ADJUMANI. Adjumani district local government has failed to spend Shs 12.3 billion allocated to it under the Uganda Support to Municipality Infrastructure Development (USMID) for the component of refugees hosting districts.

This is in accordance with Public Finance Management Act 2015 which dictates that all ‘unabsorbed’ funds must be returned to the consolidated account at the end of a financial year.

The money is part of the second phases of the USMID worth 130million dollars from the world bank, apart from the previous municipalities that benefited, refugee window was created to include refugee-hosting district to benefit from the world bank funding that created a way for Adjumani district which is home to more than 200,000 refugees mainly from South Sudan.

But the move has not augured well with a section of locals who now want the responsible heads of the district local government departments some of whom are newly recruited to be held responsible.

The Adjumani district chairman Mr Ben Anyama however said the district cannot be punished for the mistake made by the ministries of Lands and Finance and called upon the office of the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) to put a spirited fight and ensure the money is returned to the district vote.

Anyama defended himself that the mess occurred in the previous government since he is only one month old in office.

“There is need for government to support Adjumani district for the hospitality accorded to the South Sudanese refugees who have been offered free land despite several associated side effects of hosting”, he said.

While presenting his handover report in the district council boardroom last week, the out-going Adjumani CAO, Mr Jack Byaruhanga said the funds that were budgeted in the financial year 2019-2020, will be returned to the Treasury after the district failed to spend it.

Byaruhanga blamed what he termed as the unfortunate situation on the Ministry of Lands and Local governments because they had divided interests.

“The two ministries failed to provide the design for the infrastructures and procurement documents, without the design and the documents, the district had no other option”, he added.

He however said not all hopes are lost since he has already made submissions to the Ministry of Finance and Lands so that the fund is re-voted and procurements are handled expeditiously.

The money among others is for tarmacking of roads in Adjumani town council, constructions of community resource centres and physical planning in sub-counties.

Adjumani is the only district in Uganda where the number of refugees is almost level to that of the host community, the district is already feeling the pressure on social services like health and education since the refugees and the natives attend the same schools and visit the same health facilities.