Monitoring Public Expenditure and Service Delivery
In order to understand the existing gaps in service delivery, it is imperative to assess the performance of government programs geared towards meeting the needs and demands of the public. In the year under review, we undertook various Public Expenditure Tracking Surveys (PETS) and social audits, all aimed at addressing the existing gaps within the sector.
Joint monitoring exercises were undertaken in the districts of Ntoroko, Bundibugyo and Kasese. Our findings revealed that there was some level of improved service delivery in the health and education sector although in other areas (especially in Bundibugyo district), a lot is still left to be desired.
It is for this reason that a delegation made up of RAC staff and leaders from Bundibugyo district held a meeting with officials from the Ministry of Education and Sports in August 2012 to address some of the gaps identified in the education sector of Bundibugyo district. Particular attention was paid to UPPET/APL phrase I schools where, albeit the funds were released, the buildings were never constructed. In addition, there were lots of procurement queries and for the few that were constructed, the buildings were shoddily done. Through continued lobbying and advocacy, the culprits were arrested on different charges. For schools where construction didn’t take off absolutely, the contracts were re-advertized.
It is anticipated that with the new contracts awarded, these schools will be constructed; much to the benefit of the district.
Other findings revealed during the PETS survey in Bundibugyo include:
Misappropriation of Public funds in the education sector: In 2004/2005 millions of money were lost to ghost constructions at Masojo and Nyabusokoma primary schools where certificates of completion were awarded with full payments made to the contractors without any construction done. Other schools with ghost buildings include: Bundimwendi Primary school, Mitunda P/s, Bundimasori and Bundinyama Primary school – all in Bundibugyo district.
Ghost schools: It was further discovered that Primary schools like Kitslima, Kibhangala, Bughenge and Bughoma among others received UPE funds yet they do not exist anywhere on the ground.
Falsification of Academic Documents: still in the education sector, cases of forgery were discovered where some teachers were accused of forging academic papers that enabled them gain access to the pay roll. In our follow up meeting with the Bundibugyo DEO, we were informed that the accused had forged District Service Commission Minutes to acquire appointment letters. It is through these forged documents that the nine (9) teachers accused were able to access the pay roll
Non accountability for UPE funds: This was found to be another existing gap in many of the schools we visited where some head-teachers could not provide full accountability for the UPE funds released. The Head Teacher of Bundinyama Primary School for example is alleged to have failed to account for over 800,000/= on top of spending without an approved work-plan and budget
Some of these cases were followed up with the office of the IGG where reports and recommendations were drawn for the culprits to right the wrongs committed. The teachers who forged appointment letters leading to illegal access of the payroll; as well as the private school teachers who illegally accessed the government Payroll and illegally obtained salary arrears were tasked to refund the defrauded monies.
“Health is wealth…” Ideally, for you to be wealthy you have to be healthy; otherwise how can one prosper in unhealthy conditions? Considering that “Prosperity for all” is the driving force behind the ruling NRM party’s manifesto good health for all should be considered as one of the top-most priorities for government programs.
Unfortunately, the health sector in the region, just like other parts of the country is still faced with various challenges such as under staffing, late-reporting to duty, weak health unit management committees (some of which have lived beyond their term of service), poor sanitation and minimal yet delayed release of PHC funds.
In many health centers proof of functionality of HUMCs remains an outstanding challenge, as minutes of their meetings are almost impossible to access. Other challenges include; high staff absenteeism, late coming and non accountability for PHC funds received.
Reports of limited staffing remain a big challenge. The introduction of hard to reach allowance has minimized the challenge but a lot still needs to be done. Staff transfer and study leaves with no replacement continue to characterize most of the public health centers in Bundibugyo district and other parts of the region.