Keith Muhakanizi

Keith Muhakanizi

Speaking at a corporate governance book launch at Serena Hotel on Thursday, finance minister Maria Kiwanuka said the stringent reforms undertaken in her ministry have enabled them to save over sh200b in the first half of the 2014/2015 financial year, money that was being siphoned by government officials.

Kiwanuka said the saved money will be used to pay all gratuity and pension arrears before the end of this financial year.

?I don?t want to see any pensioner coming to the ministry to inquire about their pensions; they will all be paid before the end of this financial year,? Kiwanuka said.

The Secretary to the Treasury, Keith Muhakanizi, told New Vision in a telephone interview that although the finance ministry is not sure about the exact amount in arrears, the Ministry of Public Service submitted a figure of sh96b for gratuity and about 3b for pension arrears.

He added that the amount is being verified before any payment is done.

?Pension arrears are not much, it is gratuity that is much. I am not sure of the actual amount but we have written to all accounting officers to verify the figure. Once that is done, we will pay,? Muhakanizi said.

Gratuity is a one-time payment made to civil servants who have retired while pension is the monthly payment made to retired civil servants.

The ministry instituted a number of reforms in 2013, including implementing the treasury single account, closing accounts which were being misused and computerising education management and accounting systems.

Other improvements are audit of government payroll, decentralisation of the budgeting and payment of salaries and pensions, as well as improved budget implementation and monitoring.

The reforms are believed to have enabled the ministry eliminate ghost workers and ghost students created by corrupt officials. They have been deleted from the system.

Part of the money being recovered is also being used to pay salary arrears for different civil servants.

Muhakanizi earlier said about sh320b is expected to be saved annually on the wage bill following the clean-up of ?ghost? workers from the payroll through decentralisation.

Faridah Kulabako, The New Vision

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