Government writes to donors over merger of agencies

Kenneth Kazibwe

Kenneth Kazibwe

, Featured

The Ugandan government has written to its development partners over the restructuring process it is currently undertaking.

Cabinet recently agreed to disband or merge a number of agencies in a massive reorganization of government and realignment of functions.

In a September 28 letter by the Finance Minister Matia Kasaija, government clarified to the donors about the ongoing restructuring process.

“As you may be aware, government is undertaking a process to restructure and reorganize government institutions including agencies where your good selves have ongoing engagements,” reads in part the letter copied to the Prime Minister, Head of Public Service, Secretary to the Treasury and all government accounting officers.

According to Kasaija,the agencies under consideration were set up by acts of parliament and that any structural changes to such agencies will be done in accordance with the law and after considering all parties involved.

“All ongoing projects and those under development will not in any way be affected by the structural changes being proposed.”

“Government is committed to continuously work with all development partners to ensure that these structural changes do not affect project implementation,” adds Kasaija’s letter.

In a July 2017 letter, President Museveni directed Vice President Edward Ssekandi and Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda to spearhead review of government agencies that he said were a burden to taxpayers.

In the same month, Museveni directed the Internal Security Organization to come up with a report on how much agencies are costing government and how the same can be done away with.

Why government merged, scrapped 25 agencies

A report seen by the Nile Post dated November 17, 2017 indicated that government agencies like KCCA and UNRA are spending more money on fuel, foreign travel, consultancies and salaries of their employees when compared to government ministries.

The report also indicated that these agencies spend more on workshop, employ fewer people and spend a lot of money on advertisements compared to mainstream public service ministries.

According to the report, agencies generally spend a lot of money on salaries of the employees when compared with the main stream public services.

For instance, for financial year 2016.17, Makerere University spent Shs 128 billion on salaries, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA spent Shs 112 billion while KCCA spent Shs 98 billion.

At Shs 7 billion, The National Planning Authority spent the lowest sum on salaries among government agencies.

However, in mainstream public service which is dominated by ministries, the highest spender on salaries was ministry of defence which used 410 billion on salaries.

Parliament spent Shs 86 billion on salaries while the office of the prime minister spent 48 billion.
Comparatively therefore agencies spent more on salaries than government ministries.

In total, the report notes that Uganda’s entire wage bill for 2016.17 financial year was 3.36 trillion.

Of this, Shs 1.7 trillion was paid to workers in the central government (including agencies) while Shs 1.6 trillion was paid to local government workers.

Last month, government announced it had finally taken the bold step of scrapping various agencies and authorities as well as merging others.

“The move is part of continuous reforms by government are normal and part of organisational capacity assessment and systems re-engineering,” Frank Twembaze, the Minister for ICT and National Guidance told journalists.

The Permanent Secretary Catherine Bitarakwate Musingwiire told journalists that the move to merge and also scrap some agencies and authorities had partly been made inevitable by the need to reduce the national wage bill.

“The agencies have been taking about 37% of the entire national wage bill,”Bitarakwate said.

He explained that the process will not be effected at once but after consideration of the law that created the agencies and authorities.

“The acts that created the various agencies will either be amended or repealed to make them fit into their mother ministries. It will take effect when their acts have been amended,”Tumwebaze said.




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