The National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) is in the spotlight over a discrepancy of over Shs1.3 billion in the organisation’s 2021/2022 financial year budget.
This was discovered during a meeting between the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) and the NARO secretariat on Wednesday, 16 August 2023.
According to the Auditor General’s report, Parliament allocated Shs107 billion to NARO but the organisation’s accountability reflected expenditure of Shs109 billion.
The committee’s lead counsel and Bwamba County Member of Parliament, Hon. Richard Gaffabusa, tasked the NARO leadership to explain the origin of the excess funds.
“We note that you received more money than your approved budget and we find that in your financial statements and statement of appropriation account, your revised budget is Shs107 billion but you got Shs109 billion. You received Shs1.3 billion over and above the approved budget, how was this possible?” Gaffabusa asked.
The Director Finance at NARO, Julius Mununuzi, revealed that the organisation’s total budget was Shs110billion which included non-tax revenue.
“When we receive money from the treasury, non-tax revenue is part of the recurrent budget. At planning, it is separated but on receipt of money from the Treasury, it is fused so there is no money received over and above the budget,” he said.
Gaffabusa, however, said that the committee was only interested in the approved budget and questioned why the excess funds were not captured.
“The Shs110 billion includes the non-tax revenue; we are asking you that if the transfers received was Shs109 billion against your approved budget of Shs107 billion, how did you receive this money?” he asked.
Hon. Joyce Acan Okeny (NRM, PWD) tasked NARO to also present accountability for the excess funds.
“They are not showing us what the Shs1.3 billion did. We need to dig out and know what they used the money for,” she said.
NARO’s Internal Auditor, Denis Owor, said that errors were made during reconciliation of the figures and he requested for more time to harmonise the figures.
“There could have been errors we did not come across. I beg that we are given time to go back and reconcile these figures,” he said.