The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has urged the Local Administrative Entities Development Agency (LODA) to curb delays in paying wages as well as direct support to the vulnerable people beneficiaries of Vision Umurenge Programme (VUP).
This was during a public hearing on Wednesday, September 23, in which PAC was listening to explanations of LODA senior managers for the public funds mismanagement cases revealed by the Auditor General’s 2018/19 report.
VUP is an integrated local development program to accelerate poverty eradication, rural growth, and social protection.
The direct support guidelines issued by LODA in July 2018 states that the payments shall be made directly to beneficiaries’ accounts opened in formal financial institutions such as banks or SACCOs. Payments will be made every month and not later than 10 calendar days of the following month.
The AG’s report noted that VUP direct support funds amounting to more than Rwf1.2 billion delayed to reach beneficiaries for a period ranging from 2 to 190 days in sixteen (16) districts.
This issue, the report indicated, was mainly attributed to delays in updating beneficiaries’ lists, and may negatively impact the beneficiaries’ welfare.
Also, the report exposed delays in the payment of more than Rwf1.4 billion in wages to VUP classic public works beneficiaries in eighteen (18) districts. The delays ranged from 2 to 128 days.
This contradicts the guidelines issued by LODA on July 20, 2018, which state that classic public works wages shall be paid not later than 15 calendar days after the end of each 10 day working cycle.
The delay is caused by the long time it takes to prepare, verify and consolidate payrolls for beneficiaries for the projects executed in different sectors, adding that it negatively impacts their wellbeing.
“This issue has been persistent for long. The delay in providing the VUP funds to vulnerable people when there are funds allocated for that purpose is not understandable. We need a guarantee that this problem won’t happen again,” said MP Beline Uwineza.
LODA Director-General, Claudine Marie Solange Nyinawagaga, affirmed the commitment to address such issues, indicating that paying VUP wages on time increased from 57 per cent in 2018/19 to 90 per cent in 2019/20.
“Such a development means that that is something we have put emphasis on,” she said.
She said that the Ministry of Local Government has been holding districts accountable in weekly meetings whereby the status of each district on such an aspect is indicated, something that has made leaders focus attention to it.
She explained that the Agency embraced the use of a management information system whereby information including the lists of the beneficiaries – payroll is entered into its database to expedite the process.Follow https://twitter.com/EmNtirenganya