year, in the format determined by the Chief Director, submit a report to the minister on the activities or programmes of the respective covered entity and the implementation of the budget of the covered entity for the preceding quarter, including the actual and forecast commitments and cash positions of the covered entity.
Section 30 (4) further states that the minister shall, not later than the end of the third week after the end of a quarter, submit to Parliament a consolidated expenditure commitment report to cover all the reports submitted under subsection (3).
Mr Adongo said the finance minister was, however, yet to do that for 2017 and 2018.
He said it was, therefore, not necessary for the ministry to be championing the establishment of a Fiscal Responsibility Council to ensure fiscal responsibility when the MoF was in the habit of flouting the PFMA which was passed by Parliament to do same.
Section 34 of the Act also states that the minister shall submit to Parliament, not later than the 30th day of the months of January and July of each year, a half-yearly report on budget implementation performance.
Mr Adongo said Parliament was yet to receive any report on the Ministry of Finance for the budget performance for the year.
“Clearly, the Ministry of Finance that is supposed to enforce fiscal responsibility is not even implementing its own fiscal responsibility requirement and it is now trying to establish a fiscal responsibility council. Let them comply with the PFMA and there will be fiscal responsibility,” he said.