April 3, 2014

Understaffed Govt Agencies Limiting Service Delivery – AG

Auditor General John Muwanga
Auditor General John Muwanga

Understaffed government agencies are overworking their staff, which is constraining service delivery, the Auditor General’s 2012/13 financial year report has revealed.

In the report, released to Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, Speaker of Parliament, it revealed that of the 18 statutory bodies, there was a shortfall of 706 workers, which represents 38percent shortfall.

It points out that the understaffing “has the effect of de-motivating the overworked staff and constraining service delivery.”

These statutory bodies include the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Uganda Wildlife Authority, Capital Markets Authority, and Bank of Uganda (BOU) among others. In the summarized copy of the Auditor General’s report, there are no highlights on which statutory bodies are specifically understaffed. However, URN sources indicate Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) is understaffed and so is the Uganda National Bureau of Statistics (UNBS).

For instance, for UNBS to carryout its work to make sure standards are adhered to is limited, if they’re understaffed. Some government entitites like the Department of Geologocal Survey and Mines (DGSM) in a Human Rights Watch report on human rights abuses in mining in Karamoja, indicates that the agency has failed to monitor activities of mining companies because it is poorly staffed, running on a shoe string budget.

The National Environment Authority (NEMA), which has recently come under scruitiny for failing to monitor the activities and the compliance of oil companies in the albertine region, also admits being understaffed.

In the report, John Muwanga the Auditor General said he had notified the agencies to “continuously review their staffing needs and sequence recruitments in accordance with identified priorities.”

He further faulted the government entities for poor governance, which is partly the reason policy implementation and decision making was weak.  The report without specifically pointing these entities indicates that a large number of them operated without proper boards. If they did have boards, then they were not operating effectively.

“There were entities without strategic plans, failure to implement key operational policies and weak internal audit departments. In the circumstances, the entities operated without oversight and strategic direction and this affected the achievement of national objectives,” the report reads.

On top of the governance weaknesses, the report also faults government ministries and departments for poor valuation and assessment of vehicles, which has kept maintenance fees on the high side.
The report indicates that Uganda could lose Shs355bn through such mismanagement, theft and poorly assessed government deals.

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