President Yoweri Museveni Friday summoned the NRM parliamentary caucus at Kololo Independence grounds to brief them about the new developments in the country.
Top on the agenda was the government’s plan to rationalize its agencies and departments to save taxpayers money.
In 2018, the Ministry of Public Service released plans to re-align Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies to address challenges of duplication of work, overlaps of mandates, conflicts, and wasteful expenditures, among others. In February 2021 cabinet approved a Road Map for rationalization of Government Agencies, Commissions, Authorities and Public Expenditure.
President Museveni met the NRM caucus members at Kololo ceremonial grounds to share with them on the merging of agencies (PPU Photo)
The main purpose of the caucus meeting was to bring members on board on the objective, the progress and the benefits of the rationalization reform. The meeting also wanted to solicit for support at all levels to take the reform forward and agree on a way forward for its implementation in the financial year 2023/2024.
According to the report by the Ministry of Public Service which was delivered to the caucus by the state minister for Public Service; Grace Mary Mugasa; out of 157 government agencies which were reviewed under the rationalization of government agencies and public expenditure exercise of 2018, government took a decision to retain 88 and merge, mainstream and transfer the functions of 69 agencies.
Vice President Jessica Alupo (2nd from left) attended the caucus meeting at Kololo where the President asked MPs to back the merging of agencies (PPU Photo)
Minister Mugasa told the caucus that the first phase of the rationalization exercise has been concluded with 53 out of the 69 government agencies harmonized and Cabinet has accordingly taken appropriate decisions for implementation. The remaining 16 agencies will be rationalized in phase two of FY 2022/23 which according to the Minister, tax-payers money in billions of shillings will be saved.
“The total cost savings arising from wage and non-wage expenditure for the rationalization of 53 government agencies and functions per annum will be Uganda Shillings Six Hundred and Forty-Nine Billion, Two Hundred and Two Million, One Hundred Seventy-Three Thousand, Three Hundred and Eleven (UGX. 649,202,173,311/=),” the minister said, adding that the money to be saved include savings from expenses on wage, facilitation of governing boards and councils, contribution to NSSF, non-wage expenses, development expenditure, gratuity and rent.
“Part of these deductions of Uganda shillings 6.287 billion will be used to cater for the costs associated with the phasing out of the position of Directors in the Public Service,” she added.
According to the NRM National Chairman, apart from research institutions, the ministry departments, farmers’ institutions; among others, the government is seeking to retain only money-making parastatals with boards to monitor and guide their operations.
The President gave an example of the National Enterprise Corporation (NEC) – a state-owned commercial arm of the Uganda People’s Defense Force that is making money for the government.
“For instance, we have the National Enterprise Corporation (NEC). It has many businesses including road making. So, it is justified for us to have a board and management because it is a money-making body,” Museveni stressed, saying many government agencies doing almost the same work have boards which don’t do much apart from spending the money allocated to them from their mother ministries.
“If the government wants to have parastatals, have money-making parastatals, so that when you say you have got a board, it is a money-making board, not a money-eating board. Have no board where there is no money making,” he stressed.
According to the Ministry of Public service, a situational analysis of Government Agencies in Uganda established that some Agencies were created without clear justification, others had their mandates overtaken by events, while others are pseudo-government projects which operate in a similar manner as government agencies.
The President asked NRM Members of Parliament to study the report by the Ministry of Public Service and reconvene in September to conclude on the matter.
In the same meeting Museveni thanked and congratulated the NRM Regional Vice Chairpersons and all cadres for the cohesion that has enabled the party win massively all the five parliamentary by-elections which include Omoro County in Omoro district, Gogonyo County in Pallisa district, Bukimbiri County in Kisoro district, Busongora South in Kasese district and Soroti City East in Soroti district, not forgetting the by-election for the LC5 seat in Kayunga district which the NRM won.
“This shows you one thing, devotion. This new team of leaders have got a lot of enthusiasm that is spilling over in whatever that is being done. I congratulate the NRM and those leaders in particular,” Museveni said.
The government chief whip who is also the Chairperson of the NRM Parliamentary Caucus Denis Hamson Obua, assured the President of better service delivery.
“I would like to emphasize teamwork, team spirit and service above self,” Hon. Obua said.
Also present in the caucus was the Vice President Major (Rtd) Jessica Alupo Epel, Ministers, and Special Invited Guests.
Award winning journalist and writer who has worked as a stringer for a couple of acclaimed South Africa based German journalists, covered 3 Ugandan elections, 2008 Kenya election crisis, with interests in business and sports reporting.