Integrated financial management system could crash, says Ministry

Mr Kenneth Mugambe, the director of Budget in the Ministry of Finance

What you need to know:

  • Mr Michael Niyitegeka, member of the ICT Association’s Board cautioned that enlisting more accounting units on the IFMIS platform, comes with issues of bandwidth and storage capacity.
  • Rolled out in 2003, IFMIS was initiated with financial support from the World Bank and Britain through its Department for International Development as a measure of reforming Uganda’s public financial management.

Kampala. The Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, is warning that its multi-billion shilling payment system, is now stretched out and could soon collapse.
The Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) was set up 15 years ago, among others, to improve efficiency in budget preparation, execution and financial reporting by Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government.

“We can’t keep pace with the creation of local governments, even villages are now made Town Councils. Next (Financial) Year, you have 6 new districts, 196 sub counties, 203 Town Councils. All these are putting pressure on the IMFIS,” says Mr Kenneth Mugambe, the director of Budget in the Ministry of Finance.

The Ministry of Finance, in a technical interface with chief administrative officers and town clerks brought together by Ministry of Local Government on Monday, appeared to recognise the defaults on overloading the IFMIS platform.
“The IFMIS, is an expensive system. We pay per license. Your appetite for creating new districts, is heaping huge pressure on this accounting system. We are failing to keep pace,” Mr Mugambe said.

But the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Local Government, Mr Ben Kumumanya, said: “Section 7 of the Local Government Act Sub-section 2... ‘says boundaries of a district unit may be altered or a district unit may be formed in accordance with Article 179 of the constitution.”
He added thus: “Article 179 of the Constitution sub-article 4 increased on the reasons for creating local governments from economic viability, administrative convenience, population density to when the people demand. So what do you expect us to do when people demand and these processes go through the law?”

But in a swift rejoinder, the Information and Communication Technology Association of Uganda, said: “The challenges of IFMIS captures the reality of increased expenditures in sustaining this transaction and accounting platform for MDAs. It is the payment platform for all MDAs. For every accounting unit, it must have an account in the system, complete with a profile.”

Mr Michael Niyitegeka, member of the ICT Association’s Board cautioned that enlisting more accounting units on the IFMIS platform, comes with issues of bandwidth and storage capacity.
“When purchasing, they also come with capacity in anticipation that you will have so number of users, software and such projections, working out of which and that here will be issues of efficiency.”

An audit expert Muhammed Sempija, also warned: “Irregularities in accounting systems can ultimately develop complications. Once an audit trail is compromised at the point of transactions, it becomes very difficult to track expenditures.”
Rolled out in 2003, IFMIS was initiated with financial support from the World Bank and Britain through its Department for International Development as a measure of reforming Uganda’s public financial management.

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