Uganda will now save up to UGX 649 billion ($167,148,846) annually from the rationalization, merging, and mainstreaming of agencies of 53 government agencies and functions according to the Ministry of Public Service.
Mary Grace Mugasa, the Minister of State for Public Service in a report presented to the NRM Parliamentary Caucus at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds on Friday, August 19th explained that the savings will come from wage and non-wage expenses, facilitation of governing boards and councils, NSSF contributions, development expenditure, gratuity, and rent.
Ms. Mugasa explained that government resolved to retain 88 government agencies and merge, mainstream, and transfer the functions of 69 agencies out of 157 that had been reviewed in 2018.
This decision to merge, mainstream, and rationalize government agencies, and commissions was in February 2021 under Minute Extract 43 (CT 2021) approved by cabinet following recommendations made by the Ministry of Public Service.
This was intended to streamline government architecture to enable efficient and effective service delivery and mostly address wasteful expenditure and challenges of duplication of work, conflicts and mandate overlap.
Ministry of Public Service, as the implementing entity of the rationalization and merging reform, has since started the implementation process following a phased roadmap spread over two financial years 2021/2022 and 2022/2023.
Already, Phase 1 of the rationalization exercise is done and dusted with 53 out of the 69 government agencies synchronized while the other 16 await phase two of the next financial year.
Government chief whip, Hon. Hamson Obua says Attorney General, Mr Kiryowa Kiwanuka has already been subsequently commissioned to amend the constitution and repeal Acts of Parliament that created these agencies.
SecretsKnown applauds government’s willingness to trim public expenditure by taking on the rationalization reform to merge several of these autonomous which were agreeably created without clear justification, some being pseudo-government projects, while others have had their mandates overtaken by events.
Even though claims are made that these agencies were formed to increase efficiency, it is difficult to point out how this has been achieved and has in fact been a massive failure save for a few agencies.
For many years, the multiplicity of state agencies has been used as a tool for the extended patronage network. The secret known is that these parastatals provide employment for supporters of the regime, their children and their cronies.
These government agencies, parastatals, Commissions, Authorities, and Public Enterprises have been an avenue for vulgarizing the public sector and used as reward mechanism systems because of the patronage network.
Multiplicity of these government agencies should have never happened to begin with because the Ugandan taxpayer has been overburdened by an over-bloated public service. These bourgeoning agencies have over time become a major strain on the national treasury at the expense of efficient service delivery.
Last week during the meeting with the NRM Parliamentary caucus at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds, President Museveni accused most of the government agencies boards for not working but rather spending the money allocated to them from their mother ministries.
As he asked the NRM MPs to back the rationalization reform, he also said apart from research and farmer institutions only profit-making parastatals should be spared while money-eating parastatals gotten rid of in order to save government billions of shillings.
The 2021 Auditor General’s report shows that only 13 out of the 26 public corporation and state enterprises evaluated were profit-making. This decision to rationalize government agencies will obviously reduce the burden on the taxpayer and perhaps have the money diverted into development causes. This process should have been done earlier as far as we are concerned. It is however important to interrogate the timing of this reform, why now?
SecretsKnown recommends that government here on should move on to also trim Uganda’s over-bloated cabinet and parliament of 529 MPs which is the highest in the region.