The Parliamentary Committee on Physical Infrastructure (PCPI) has warned against losing the highly-trained and experienced engineers under the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) as the authority returns to the ministry of Works and Housing.
The PCPI Chairperson, Robert Kafeero Sekitoleko, the move to merge some of the Government agencies with line ministries was a step in the right direction.”It will curb the duplication of work, save Government resources, but there will be a loss of jobs for some people.” He added that UNRA’s highly-trained engineers must be re-deployed for the sector to maximize their expertise.
He said that since Government has invested heavily in training of some of the engineers and other officers there is need for a proper plan of redeployment these officers for the benefit of the relevant sectors. “I want the President to take good care of those officers who have been working in UNRA, because we have invested a lot of money in them through training, all the time we have been training, capacity building so that human resource, which is now already technical and has been doing our technical work, is not just throw them away. we have to work out a plan of redeploying, not expelling and retiring those useful people, “ he said.
According to Sekitoleko, it is doubtful that Government is taking the right direction. The ministries and sectors have duplicated the jobs of engineers in the Ministry of Works, UNRA and Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) doing the same jobs. Or having Agricultural extension workers, such as in the National Agricultural Advisory Directorate Services (NAADS) and Operation Wealth Creation, at every sub-county all doing the same job of distributing planting materials.
Said Sekitoleko, “As Government, there is no doubt we are going to save some money on enrolments, salaries, sensitization workshops, travels abroad and of course, transport costs in fuelling and maintaining cars.” But he stressed that the move to merge these semi-corporate Government agencies with line ministries should ensure that good operational practices similar to those in the private sector, like; performance targets, are brought into ministries to ensure improved performance.
He recalled that when the NRM Government had just captured power, before the liberalisation policy in the mid-1980s, there was a lot of reluctance in Public Service but privatization increased competitiveness which was also emulated in the Government authorities like UNRA and KCCA.
The Minister for Information, Communication, Technology and National Guidance (ICT), Frank Tumwebaze revealed that 153 Government agencies, authorities and commissions had been merged saving UGX 988.1 billion. This was part of the new structure that Cabinet approved on September 8, 2018
Other agencies include: the National Information and Technology Authority (NITA), which will be put under the of ICT Ministry and the National Information and Registration Authority (NIIRA) is taken to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, while the National Forestry Authority (NFA) will be under the ministry of Water and Environment, among others.