Government's announced plans to rationalize and merge agencies, commissions and authorities as a way of reducing wasteful expenditures and cost saving is a hoax, civil society organisations have said.
Last year, on September 10 government announced the phased merger of the authorities and agencies, sending panic among civil servants. However, civil society has said no merger will be realised at least in FY 2019/20 because nothing is reflected in the national budget framework paper.
Activists under the their umbrella body Civil Society Budget Advocacy (CSBAG) led by Julius Mukunda, the executive director, observed that the public should not expect much.
“We commend government for this policy of merging, however, the 2019/20 budget framework paper does not capture any progress so far made in realizing the policy choice,” he said.
Mukunda who was addressing the press at CSBAG headquarters in Kampala recently added that there is likelihood of anxiety and job security concerns that might affect the smooth implementation of the government programmes.
“Government should complete and communicate the roadmap for the massive policy decision to guide proper budget implementation,” he said.
At the conference, CSOs also noted that State House does not have the required expertise to competitively oversee the Youth Livelihood Programme (YLP). They argue that taking over of the programme from the minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development opens risks of politicization of the government programme.
It should be remembered that government introduced the Youth Livelihood programme in 2013/14 as a five year programme to economically empower the youth. But in FY 2019/20 cabinet approved and amended National Budget Framework Paper votes for Youth Livelihood programme.
Mukunda said; “Cabinet created a vote for youth programmes in the State House and resulted in a reduction of the Youth Livelihood programme from Shs 66.66bn in 2018/19 to Shs 4.6bn in 2019/20 within the ministry of Gender with is a reduction of 93 per cent.”
“The budget of YLP at State House rose from Shs 0 in 2018/19 to Shs 130bn in 2019/20 yet State House operations are almost beyond public scrutiny and has limited parliamentary oversight,” said Julius Kapwepwe, the director programmes at Uganda Debt Network.
The auditor general, John Muwanga recently released a report revealing that government may never recover Shs 28.4 billion disbursed to youth groups across the country under Youth Livelihood Project (YLP).
The auditor general found that almost 64 per cent of the sampled youth projects, consisting of 71 per cent value of loans, were non-existent and another 25 per cent had reportedly embezzled the funds.