The ministry of Local Government is set to put an end to outrageous expenditures by district officials that have almost rendered districts bankrupt.
The revelation was made by the Minister for Local Government Tom Butime while officiating at the quarterly meeting of Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs) and town clerks of municipal councils held in Kampala
Tom Butime told revealed that the cost of financing trips abroad for chief administrative officers is higher than the investment approved for the development of many of these districts.
Butime revealed that the two years he has spent as a minister much of his time is spent signing requests of these officers wondering when they do deliver on government tasks.
Butime noted that, “It costs between $6000 – $10,000 to facilitate on officer for a trip abroad including air ticket accommodation meals and per diem, and it’s always more than one person.”
This has left many of these CAO offices gathering dust as the office bearers hardly spend time there.
Butime accused CAOs of spending more time engaged in gossip than tracking performance of government programmes to ensure their success. He also said that CAO’s failure to fulfill their roles has led to districts failing to meet requirements to access funds from the central government.
Other challenges that have cropped up as a result of inefficient CAOs are delays in payment of pension and gratuity and absenteeism from office.
The Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Dr Diana Atwine also accused CAOs negligence of costing government billions in expired drugs as they do not follow up on drugs bought and meant to be distributed in a timely manner.
The Local Government Permanent Secretary Benjamin Kumumanya warned the CAOs that unless there was a change in their work ethic, they would fail to achieve the NRM mandate of Kisanja Hakuna Muchezo.
The Kabarole CAO Dunstan Balaba however defended his colleagues by noting that a lack of human resource is what is failing operations.
The Gulu CAO Dorothy Ajwang argued that CAOs sometimes travel to Kampala because their offices are not equipped to handle some operations like the new salary systems.
Travel expenditures in government entities and departments has for long been a concern with President Yoweri Museveni halting travel of government officials after a report by the Internal Security Organization (ISO) released last year indicated that government spent 352 billion shillings for both trips within and those outside the country in the financial year 2016/17.