In his latest report, the Auditor General, John Muwanga, has indicated that there are more than 68,000 jobs that are not filled by the Public Service commission (PSC). This is distressing information, to say the least.
An official in the PSC department has sought to dampen the impact of this, saying that there had not been adequate budget support to have filled these positions. He gave excuses by citing some legalities. This should not be accepted.
In a country bedeviled by unemployment, especially in the private sector, the Government should be leading the way in showing commitment to its citizens in every possible area it is able to address. Thus, it is not asking too much for the Government to have included the wage bill for these positions in its budgeting. There are many not essential areas that the Government could have done without in favour of filling these gaps.
By ignoring to fill these positions, Government is not looking at the overall impact they create in the whole structure of its performance; and the knock-on effect it has in other areas of endeavour.
Take the case of the unfilled 500 jobs in the forestry sector. The lack of these additional staff will leave a gap that allows for forest encroachment. It gets the unscrupulous and irresponsible people to destroy the forest cover. This in turn will bring in an effect on climate change. As a result of the lack of forest cover and what the trees do to bring in rain, there is a situation of encouraging drought, which it turn disables cultivation and harvests of enough food for consumption; and other crops for trading activities.
This in turn affects the Government effort to collect taxes from the agricultural and attendant activities affected by the lack of the people to produce. Again, this affects the same Government’s effort to raise enough revenue to employ the people who would otherwise erase the effect of unemployment.
In the up-scale sectors of executive positions; such as consultants, professors and doctors, the effect on the country is that of the qualified people going abroad to look for those positions because, even when they see that these posts are vacant, nobody is willing to employ them. Or, where positions, should be substantively filled, persons are left in acting capacities for interminable periods of time.
This does not bode well for, either the efficiency of Government, or looking at areas to prioritize. Yet, we hear of these notions being lumped around in public speeches and political promises. What is wrong?
Unless the Government gets its act together, it will find it difficult to answer those people who say that the people in the echelons of Government, where policies and decisions are made in the interest of the country, are actually not interested in what is happening, or that, they are so satisfied in their own pursuits, that they do not care for the rest of the people of Uganda.