Government ought to put a ceiling on certain expenditures in the various ministries if the fight against corruption is to bear fruit. Stories of the variances in the cost of constructing the standard gauge railway, roads, and the hydro power projects among other infrastructure indicate that there is a fundamental problem with the cost price. The media routinely carries these stories so much so that we may get used to them and they cease to surprise us and so it becomes normal.
To bring this analysis close to the common person requires use of simpler examples. Repair and maintenance of motor vehicles is, for instance, one major avenue through which government is losing billions of taxpayers’ money annually. It is unbelievable that in many cases the cost of maintaining one vehicle at a go is equivalent to buying a sound second hand vehicle on Kampala streets and yet it is business as usual in government. Besides, these vehicles are perpetually in garages.
The private sector is rather cost sensitive. Roko Construction Company is, for instance, reputed for buying reconditioned vehicles for its staff that are labelled with a blue or orange strip depending on the departments yet these vehicles last longer than the brand new government vehicles which do not even perform the volume of tasks that vehicles of this construction company do.
Many people who own similar vehicles that are driven by government officials do not even pay 10 per cent in repair in comparative terms, which means government merely blows up money in this respect. It does not, therefore, matter even if Parliament comes up with a wonderful legislation on corruption because it is not preventive and does not address the obvious causes but instead waits to carry out a postmortem and attach peoples’ property which too is easier said than done. If government is serious about fighting corruption, we should put a limit to the cost of doing works, supplies and services in the procurement process and thus know the cost of constructing the various infrastructure. It is also desirable that government entities display weekly expenditures including per diems on notice boards so that staff can point out any irregularities.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor