NARO told to account for shs1.3 billion surplus expenditure 

Lira | The National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) is on the hot seat over an unexplained surplus expenditure of about shs1.3 billion as per the organisation’s 2021/2022 financial year budget. 

The irregularities were 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 to NARO shs107 billion but the organisation’s accountability reflected expenditures amounting to shs109 billion. 

The committee’s lead counsel who doubles as Member of Parliament for Bwamba County, Richard Gaffabusa has now tasked the NARO leadership to explain the origin of the excess funds. 

Gaffabusa noted that NARO received more money than the approved budget according to the organisation’s financial statements and statement of appropriation account. 

According to him, the revised budget was shs107 billion but rather NARO received shs109 billion. “You received shs1.3 billion over and above the approved budget, how was this possible?” Gaffabusa asked.  

The Director of Finance at NARO, Julius Mununuzi, revealed that the organisation’s total budget was Shs110 billion 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. 

In his response, 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. 

Meanwhile, 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.

Denis Owor, NARO’s Internal Auditor highlighted that errors were made during the reconciliation of the figures.

It’s upon this background that he requested more time to harmonise the figures citing that there could have been errors that went unnoticed, requesting for time to go back on the drawing board and ensure reconciliation of the figures.

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