Government has finalized plans to have a number of its ministries and agencies either merged or scrapped in a move aimed at cutting expenditure.
Addressing journalists on Tuesday, the Minister for ICT and National Guidance, Judith Nabakooba said the cabinet meeting that sat on Monday received the plan for the reorganization of government ministries, commissions, authorities and agencies.
“The proposed plan presented a roadmap that will be followed over a three-year period to reorganize a number of ministries and institutions with a view of improving service delivery,”Nabakooba said.
“When completed, the proposed reorganization of government entities will save government up to shs988 billion while at the same time increasing efficiency.”
The minister said that the three-year process will include an inter-ministerial technical committee to handle the merging and later issuing of a circular to the Public Service stopping the creation of new agencies, commission and authorities and providing guidance on the management of the transition for boards and staff.
“There will be stakeholder engagement workshops conducted to prepare staff for the new changes. An institutional and structural framework including terms and conditions of service of employees will be reviewed and financial implications established,” she added.
According to Nabakooba, the revised structures of ministries, departments and agencies on top of financial implications will later be presented to cabinet for approval and later credentials for employees from the affected agencies that will be absorbed into the mainstream public service will be validated.
“The structures will be revised and the compensation of personnel to be off boarded will be undertaken. The salary structures for agencies will be harmonized and mainstreamed with Public Service in accordance with the approved pay targets.”
Why the merging
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service Catherine Bitarakwate Musingwiire told journalists in 2018 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.
She noted that there has been a disparity on supervision by the Ministries of the agencies and authorities hence the need to merge and move them back to their mother ministries for proper supervision.
The then Minister for ICT and National Guidance, Frank Tumwebaze said that an agency or authority would be retained due to a number of reasons among which include if it is a money-making agency and those involved in training.
He added that the process would 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, “Tumwebaze said.
“It will take effect when their acts have been amended.”
Asked on the number of people to be affected in the new move by government through loss of job,
Tumwebaze said he was not in position to do so but said more jobs will be created
“Don’t look at how many in agency X will lose jobs without looking at how many)(jobs) will be created.Don’t cry over those who will lose jobs in the restructuring because they can work in districts like Kaabong, Kamwenge which have human resource gaps that need to be filled,” he added.
He cited an example of executive directors of various agencies that can still work in their mother ministry as commissioners and this way no jobs will have been lost in the new move.
He noted that merging of authorities and agencies will help government liberate resources which could be used to harmonise the salary disparities in various ministries and agencies.
In 2017, President Museveni directed the Internal Security Organization to come up with a report on how much agencies are costing government and how the same could be done away with.
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 mainstream 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 amongst government agencies.
However, in mainstream public service which is dominated by ministries, the highest spender on salaries was the 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.
When it comes to consultancy services, agencies outspend government ministries.
For instance, the Uganda Cancer Institute spent Shs 9.8 billion on consultancies, NITA Shs 7.8 billion and KCCA, Shs 6.8 billion.
Government parastatals like Uganda Communications Commission spent shs 6 billion on consultancies.
Below are tables showing items on which agencies and government ministries spend money.
Top 10 spenders on travel in the mainstream public service (in billion shillings)
State House – 56.1
Parliament – 21.4
Ministry of Health – 19.6
Ministry of Education -15.9
Ministry of Defence -15.7
Ministry of Water and Environment – 12.9
Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development – 11.1
Ministry of Agriculture, Animal and Fisheries -11.1
Office of the Prime Minister – 10.5
Top 10 spenders on travel in agencies(in billion shillings)
Uganda National Examinations Board – 13.6
National Agricultural Research Organization -11.8
Uganda Bureau of Statistics – 9.7Uganda Revenue Authority- 5.5
Rural Electrification Agency- 4.4
Inspector General of Government- 4.2
National Citizenship and Immigration Control – 4.0
National Agricultural Advisory Services -3.4
Directorate of Public Prosecutions- 3.2
National Environmental Management Authority – 3.1
Uganda Coffee Development Agency- 2.2
Top 10 agencies spending on workshops (in billion shillings)
National Agricultural Research Organization -5.4
Uganda Bureau of Statistics -5.3
National Agricultural Advisory Services – 3.0
Uganda National Examinations Board- 2.2
National Environmental Management Organization -1.9
National Planning Authority- 1.7
National Information Technology Authority – 1.7
Kampala Capital City Authority – 1.7
Electoral Commission – 1.3
Uganda Revenue Authority- 1.2
Top 10 spending ministries on workshops (in billions)
Ministry of Health -9.0
Ministry of Agriculture,Animal and Fisheries – 7.3
Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development -6.1
Ministry of Water and Environment -5.6
Ministry of Education -5.5
Ministry of Local Government -5.1
Office of the Prime Minister – 5.1
Ministry of Public Service -3.4
Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development – 2.7
Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development -2.3
Top 10 spending ministries on fuel ( in billions)
Ministry of Defence – 33.3
Ministry of Health – 6.4
Ministry of Water and Environment -5.0
Ministry of Agriculture,Animal and Fisheries –3.9
Ministry of Finance,Planning and Economic Development -3.5
Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development -3.2
Office of the Prime Minister – 2.6
Ministry of Works and Transport- 2.4
Judiciary – 2.2
Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development 1.7
Top 10 spending agencies on fuel (in billions)
National Agricultural Research Organization -4.1
Kampala Capital City Authority -4.1
Electoral Commission -4.1
Uganda Revenue Authority- 2.7
National Citizenship and Immigration Control -1.9
Uganda Blood Transfusion Service -1.1
Directorate of Public Prosecutions- 0.9
Uganda Bureau of Statistics – 0.9
National Forestry Authority -0.9
National Planning Authority 0.9
Entities to be merged or scrapped
Uganda National Roads Authority
Uganda Road Fund
Uganda Railways Corporation
Transport Licensing Board
Uganda Electricity Company Limited
Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited
Uganda Electricity Distribution Company Limited
Rural Electrification Agency
Lotteries and Gaming Regulatory Board
Departed Asians Custodian Board
National Agricultural Advisory Services Organization
Uganda Trypanosomiasis Control Council
Dairy Development Authority
Uganda Coffee Development Authority
Cotton Development Organization
National Identification and Registration Authority
Uganda Aids Commission
National Drug Authority
Uganda Blood Transfusion Services
Uganda Industrial Research Institute
Uganda Land Commission
Uganda National Council for Science and Technology.
Entities to be retained
Uganda Communications Commission
Uganda National Bureau of Standards
Kampala Capital City Authority
Uganda Bureau of Statistics
National Medical Stores