• Tue. Apr 23rd, 2024

Certain shortcomings linked to budgetary and accounting management conditions for the 2021/2022 financial year are evident at the ministry responsible for infrastructure

ByWebmaster

Jan 15, 2024

BUJUMBURA, January 13th (ABP) – The Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr. Daniel Gélase Ndabirabe, chaired on Tuesday January 9, 2024 at the Kigobe hemicycle, a plenary session focused on the analysis of the budget management capacity audit report for the Ministry of Infrastructure, Equipment and Social Housing (MIELS), for the period from 2021/2022 to 2022/2023, which was carried out by the Court of Auditors. Minister Dieudonné Dukundane was the guest of the day to provide clarifications.

In his presentation, the chairman of the standing committee on public accounts and finance, economic affairs and planning, Mr. Nestor Ntahontuye, indicated that the objective of that audit is to propose necessary improvements in budgetary management so that MIELS lives up to the new management method established by the organic law relating to public finances concerning the budget-program.

                                                                                                        View of the MPs

According to Ntahontuye, the report produced by the Court of Auditors focused on two aspects. The first is related to the evaluation of budgetary and accounting management conditions and focused on certain aspects. He cited the evaluation of the budgetary management report which concerns the evolution of the credits allocated to the ministry for the financial years 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 and the use of expenditure for the financial year 2021-2022. There is also the assessment of the management capacity of the budget development process and the assessment of the capacity to execute expenditure and monitor budgetary and accounting information.

The second aspect is related to the evaluation of the internal control capacity and focused on different components of internal control which are the control environment, risk assessment, control activities, information and communication as well as the pilot. He reported that the mission was limited to the central administration level of MIELS and was not able to cover its regional and provincial offices, nor its personalized administrations such as OBUHA and ARB.

Concerning the level of budget execution in relation to the appropriations voted for the 2021-2022 financial year, the Court of Auditors noted that the execution rate for the category “remuneration of salaries” exceeded the appropriation voted by 11, 9%. In view of this execution rate, it can be seen that there were transfers greater than 10% required by article 65 of the general regulations for the management of public budgets.

                                                                                             Minister Dukundane

Concerning the organization of the budgetary function, it was noted that MIELS does not have a specific structure dedicated solely to the budgetary process. The budgetary function is entrusted to the public procurement and budget management unit. The unit responsible for the budget uses the SIGEFI software but the interconnection is not functional. MIELS agents must travel to the ministry in charge of finance if necessary to use the software. This is a gap because the process of budget forecasting and monitoring of budget execution becomes difficult.

Mr. Ntahontuye also indicated that during the 2021-2022 budget year, the ministry had budget management with certain challenges. Thus, there emerge shortcomings linked to the conditions of budgetary and accounting management, notably the high levels of execution of certain expenditures, the absence of the MTEF (framework for the integration of budgetary policy and medium-term budgeting), to which refers budgetary planning and programming and the effectiveness of the internal control system. Given the shortcomings identified, it is recommended that MIELS observe all the recommendations made by the Court of Auditors and rigorously monitor their implementation.

During questions addressed to Minister Dukundane, the MPs deplored the fact that the audit of the Court of Auditors did not affect the personalized administrations of the ministry including OBUHA and ARB, which are institutions responsible for the works which affect the lives of people. The people’s elected representatives also asked the minister what caused the execution rate for the “salary remuneration” category to exceed the voted credit by 11.9%, while this section should not experience any overruns because salary costs are fixed and known in the budget law.

Regarding those concerns, the minister explained that following structural changes due to the merger of certain internal and external institutions of the former Ministry of Transport, Public Works, Equipment and Land Planning carried out in 2020, some institutions have been relocated to other ministries such as that in charge of trade and the ministry of the environment, agriculture and livestock. The salaries of those staff who moved to other ministries remained in the infrastructure ministry for some time. In the revision of the 2023-2024 budget law, he pointed out, this question was resolved, henceforth, the staff whose institutions have moved will be managed at the level of the ministries which host those institutions.

Regarding the lack of a specific structure dedicated solely to the budgetary process, the minister announced that there is a draft revision of the decree relating to the missions, organization and operation of MIELS which has been sent to the Cabinet for analysis. In this revision bill, it was proposed to provide MIELS with a general directorate of human resources and planning. Mr. Dukundane added that there were discussions between the ministry he represents, the ministry in charge of the civil service and the ministry responsible for finance, to see how to restore the interconnection of the SIGEFI system or how to digitalize the services of those ministries to facilitate monitoring of budget execution and avoid paying fictitious staff.

Regarding the serviced sites at Nyabugete 4, 5 and Kizingwe-Bihara, the minister indicated that reports have been produced and are being analyzed. Those reports will be transmitted to the hierarchical authorities for appropriate decision-making so that the buyers are authorized to build.

Regarding the Bujumbura-Rumonge-Nyanza-Lac road being rehabilitated but the work is stopped, while the road remains impassable, the minister responded that negotiations with the executing company are planned to ensure the continuity of the work.