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Fear as govt scraps ‘fat-cat’ agencies

cabinet decision on Monday to disband 71 government agencies has set off panic amongst employees.

The decision follows a report compiled last year by a team headed by President Museveni’s younger brother, Gen Caleb Akandwanaho (Salim Saleh) on wasteful government expenditure. The Saleh team recommended that certain government agencies be either merged or abolished.

ICT and Information minister Frank Tumwebaze told journalists at the Uganda Media Centre that Museveni chaired the cabinet meeting, which endorsed the proposal.

“Among the reasons for the decision is to eliminate functional ambiguities, duplications and overlaps among government institutions,” Tumwebaze said.

Minister Frank Tumwebaze

There are 153 government agencies, commissions and statutory authorities, some of which are doing work that can be handled directly by their parent ministries. Since many of them are semi-autonomous, they have been determining their staff salaries and allowances which in most cases are significantly more than what is earned by colleagues in the ministries.

“Staff in the agencies have been earning higher than the people in ministries - about five to 10 times which was demotivating to other government employees,” Tumwebaze said.

According to the permanent secretary, ministry of Public Service, Catherine Bitarakwate Musingwiire, these entities have been taking about 37 percent of the total government wage bill. On average, government has been spending more than Shs 988 billion to foot salaries in these agencies.

“This money will be used to harmonise salaries of government employees across the board,” Bitarakwate said.

According to Tumwebaze, government is preparing to table before parliament a bill repealing the various laws under which the entities were created. Staff under the abolished entities will either be absorbed by mother ministries, sent to the districts or given an out-of-contract gratuity.

Quite a number, however, will be left jobless. For instance, most heads, and quite a few employees, were politically appointed, which means that they lack the technical knowledge that may qualify them for jobs under the new set-up.

While Tumwebaze tried to downplay suggestions that the agencies’ abolition would worsen the unemployment problem, Bitarakwate agreed that many were going to lose jobs.

“But most of the people in the agencies are on contract which is normally three years. If they want, they can re-apply; those that don’t want will be given a retirement package because their contracts have a clause on out of contract gratuity,” Bitarakwate said.

Officials did not say how much will likely be spent on the retirement packages.

“Each individual agency has its own policy. The retirement packages differ; it is not centrally controlled,” a senior official, who preferred not to be named, said.

Among the entities sampled by The Observer, a sense of anxiety was evident.

“Apart from the press release, we haven’t got any formal communication from the ministry. We are waiting to see how they going to handle it,” said a staff at one of the places.

Some agencies due for scrapping have staffing levels in excess of 2,000 employees spread across the country. For instance, National Agricultural Advisory Services has at least 10 people in each of the 130 districts, plus the staff at the headquarters.

Uganda National Roads Authority has an estimate of 1,400 employees while those under Uganda Wildlife Authority could be above 2,000.

sadabkk@observer.ug

Comments   

+2 #1 nkuutu kibedi 2018-09-12 15:15
Very good idea, and I don't see why some people are panicking about it.

These bodies where not around since independence but the govts. were just fine. Setting them up was just another way of getting NRM stogies to benefit financially.

Their salary policies have been outrageous, they had started acting with impunity, their chiefs acted like they were above the law, they were not doing what they were supposed to do, they were inflating all their budgets, etc etc.

Getting them back to their respective and responsive ministries is the best alternative. Now the buck will stop with the ministers only. I read that the head of UNRA said that only an act of parliament can dissolve these bodies: this goes to show how "patriotic" the lady is.

That is the impunity am referring to here. She thinks she is a demi-godness! My suggestion is: take all these pseudo bodies away and let the respective ministries do their work.
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+5 #2 Twebz 2018-09-12 15:40
That's a right step in the right direction instead of wasting time hunting down bonafide ugandans for trivial matters to protect life presidency. in this regard I expect the following to go: UNRA, UCA, URA, UTA, KCCA, UIA, ESC, etc.

They have a lot of thieves that have made our taxes go down the drain for nothing larking there.

Disband them immediately. In the same manner merge some ministries to make at least 25.

For instance Defence and Security ministries mean the same thing. Minister for Kampala, Karamoja, Ruwero, Nothern Uganda, etc are not necessary.

Finally disband the bunch of all the RDCs. They are doing nothing, if not being a nuisance to our small economy.
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+1 #3 Fuller 2018-09-12 17:30
No more free money from overseas to fund lavish lifestyles of the corrupt regime, so there was no other option.

Question is: How will the 'fat cats' afford the monumental mansions built to their "success" (without aforethought!), the expensive 'limos' costing 200k/- a day for petrol, the parade of girlfriends (for men), when their salaries are reduced or no salaries are coming in at all?

Indications are many of them will see the corrupt regime for what it is, join the majority of Ugandans...and have the regime uprooted fast. And that will be a good thing.
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+1 #4 rubangakene 2018-09-12 22:22
This is good news; the only good thing that is beginning to happen since the last thirty years.

We need to trim down this government to prevent this wanton waste of taxpayers' money. Star by trimming parliament, Ministers, RDCs, LCs, tribal chiefs, etc. and it seems the only person "working and making decisions" in this country is the President.

As for retirement packages, these should be decided on assessment of individual earnings and properties accrued from their work in government.

If these are found to be excessive they should be asked to refund the same to the government coffers- full stop. Hakuna mchezo!
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0 #5 Twebz 2018-09-12 23:26
This is happily allowed. Go ahead and reduce cabinet to not more than 25 ministers.

We should have a number of MPs equivalent to the number of districts because current districts are former counties or subcounties.

Disband these idlers called RDCs and DISOs since we already have elected and government appointed personnel at the districts.

The DPC with his intelligence staff can effectively handle security. All the commissions and authorities must go to their mother ministries. NRM cadres set to feed on this have had enough. Let's go back to develop our very poor nation.
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