EU gives government Shs29 billion to strengthen transparency

The European Union (EU) and the finance ministry signed an agreement on Thursday to support the third phase of the financial management and accountability programme (FINMAP), which aims to improve efficiency, accountability, and transparency in the management of public resources.

The Shs29 billion (8 million euros) agreement was signed between finance minister, Matia Kasaija, and the head of EU delegation, Kristin Schmidt, at the ministry’s headquarters in Kampala.

The programme, now in its third phase, is a successor to the Economic and Financial Management Project (EFMP) (I and II), and serves as the flagship vehicle for the implementation of the Public Finance Reform Strategy conceived in 2007.

Its key points in recent years has been the implementation of the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) in all government agencies and at local government level, and weeding the payroll of “ghosts”.

The EU supported the earlier phases of the programme with 4 million euros (about Shs15b).

Mr Kasaija said the programme is key to the government’s National Development Plan, which identifies good governance as key to building a competitive economy.

Ambassador Schmidt said that the new funding, which runs to 2018, also includes helping government improve domestic resource mobilisation through support to the Uganda Revenue Authority. It will also help seal the leakages of public resources, especially by removing ghosts from pension lists and payrolls.

The permanent secretary in the finance ministry, Keith Muhakanizi, said they had made “significant strides” on a number of objectives. He said the programme had been strengthened by the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), which introduced a number of reforms, notably giving his office powers to forward names of accounting officers whose accounts are suspicious to investigating agencies like the inspector general of governmnet, auditor general, and police.