TOP
Monday,August 19,2019 00:25 AM

Trade ministry refunds sh1b unspent pension

By Moses Walubiri

Added 15th July 2019 05:34 PM

According to the ministry of trade permanent secretary, Grace Adong Choda, the funds in issue were remitted to the consolidated fund because there were no more verified pensioners available to pay.

Paxx2 703x422

Principal accountant Henry Balikudembe, ministry of trade addressing members as accountant Samuel Ojambo looks on during the ministry of trade appearance before public accounts committee at Parliament on July 15, 2019. (Photo by Nancy Nanyonga)

According to the ministry of trade permanent secretary, Grace Adong Choda, the funds in issue were remitted to the consolidated fund because there were no more verified pensioners available to pay.

 
The issue of pensioners, men, and women, who spent the prime of their lives in the service of Uganda wasting away in poverty in the evening of their lives, is a touchy subject whose ability to stir emotions blurs political lines.
 
The stories that normally make rounds in the media revolve around failure by these senior citizens going months without receiving their niggardly monthly ‘stipend.’
 
However, MPs sitting on the Public Accounts Committee earlier today heard that technocrats at the Ministry of Trade, Industries and Cooperatives refunded sh1b in unspent pension funds during the financial year ending June 2018.
 
According to the ministry of trade permanent secretary, Grace Adong Choda, the funds in issue were remitted to the consolidated fund because there were no more verified pensioners available to pay.
 
Adong, together with technocrats from the trade ministry in tow was at Parliament to answer queries raised by the Auditor General, John Muwanga, in his audit report for the financial year ending June 2018.
 
The refund of the sh1b raised questions, with committee chairperson, Nandala Mafabi (Budadiri West) asking Adong whether the ministry has not for long been paying ‘ghost’ pensioners.
 
“Some of these pensioners truly exist. But it is possible that they have not yet come forward to have their documents verified,” Adong said in rebuttal.
 
  ssistant ommissioner human resource ministry of trade avis alowa addressing members during the ministry of trade appearance before public accounts committee at arliament hoto by ancy anyonga Assistant Commissioner human resource ministry of trade Davis Malowa addressing members during the ministry of trade appearance before public accounts committee at Parliament. (Photo by Nancy Nanyonga)

 

 
MPs heard that following the decentralization of pension payment to districts, ministries, departments and agencies of Government four years ago, a verification process has been going on since.
 
Adong revealed that the ministry of public service forwarded documents pertaining to individual pensioners which required verification.
 
A call was made calling pensioners to be verified.
 
“Since then, only verified pensioners are being paid and this explains the refund of the money. We cannot pay pensioners who are not verified,” Adong noted.
 
Documents before the Public Accounts Committee indicate that the ministry of trade has 520 pensioners as of June 2018.
 
Pension payment to senior citizens has over the years proved a financial black hole to Government on account of allegations of rogue technocrats maintaining fictitious beneficiaries on the payroll.
 
This has forced the Government to sanction radical payment reforms like the recent decentralization which requires verification before payment.
 
 

Related Articles

More From The Author

Related articles