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MPs Task Mulago Hospital Officials Over Unspent UGX 4Bn

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During its sitting on Tuesday, the Committee under the stewardship of the Vice-Chairperson, Asuman Basalirwa, legislators noted that the National Referral hospital is being run under a bureaucratic system where its Management is supervised by the Ministry of Health and staff recruitment done by the Health Service Commission.
Mulago Hospital interdicted Executive Director, Dr. Byarugaba Baterana and other officials before PAC.

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The Public Accounts Committee (PAC)- Central Government has raised concern about the bureaucratic staff recruitment that led to the failure of Mulago National Referral Hospital to utilize Shillings 4 billion. 

During its sitting on Tuesday, the Committee under the stewardship of the Vice-Chairperson, Asuman Basalirwa, legislators noted that the National Referral hospital is being run under a bureaucratic system where its Management is supervised by the Ministry of Health and staff recruitment done by the Health Service Commission.

They say that this system makes the hospital management fail to undertake critical decisions to provide the required specialized services to Ugandans. In his 2020/2021 financial year audit report, the Auditor General, John Muwanga queried the non-absorption of Shillings 4 billion by the hospital meant for recruitment of staff, which saw the money return to the Treasury.

However, Mulago hospital officials by the interdicted Executive Director, Dr. Byarugaba Baterana, said that the money was meant for salaries and could not be spent due to delayed recruitment by the Health Service Commission.

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Sarah Opendi, the Tororo Woman MP said that for the hospital to offer specialized services, there is a need for its management to be made autonomous to eliminate bureaucracy in the recruitment process.

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Kashari North MP, Bazil Bataringaya said that the National Referral Hospital needs to be helped to perform better and take decisions immediately. Tororo South MP, Fredrick Angura shared the same sentiments.

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Xavier Kyooma, the Ibanda North MP said that he would support the proposal to make Mulago Hospital an autonomous entity but also sought evidence to show that delayed recruitment was not Mulago’s negligence but a result of the bureaucracy at the Health Service Commission and Ministry of Public Service.

Basalirwa guided that they would discuss the issue internally and make a recommendation to parliament as a committee. “This is an observation and recommendation we can make in our report for action and we see what the House decides,” said Basalirwa.

Despite this, the MPs did not exonerate the hospital officials for failing to utilize the Shillings 4 billion allocated for staff recruitment. Basalirwa questioned why the hospital had not notified the Health Service Commission early enough to have the required staff recruited in time. 

He noted that it was irresponsible for the hospital to fail to put funds to use yet there are many qualified health workers in need of jobs. David Nuwamanya, the Mulago Hospital Principal Administrator said that the failure to recruit is largely attributed to the recruitment process in public service. He explained that the hospital makes a recruitment plan at the beginning of the financial year and makes submissions to the Health Service Commission.

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During the financial year 2020/2021, Mulago Hospital received a budget of 63.57 billion Shillings and they spent Shillings 59.37 billion. Shillings 4.19 billion remained unspent and was swept back to the Consolidated Fund as required by the Public Finance Management Act –PFMA. The auditor general noted that the hospital did not seek a revision of its budget and the work plan to enable them to utilize the unspent funds.      

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