By Max Patrick Ocaido
Members of Parliament are yet to come to terms with President Yoweri Museveni’s modesty after officials from his office on Tuesday told them how the fountain of honour requested for a salary advance in 2016.
President Museveni who earns a meager Shs3.6m per month picked a salary advance of Shs19.1m in FY 2016/2017, according to the Secretary, Office of the President, Yunus Kakande. Museveni’s salary is about 4 times less than the Shs11m that his Vice [Edward Ssekandi], Prime Minister [Rukutana Rugunda], Deputy Prime Ministers, Ministers and Ministers of State earn per month.
Kakande and other officials were appearing before the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to respond to audit queries raised by the Auditor-General.
The committee headed by Nandala Mafabi (Budadiri West) tasked the officials to explain why over Shs1.1bn out of allocated Shs126bn was not absorbed and returned to the Consolidated Fund in FY2017/2018.
In response, Kakande told the committee that part of the money returned to the treasury was for statutory salaries by some staff including President Yoweri Museveni who requested for a salary advance in FY 2016/17.
“Some of the money was meant for statutory salaries in the course of that financial year, the principal [His Excellence the President] took an advance for some money. He wanted some money and requested for an advance, so we gave him an advance [of Shs19.1m], which we eventually recovered. We didn’t pay him for that period and recovered it in the next financial year and that money was returned back to the treasury,” Kakande said to the MPs’ amusement.
Julius Kagolo, Principal Accountant, Office of the President further explained that the President earns a monthly salary of Shs3.6m and there is no doubt he is sometimes in urgent need of money just like any other citizen.
“It was coming to the end of the financial year so we kept on recovering that money that is why we had that balance that was returned to the consolidated fund. He requested for an advance and to get the advance, we had to request for a supplementary,” Kagolo said.
It means that in FY 2017/18, President Museveni went for 6 months without a salary as the Ministry recovered the Shs19.1m that was advanced to him. Kagolo’s explanation clears fears that the president orders for withdrawal of any amount of money for his personal use.
Kakande added that Shs1.1bn of the unspent funds also accumulated as a result of the deletion of the payroll of pensioners who couldn’t be accounted for after joint verification exercise between Office of the President and Ministry of Public Service.