The Public Accounts committee of Parliament yesterday resolved to summon Keith Muhakanizi, the secretary to the Treasury, to explain various queries raised by the auditor general’s 20122013 report on the agricultural credit scheme.
Muhakanizi is expected to appear before the committee next week. The summonses followed the failure by Emmanuel Mugunga, the principal assistant secretary at the ministry of Finance, to explain certain things regarding the scheme that government introduced in 2011 to the MPs.
Mugunga told the MPs that many of their queries could only be answered by Muhakanizi. Among other issues, MPs will want Muhakanizi to enlighten them on how the project was conceived and how money was allocated to it. There are also questions about how Bank of Uganda came to be party to the scheme involving the ministry of Finance yet it is a self-accounting entity.
Shs 60 billion was earmarked for the scheme, with the ministry of Finance contributing Shs 30bn in addition to Shs 30 billion from Bank of Uganda and the participating commercial banks through which the funds were to be disbursed. Although Bank of Uganda officials were ready to provide answers from their perspective, some MPs said they wanted to first hear from the ministry of Finance, which initiated the scheme.
“Since when did Bank of Uganda take over these policy issues and under which legal ambit does it act and how did it get involved in this scheme?” asked Theodore Ssekikubo, the Lwemiyaga MP.
However, Alice Alaso, the committee chairperson, was of the view that the committee could listen to whoever was ready.
“Let us agree that we continue with these officials from Bank of Uganda regarding the scheme. We shall have to summon the PS (Muhakanizi) afterwards because we are losing out as a result of these excuses by government officials,” she said.
Asked to explain how the project was conceived and how much the government injects in it annually, Mugunga told the committee that he was not privy to some decisions taken at the top level. It was after his submission that MPs, during a closed meeting, resolved to invite Muhakanizi.
“We have decided that we will continue with them when we can have [Muhakanizi], because there are issues about the scheme which gets about Shs 30bn per year [from his ministry], particularly how it was designed, that need his explanation,” Alaso told journalists.
Source : The Observer