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Parliament. Secretary to the Treasury Keith Muhakanizi, who described himself as “frank, open and undiplomatic” about the development bottlenecks said, “service delivery in the country has been very poor” and blamed himself and his colleagues at the Ministry of Finance for failure to ensure that the budget achieves the results.

Addressing a joint meeting of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) members with accounting officers from different ministries, Mr Muhakanizi called for “honest discussion” about what is holding the service delivery and listed a cocktail of inhibitions to budget discipline that needs urgent reforms. The meeting that took place at Parliament on Thursday was intended to sensitise the accounting officers on the Auditor General’s reports.

“The Auditor General and the Accountant General have been diplomatic but we must discuss what is holding us and see how to improve,” Mr Muhakanizi said.

Auditor General, Mr John Muwanga, also told the meeting that financial indiscipline was on the increase and asked the accounting officers to tighten the internal commitment controls so as to improve the service delivery.

Mr Muhakanizi, who has been in in the Ministry of Finance for more than a decade, rising through the ranks, took over the leadership of the Treasury last year after retirement of his boss, Mr Chris Kassami. He has been instrumental in designing major policy changes along with Mr Kassami and this explains why he did not shy away from blaming himself for failure to improve the service delivery in the country.

Mr Muhakanizi also blamed the accounting officers for perpetuating the poor service delivery in the country by asking for supplementary expenditures, which he said disrupt the budget. He also warned the accounting officers against diversion of funds to ministers’ travels and other non-priority areas.

However, most of the accounting officers who spoke at the meeting, blamed the poor service on the government failure to fill the vacant positions at the centre and in local governments. They also blamed late cash releases and the poor laws that have hindered the delivery of the services, especially in the health sector.

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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