Internal control systems and financial accountability in Uganda: A case of selected districts in western Uganda
Dr. Marus Eton, Caroline Murezi, Fabian Mwosi, Dr. Patrick Bernard Ogwel
The study sought to examine the role of Internal Control system in supporting financial accountability in Uganda. The study found out that the relationship between internal control systems and financial accountability in local governments appeared to be weak, and the actual contribution of internal control systems in the financial operations of the district is negligible. The study however, revealed that internal control system is inadequate in accounting for the staffing gaps in local governments and the untimely release of financial reports. Staff in the local governments investigated, particularly those handling finance related matters had low training in financial accountability. Underpinning this truth is the fact that government grants are not allocated in accordance with grants procedures and later funds diversion. It was revealed for example, that withholding tax deductions are unaccounted for. These deductions are made by the finance department, yet the records indicating their remittance to Uganda Revenue Authority are lacking. The study therefore recommends that Political leaders and other interest groups should stay away from dictating on how public funds should be used. Instead of rigidly interfering with the actual implementation of local government programs, they should execute their constitutionally defined role of supervising and monitoring government programs for the benefit of the masses. There should be urgent recruitment of staff in local governments to bridge the staffing gap and staff should be trained on the current finance management systems to speed up financial reporting system and timely release of financial reports. The Local government staff who did not remit the withholding tax and misused it, should be made to refund the misused funds or be disciplined immediately.