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Speaker Anita Among chairing the House on Wednesday

Parliament Concerned over Delayed Merger of Government Agencies

by Max Pat
posted onApril 21, 2022

Government has been urged to fast-track the cabinet decision to merge, mainstream and rationalise public institutions and agencies to facilitate efficient public expenditures.

This is contained in the report of the Committee on Public Service and Local Government on the sector ministerial policy statements for 2022/23 that was adopted during the Wednesday, 20 April 2022 plenary sitting.

While presenting the report, the committee chairperson, Hon. Godfrey Onzima tasked government to fast-track the mergers, mainstreaming and transfer of the affected agencies and present a report to Parliament.

In 2018, government undertook a reform to rationalise her agencies and public expenditure with a view of eliminating structure ambiguities, functional duplications and overlaps, wasteful expenditures and realising savings which could be used to facilitate other critical public services. However, Onzima said that to date, only the Ministry of Science and Technology has been dissolved while the Rural Electrification Agency has been transferred to the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development.

“Rationalisation in other ministries and agencies has not taken place - a process which has been overtaken by events according to the agreed work plan,” Onzima said. According to the cabinet decision, government is supposed to merge and transfer the functions of 77 agencies.

In September 2021, the then Deputy Speaker, Anita Among temporarily stayed the merger and rationalisation of government agencies until an Ad-Hoc committee does a cost-benefit analysis of each of the agencies before their merger and ensures that the merging is done in accordance with the law.

The committee also recommended that Government provides Shs15 Billion for the induction of the councilors to enhance performance and service delivery.

Onzima said this budgetary request is premised on the fact that the 2021 general elections registered about 75 per cent leadership turnover which means that majority of the members of council are new people with little or no knowledge and experience in running public affairs.

“The committee further recommends that the team of councilors and trainers should include local technical staff to facilitate the induction as this will save costs and also address the challenge of language barriers between the inductees and trainers,” the report reads.

The Minister of Local Government, Hon. Raphael Magyezi said induction of councillors is necessary for capacity building. “Last year, we had a budget cut on the induction of councillors simply because some people thought induction is also workshops and seminars. When there was a general budget cut, it was also affected. However, induction is necessary for capacity building for leaders at that level and I am glad the committee has recommended that Shs15 billion be provided,” Magyezi said.

In the Financial Year 2022/23, the overall budget to the local governments is expected to decrease by seven percent from Shs4.8 trillion to Shs4.49 trillion in 2021/22.

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