A few days ago, a report titled “covid-19 interventions report the financial year 2019/20” and authored by Annette Mutoni Kyakuwa who is the ministry of Finance’s Budget Monitoring and Accountability Unit(BMAU) popped up on social media and in the mainstream.
It levelled so many allegations about how Covid-19 cash was received and spent by the ministry of health. Dissatisfied with the report findings, the ministry has come out to set the record straight. Could there be some forces behind this report to intentionally soil the ministry’s name?
Starting today, Red Pepper will be publishing MoH’s point by point response on the allegations being raised in the report verbatim.
Read on: “The Ministry of Health appreciates the support rendered by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development(MoFPED)in the preparedness and response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
We acknowledge the positive comments on the efforts and achievements of the Ministry of Health in its response to the pandemic as contained in the aforementioned report. However, the Ministry of Health would like to express its concern on the modus operandi of the Monitoring team that was assigned to undertake monitoring of the COVID-19 budget and accountability interventions.
We would like to also note that BMAU hurriedly released an incomplete and unsigned report in October 2020 to social media without receiving feedback from the Ministry of Health as it was expected.
While the team states in its report that there was physical monitoring of the various interventions, most of their work was done over the phone and also promised to come at a later time to follow up. Even in areas where they did physical verification, information was obtained from junior officers who had little information to provide. The documentary review of the procurement files that were done lacked clarity from contract managers hence the distortions in the report.
2Although monitors are not auditors it would have been courteous for them to share their report for complete feedback as expected. The Ministry of Health only noticed this report circulating on social media which the sector objected to in writing to MOFPED. Instead of sending the report formally, the Commissioner in charge of Planning at the Ministry of Health received an unsigned copy via e-mail.
However, to-date the Ministry of Health has never received an authentic and signed copy of this report. The monitoring team raised a number of issues which have since become a subject of seemingly planned and malicious attacks against the Ministry of Health in mainstream and social media. While we acknowledge that this is a Government report and we don’t want to be contradicting each other, it is important that the distortions are clarified for record purposes. Therefore, the Ministry of Health would like to respond to as follows:
BUDGETARY ALLOCATION AND EXPENDITURE AS OF JUNE2020
The BMAU report states that the Ministry of Health received UGX 766.7 billion which was committed to COVID-19 prevention and response interventions. It further states that by end of June 2020, the Ministry of Health had received and spent UGX 264billion from both Government and donors; UGX119 billion from GOU, UGX55billion for Government World Bank’s Uganda contingency Response Component and UGX10 billion from GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance. Another amount totalling UGX 94.9 Billion was in the pipeline.
The Ministry of Health would like to clarify as follows: Regarding the UGX51billion from Islamic Development Bank loan, the Ministry of Health would like to clarify that these funds are still with the bank.
However, the National Medical Stores (NMS) is procuring medical supplies for the COVID-19 Response and the funds will be expended as soon as the supplies are delivered. It is therefore not true that the Ministry received and spent the UGX51 Billion from the Islamic Development Bank. Out of the UGX 55billion from the World Bank, the Ministry of Health had spent UGX 13billion as of June 2020. This was largely spent on Health workers allowances and Medical Supplies. The Global Fund initially committed to support the COVID-19 Response by providing UGX28 billion in-kind. This meant that they would NOT provide money, instead, they would procure commodities and deliver them to Uganda.
As of the end of September 2020, Global Fund had delivered all these commodities to the Ministry of Health. An additional grant of UGX69.6billion was approved in July 2020 for the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and test kits by the Global Fund (Geneva). This funding is still in the pipeline. It is worth noting that this money is not meant to come to the Ministry of Health directly.
The support from GAVI was disbursed to Multilateral agencies (UNICEF and WHO). Of the UGX 10billion released by GAVI in June 2020, UGX6.5billion was disbursed to UNICEF to procure medical supplies while UGX 3.5billion was disbursed to World Health Organization(WHO)for test kits and other activities. It is therefore clear that by end of June, 2020that UGX 10billion had not yet been spent. It is therefore pertinent to note that the total resources disbursed to Ministry of Health is UGX 174billion (UGX 119billion from Government of Uganda and UGX 55billion from World Bank) while the rest of the funding stated in the report did not come to the Ministry of Health. It is also worth noting that the other monies cited are either off-budget expenditure or future commitments. It should not be portrayed that all the entire money was disbursed by the Ministry of Health.
Government funds sent directly to the Ministry that is quoted in the BMAU report Procurement and Distribution of Megaphones The report states that; “The contract for megaphones worth UGX2.9bn was signed on 11th May 2020.”
The report further states that “MoH bought 108,863megaphones at a unit cost of UGX230,000 and 43,450 pieces of dry cells at UGX10,000 each. These were expected to facilitate communication of COVID-19 messages in all parishes across the country. The megaphones were delivered on 22nd June 2020, however, districts visited by the monitoring team in July, August and September had not received these items. These included; Oyam, Omoro, Apac, Agago, Gomba and Butambala among others”
The Ministry of Health would like to state that the contract to supply the megaphones was worth UGX 2.9 Bn, (i.e.a total of 10,863 megaphones, 43,450 rechargeable and dry cell batteries)were procured. This is contrary to the number of 108,863 megaphones quoted by the monitoring team in their report, which implied that the Government would have spent approximately UGX 25.47 Bn on the megaphones and batteries. This is a gross misrepresentation of the facts regarding this procurement.
The monitoring took place at the time when the distribution of the megaphones was ongoing. The megaphones were delivered to the Ministry on the 21st September 2020. It is unfortunate that the sampled districts had not yet received the megaphones at the time. So far, all districts except 10 districts have received the megaphones.
The 10 districts include Amudat, Bushenyi, Butaleja, Kaabong, Kamwenge, Kalangala, Karenga, Lwengo, Mitooma and Napak. The Ministry of Health did not have funds to distribute the megaphones countrywide. Therefore, it relied on using every opportunity that was available; either for the districts to pick them or to take advantage of any available means to deliver them to the respective districts.
( Don’t miss in our next publication how and what MoH spent on procuring EMERGENCY AMBULANCES AND BOATS.)