ACOA2019: Accountant General Shares Perspective on Public Sector Performance in Uganda

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CPA Lawrence Semakula, Accountant General

CPA Lawrence Semakula is the Accountant General of Uganda. He is associated with various Public Finance Management (PFM) reform initiatives in Government.  He chaired the application implementation work group under the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS); he was the task chair on the implementation of Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), task chair on Treasury Single Account (TSA) and salary decentralisation. In 2012, he was directly charged with the responsibility of reviewing the Public Financial systems with the aim of strengthening controls to address emerging weakness highlighted by various reviews from oversight bodies and development partners.

CPA Semakula will present on the topic, Ethics Driving Effective Service Delivery at the Africa Congress of Accountants (ACOA2019). ACOA2019 will take place in Marrakech, Morocco from 19 – 21 June 2019.

Today’s Accountant magazine caught up with the Accountant general recently.

Q. Ethics Driving Effective Service Delivery: Why is this topic relevant?

A. Ethics determines everything and in service delivery, if there are no ethical values, then you will definitely know that the service delivery is affected. As you know, public sector is basically about service delivery and not profit maximization.

Q. Why the focus on the Public Sector?

A. The public sector drives development and determines growth. The performance of the public sector is critical for economic growth of any country and for the wellbeing of the society. The private sector works within the framework that is determined by the public sector.

Q. What is the Accountants’ Role in Public Sector Performance?

A. The accountants’ role is crucial. We manage the resources and ensure that they are used for their intended purpose. If resources are diverted, it hinders the achievement of goals and objectives.

Q. What are some of the Challenges affecting Public Sector Performance?

A. The public sector is very complex, very bureaucratic, and performance is not easily measurable.

Q. What are some of the Initiatives in Place to Improve Public Sector Performance?

A. The reforms in the areas of public finance management cut across the areas of budget preparations, execution, accounting and reporting. We aim to have systems that are transparent and accountable.

The interventions under the public finance management reform are in 3 major areas:

The interventions are in 3 major areas:

  1. The legal and the regulatory framework:

Laws have been enacted/amendment to streamline the sector and foster improvements. These include: the Public Finance Management Act of 2015, the National Audit Act of 2008, and the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act 2003.

  1. Systems and Underlying Procedures
  2. The integrated financial management system that was implemented across government, to automate the budget execution processes.
  3. The treasury single account to monitor the expenditures and revenues of government.
  4. The e-cash solution to control cash withdrawals.
  5. Web based solutions for the accounting officers.
  6. E-procurement to minimise human involvement within the procurement process.
  1. Human Resources: Government is professionalizing its employees, by sponsoring studies in professional courses. By 2001, we had less than 3 professional accountants. To date we have over 200, as the Accountant General’s Office. The Accountant General’s Office also supports membership and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements, after qualification.

Q. How does one register for ACOA2019?

A. Registration for the Congress is open via https://acoa2019.com/en/delegation/congress/international-congress-participant/.

For further information on the congress kindly contact Ms. Jane Ohadike janeo@pafa.org.za or Ms. Naima Nasr n.nasr@oec.ma

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