23 August 2017

Uganda: Museveni Orders Review of Government Agencies to Minimise Wastage

President Museveni has ordered for a review of the public service with a view of scrapping, downsizing and merging government agencies and Authorities in a move he says will deal with "wastage of meagre resources".

In a July 17 letter to the Vice President Edward Ssekanda, Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda and selected cabinet ministers, Mr Museveni argued that there should only be two categories of public servants-policy makers and "money-makers" running the few government parastatals.

In the letter, Mr Museveni indicates that he has been furnished with a report compiled by the ruling National Resistance Movement which confirms his suspicion that the "mushrooming government agencies" are a burden to taxpayers.

Mr Museveni did not specify which government agencies will either be downsized, scrapped or merged.

"Why have an agency when you have a department of government dealing with the same area of responsibility? Why have an Authority when you have department of government dealing with the same area of responsibility? Why have Boards for money-consuming units rather than money generating units?" Mr Museveni asks in the letter.

The Finance Minister Matia Kasaija and Public Service Minister Muruli Mukasa have up to December 20 to propose a plan to Cabinet on how Mr Museveni's proposed re-organization of the public service will work.

Mr Kasaija would also table a report on how much the government is spending on such Authorities.

"If the ministries of Works and Finance want to form road construction companies that will compete for construction jobs, then it makes sense for those companies to have boards and management but not a board for a unit whose only job is to award contracts using government money," Mr Museveni wrote

In the past, the Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra) has consistently taken the biggest share of the budget to manage roads.

Government agencies like Unra and the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), which are semi-autonomous, determine the pay of their staff and their wage bills have often been a source of controversy with other civil servants demanding salary increment.

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