By Chris Kiwawulo
About 80% of pupils under Universal Primary Education (UPE) have dropped out of school in Kanungu district over the last 10 years, an audit has revealed.
In his report for the year ending June 30, 2012, Auditor General John Muwanga warned that the high dropout rate in Kanungu schools might undermine the UPE programme.
“I followed a cohort of pupils who were enrolled in all UPE schools in the district in 2005 and tracked those remaining in class up to 2011 when these same pupils were supposed to have completed P7. It was observed that 10,414 pupils were enrolled in P1 in 2005, but only 2,372 completed primary education in 2011 implying a net dropout of 8,042 pupils (77.2% of original enrolment),” he stated.
Besides, an analysis showed that the pupil: teacher, pupil: classroom, pupil: latrine and pupil: textbook ratios in most schools fell short of the minimum education ministry standards.
Failure to meet the recommended standards, Muwanga said, leads to poor performance. He, therefore, advised the district administration to create avenues of promoting education and make it attractive for pupils and parents and work on improving the ratios to meet the education ministry’s recommended standards.
Messed projects, contracts
Although Willis International was advanced sh95m for the construction of an administration block in 2010/11, work stalled.
“At the end of the year, the contractor had done works totalling sh78.4m, leaving a balance of sh16.5m unrecovered,” he noted.
Analysis of contracts committee minutes revealed that contracts totalling sh558m had been terminated during the year, which results in wastage of resources on the part of council and improper evaluation at the time of procurement.
The Auditor General tasked the accounting officer to probe the causes of termination and ensure proper contract evaluation and management.
There was also no formal handover of contract documents to the user department for contract management, Muwanga noted.
The user departments did not formally appoint a contracts supervisor, had no contract implementation plans, management fi les with monitoring reports, site meeting minutes and copies of cumulative payments.
Investigators also found that contracts undertaken during the year 2011/12 had not been registered in the contracts register. Therefore, the Auditor General could not track the progress of the payments made so far on any given contracts.
Bikes found in medical store
The Auditor General found that a stores ledger did not record items delivered, issued and balances of goods in the district medical store, making it hard for them to reconcile remaining items in the ledger against those present.
The Auditor General noted that Village Health Team (VHT) kits delivered a year prior to the audit and items not expected to be in drug stores like soil test kits, solar equipment, bicycles and motorcycles were in the store, creating congestion.
Muwanga said the store was manned by a stores assistant who confessed to being the only district officer who witnesses deliveries, implying that in case of discrepancies between National Medical Stores and district stores, there would be no other third party to settle the dispute.
The town council registered several groups under the Community Driven Development (CDD) and National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) programmes and paid over sh20m to some during the year.
However, there was no criterion as to how the groups were selected. Auditors discovered that construction of Kanungu town council’s Karubanda market vendors’ shade by Kannukiso Suppliers and Contractors Ltd at sh17.9m delayed, besides the market being built contrary to approved designs.
Expenditure of sh68.4m in Kihihi town council was not presented for verification, making it difficult for auditors to confirm whether the money was used for the intended purposes.
Besides, the council did not maintain subsidiary ledgers, making it difficult for the Auditor General to confirm figures of sh8.6m (debtors) and sh30.8m (creditors).
It was noted that the district returned sh286.6m to the treasury instead of sh269.2m leading to an excess of sh17.3m.
The Auditor General noted that ongoing projects would stall as communication from the finance ministry stated that money should not be returned to the district. Whereas district financial statements showed that it received a sh16.6b grant from the finance ministry, the ministry indicated that it released sh14.9b.