Local governments and statutory authorities are under-staffed, even as Ugandans continue to cry out over unemployment, a report has shown.
This contradiction came out in the auditor general’s report for the year ended June 30, 2013, which he submitted to Parliament last week. On Wednesday, The Observer reported that the auditor general had unearthed losses amounting to Shs 300 billion within several government entities. He also warned that Uganda could lose another Shs 355 billion if financial indiscipline within government was not curbed.
In his findings on employment within government, Auditor General John Muwanga says understaffing in local government, which has persisted for years, is currently as high as 86 per cent in some offices.
“This impacts negatively on the expected service delivery to the local communities,” says the report.
“The ministry of Local Government should continue to liaise with the ministry of Public Service and that of Finance, Planning and Economic Development to address the challenge.”
Within the 18 statutory authorities, according to the auditor general, only 1,164 positions out of 1,870 were filled at the time the audit was undertaken.
“This represented 38 per cent understaffing, which has the effect of demotivating the overworked staff and constraining service delivery,” says the report.
Statutory authorities are quasi-public service institutions that are created by Parliament and charged with specific mandates for the effective governance of the country. They include Uganda Revenue Authority, National Planning Authority, Uganda Investment Authority, Uganda Wildlife Authority, and Capital Markets Authority.
The auditor general says he has aised the respective managements of the statutory bodies to continuously review their staffing needs and sequence recruitments in accordance with priorities that they have identified. Uganda has one of the highest unemployment rates, especially among its largely youthful population.
Recent studies undertaken separately by ActionAid and the African Development Bank (AfDB) estimate youth unemployment to be between 62 per cent and 83 per cent. More than half of Uganda’s population – 78 per cent to be precise – is under 30, according to the latest state of Uganda population report. It is the world’s largest percentage of young people below that age.
Some senior government officials, including President Museveni, have said in the recent past that Ugandan youths are studying courses that do not make them easily employable. Museveni has called on youths to study the more marketable science courses.
If some of the recent findings by the auditor general are anything to go by, then Uganda has not equipped its youth with skills that are viable in the job market. While local governments are understaffed, they also have plenty of modern equipment lying idle because they do not have manpower to operate it. He says it leads to wastage of resources.
“A lot of investments in terms of computers and related software and accessories have been undertaken in Local Governments without manpower and proper procedures to manage this equipment,” says the report.
The report also decried the neglect of government assets. He said a number of government assets that are not in use have remained in stores or garages idle.
“This leads to further loss and in certain instances theft of parts of these items,” says the report. “There is need to adhere to the recommendations of the board of surveys in order to dispose of the uneconomical assets.
Parliament Speaker Rebecca Kadaga will hand over the report to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), which will investigate the findings and interrogate accounting officers in a bid to correct the highlighted anomalies.
Source : The Observer